Columnist Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe writes that Patriots continued their lurch toward an inevitable playoff date with a 16-3 victory over the New York Jets yesterday. On a cold, sometimes-snowy evening, the Krafts-men took care of business against a team clearly on a mission to land Southern California's Reggie Bush. Tom Brady (27 of 37, no picks) recovered as we knew he would, Corey Dillon carried the football for the first time in four weeks, and, oh yes, Adam Vinatieri became the Patriots' all-time leading scorer.
Dan Ventura of the Boston Herald offers a story on Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri. Close to four years after his memorable Snow Bowl field goal in the AFC playoffs against the Oakland Raiders, Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri etched his name in the team's record books on a snowy afternoon yesterday at Gillette Stadium. His 34-yard field goal with two seconds left in the first half of the Pats' 16-3 win over the New York Jets gave him 1,131 career points, breaking Gino Cappelletti's team scoring record of 1,130 set in 1970. "To be able to get as many points as Gino Cappelletti had means I've been on some very successful teams, and I've been around a long time," said Vinatieri, who booted three field goals total, as well as an extra point. "Every time people started talking about the record, it made me feel pretty special because I've had a chance to meet and hang around with Gino, and I know what a great man he is and how much he did for the Patriots. . . . There have been a lot of memorable games out there, and I thank (owner Bob Kraft) for bringing me in here and sticking with (me). I hope to have plenty more opportunities to keep pushing that number a little bit higher." Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal also offers an article on Vinatieri.
Jim McCabe of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots put up impressive defensive numbers in their 16-3 win over the New York Jets. New England allowed season-lows for total yards (164), passing yards (123), rushing yards (41), and points (3) -- but Willie McGinest was quick to put them in perspective. ''It was another step forward," said the veteran Patriots linebacker, ''but I wouldn't give us any awards for one performance against the Jets."
Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe writes that quarterback Tom Brady bounced back from last weeks poor performance with a solid game against the Jets completing 27 of 37 passes for 271 yards and a QB rating of 93.4. Welcoming back two of his favorite targets, safety valve Kevin Faulk (four catches for 46 yards) and David Givens (five catches for 27 yards), Brady mixed a blend of short passes into the revived running game. Receivers had significantly fewer misses, and Brady's passes found receivers' hands, rather than sailing over their heads. ''Overall our passing game was pretty efficient," said coach Bill Belichick. ''We dropped a couple of balls, and we were disappointed we didn't get the ball in the end zone there when we were down there. Looked like Tom threw the ball well, set up quickly, and got it out there." Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald offers a similar report on Brady.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that There weren't many positives for Law to take out of yesterday's 16-3 loss to the Patriots, but he still has his memories. Noting that he and teammate Curtis Martin, also a 1995 Patriots draftee, are still playing, Law dwelled on his accomplishments after another frustrating loss for the 2-10 Jets. Law, who has five interceptions this season, had a quiet day with five tackles. Tom Brady decided to stay away from his side of the field for the most part, though Brady did complete a 7-yard pass to Andre' Davis in front of Law on a second and 4 near the end of the third quarter during the Patriots drive to their final field goal.
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots held a whopping advantage in time of possession -- 38:10 to 21:50 in the 16-3 win over the Jets. The Patriots had scoring drives of 8:09 (field goal) and 8:32 (touchdown), contributing to their most lopsided edge in possession this season. ''The team that has the ball for 38 minutes should win the game," said receiver Troy Brown. "Just grind it out, don't turn it over, convert third downs. That's kind of how you want to see the game played."
Ron Borges of the Boston Globe writes that after you've allowed your opponents to roll up more than 400 yards of offense in seven of the last eight games and seen the past three quarterbacks you've faced throw for more than 300 yards, holding even as poor an excuse for an NFL team as the Jets to 41 yards rushing, 123 net passing yards, a total offensive output of 164 yards, and an average gain per play of a measly 3 yards was the kind of combination the Patriots needed for their mental health as much as for their place in the standings. This morning New England stands at 7-5, holders of a two-game edge over the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East with a road game in Buffalo Sunday that could, if the Patriots win, nearly sew up the division title.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe offers a story on rookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs. Solomon writes that Hobbs had a spirited battle with Jets receiver Laveranues Coles, as the two jawed back-and-forth throughout yesterday's contest. Coles led the Jets with four catches for just 35 yards, with his longest grab a 14-yarder, with Hobbs waiting to slam him to the turf after the catch in New England's 16-3 win. Hobbs got the last word when he stepped in front of Coles to snare an interception with 4:11 left in the game.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that in a battle pitting the league's worst offense vs. its second-worst defense, the Jets lived down to their billing, managing a paltry three points as the Patriots cruised to a 16-3 victory that would be more impressive if it didn't come at the expense of such a hapless foe. The Jets needed three tries to complete a wide-open screen to tight end Joe Dreessen. They lost the time-of-possession battle by over 16 minutes. They averaged just 3 yards per play.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that defensive coordinator Eric Mangini didn't exactly release the hounds yesterday, but he did give up a little more chain. And because of that the Patriots defense finally went back on the attack. At least that was the assessment of the unit's best player, Richard Seymour, who said the Pats coaches opened up the game plan and gave the players up front more opportunity to get to the quarterback. The result was a 16-3 victory over the Jets in which third-stringer Brooks Bollinger was harassed into completing just 41 percent of his passes with two sacks, an interception and a 39.8 rating.
Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald writes that Corey Dillon returned to action rushing for 65 yards on 16 carries and scoring a touchdown.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that Corey Dillon wasn't the only running back to return yesterday. Kevin Faulk took the field for the first time in 10 weeks and reminded the Patriots of his value. Resuming his role as pass-catching specialist and occasional feature back, Faulk converted a pair of third downs to extend scoring drives and did a little bit of everything in the Patriots' 16-3 victory over the New York Jets.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that defensive lineman Richard Seymour ripped into the quiet Gillette Stadium crowd yesterday, saying the Foxboro faithful were "spoiled" and that they made more noise for a visiting Victoria's Secret model than the three-time Super Bowl champions. "It's really disappointing," said Seymour following the Patriots' 16-3 victory over the Jets. "The loudest they ever got was when there was a Victoria's Secret model (Gisele Bundchen) on the scoreboard. They don't know when to cheer. You look up and you see half of the stands empty."
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson was honored during halftime for his 10-year career with the Patriots. "I played 10 years more than I thought I'd play," Johnson said. "This is the kind of game I wish I could play in. It pulls on the heartstrings a little bit not to be out there, but that's the way it goes and I have no complaints."
Dan Ventura of the Boston Herald writes that linebacker Rosevelt Colvin was a force all afternoon long, making four tackles and a key sack in yesterday's 16-3 victory over the Jets at Gillette Stadium. The sack gave Colvin a team-leading 4 1/2 sacks on the season, a fact not lost on Pats coach Bill Belichick. "Rosevelt has been having a good year. I wouldn't limit it to last week," said Belichick. "He had a good year last year, he is building on last year and where he finished up last year. I think he has been like that all year. He was able to come clean on a couple of pressures and it's good when he's there and then you can kind of take the running out of it a little bit and get some other situations."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers a recap of last night's win over the Jets. Offensively, the Patriots had been perplexingly inefficient during this inconsistent season. Yesterday, they got a little mojo back. The reinsertion of the now-recovered David Givens, Corey Dillon and especially Kevin Faulk helped the Patriots offense immensely in their 16-3 win over the Jets.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his analysis of last night's win.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.