]()The Patriots dominated this one from the start while not playing to the level it did last week against Tampa Bay. The Jets could not even convert a first down until around four minutes left in the third quarter.
While the totals on the scoreboard were no surprise, the game did take its toll on the Patriots with Tedy Bruschi leaving the game in the second quarter and not returning. Word at the game was a left leg injury but no other details were available.
Tom Brady was efficient if unspectacular with his 18 of 29 passing for 185 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He did go over the 4,000 yards passing for the season, only the second time in history a Patriots quarterback accomplished the feat, the first being Drew Bledsoe in 1994.
Corey Dillon was a workhorse while he was in the game, carrying 26 times for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Patriots defense held Jets quarterback Brooks Bollinger to a paltry 100 yards on 11 of 19 passing. He was also sacked four times.
]()After holding New York to three plays on its first possession, New England sliced through the Jets defense like warm butter to take a 7-0 lead. The drive started out with seven straight runs before Brady hit Deion Branch for 20 yards to the Jets 21. The scoring play was a 1-yard pass to Mike Vrabel, playing tight end. The other nuance of the series was Tom Ashworth lining up at both fullback and tight end for some of the plays. In all, the drive went 13 plays and 67 yards.
It didn't take long for the Patriots offense to get back on the field. On the very next play from scrimmage, Bollinger threw down the middle to Doug Jolley where Asante Samuel easily stepped in front to grab the interception. On the return, however, Samuel fumbled and the ball was recovered by the Jets Cedric Houston. New England challenged the fumble ruling, contending Samuel's knee was down before the ball came loose. The replay held up the Patriots argument.
All that did, though, was set up Ty Law to show up his old mates. After a 3-yard run by Dillon, Law returned the turnover favor by picking off Brady and going 74 yards for six points. Brady was looking at David Givens along the right sideline but Law was all over the play.
The pick seemed to energize the Jets defense as it held New England to two consecutive three and out series. Meanwhile, Tedy Bruschi had to be helped off the field with a left leg injury suffered during one of New England's punts and was declared out of action for the rest of the night. Samuel and Bethel Johnson already were on the sideline with injuries of their own and suddenly a game that should have been a formality to the postseason was becoming one of attrition to the here and now.
Fortunately, the Jets defense was incapable of moving the ball, giving the Patriots offense time to get back on track (New York only kept the ball for 6:26 in the first half). They did midway through the second quarter, going 11 plays for a 14-7 lead. Again, it was Vrabel with the score, nabbing a 2-yard pass from Brady. Kevin Faulk did most of the work on the ground while the drive was helped by a facemask on Lance Legree on fourth and 1 and an offsides Dave Ball resulting in another first down for New England.
]()A Vrabel sack on the Jets next series kept New York from going anywhere yet again and New England took over with just under five minutes left in the first half. By pounding Dillon, along with a 14-yard completion to Benjamin Watson, the Patriots held on to the ball until the two-minute warning at which time they were fourth and 1 at the Jets 40. Brady kept for a 2-yard sneak to convert the first down.
The play led to the Patriots third touchdown of the first half, a 1-yard run by Dillon around right end including a nice seal block by Watson. Down close, Brady heated up with a 12-yard pass to Givens to the Jets 23 and then two straight passes to Troy Brown for 9 and 13 to the 1-yard line.
New England took the 21-7 lead to the locker room for the half.
The second half opened with New England extending a massive 15-play drive lasting 9:24 and capped by another Dillon touchdown, this one from a yard out. Along the way New England converted a couple third downs and a fourth and 3 with a 5-yard catch from Christian Fauria. Despite the fourth down play coming at the Jets 21, a strong wind made the decision to go for the first rather than the field goal an easy one.
The Jets finally put together a drive -- and converted their first first down of the game -- late in the third quarter. As the game entered the fourth frame, the Jets were third and 4 at the Patriots 12. Bollinger and his crew were mixing pass and run effectively with the big play a 24-yard catch by Justin McCareins down to the New England 18.
A holding call on Adrian Jones knocked the Jets back 10 yards but two 11-yard passes to Laveranues Coles, the second a little fade pass to the back corner of the end zone, pulled New York within two touchdowns at 28-14.
]()A 23-yard catch on third and 14 by Watson down the middle kept the Patriots next drive alive. The play came after Brady was sacked for a loss of 4 on second down. At the Jets 32 David Barrett was flagged for illegal contact on Andre Davis giving New England first and 10 at the 27. Three plays later Brady hit Branch for 22 yards to the 8-yard line. The drive stalled after Brady was sacked for the second time in the series and Adam Vinatieri nailed his 26-yard field goal attempt to put his team up by three scores at 31-14.
With around five minutes left to play, Doug Flutie took over the quarterbacking chores while Vinny Testaverde came in for Bollinger right after Flutie's appearance. Testaverde managed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Coles in the game's waning minutes to make the final tally 31-21.
Nick Kaczur returned to action at left tackle. Brandon Gorin played the right tackle spot.
Patriots inactives: Ross Tucker; Billy Yates; Daniel Graham; Dan Klecko; Marquise Hill; Tully Banta-Cain; Matt Cassel (3rd QB).
Jets inactives: Harry Williams Jr.; Terry Butler; Oliver Celstin; Dewayne Robertson; Isaac Snell; Shaun Ellis; Jamar Enzor; Kliff Kingsbury (3rd QB).