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Jets stay alive; tighten AFC East race
Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Chad Pennington threw for 285 yards and three
touchdowns, as the New York Jets kept their playoff hopes alive with a 30-17
victory over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Curtis Martin ran
for 106 yards for the Jets (8-7), who bounced back from last week's stunning
loss to the Bears and won for the sixth time in eight games.
"It was a good football game, an intense football game and I think our team
and our coaches did a great job of bouncing back from last week's loss," said
Jets head coach Herman Edwards. "I think our character came out tonight,
coming in here and beating the Patriots in their home stadium."
The Patriots (8-7), coming off their Monday night loss to Tennessee, have lost
two in a row but can still earn a playoff spot in a tight division race.
The Miami Dolphins still lead the AFC East at 9-6 and visit New England next
Sunday, while the Jets will host Green Bay later in the day. A victory by the
Dolphins gives them the division crown, but if the Patriots win and the Jets
lose, New England will claim the title. A New England win and Jets victory
would make New York the unlikely division winner.
"We were 2-5 and written off but we're just happy to be in a situation that if
we win, there's a good chance we could go to the playoffs," said Jets receiver
Pennington completed his first 11 passes of the game and finished 23-of-33 for
the game. Laveranues Coles, Santana Moss and Chrebet each caught touchdown
passes for the Jets, who have won five straight in Foxboro.
Coles finished with five catches for 78 yards and has at least five receptions
in 12 straight games. Moss had four catches for 77 yards and Chrebet caught
four passes for 61.
Tom Brady struggled all game for New England, completing just 19-of-37 passes
for 133 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Antowain Smith ran for
just 46 yards on 14 carries, as the Patriots mustered just 216 total yards.
"Obviously, it was a disappointing loss," said Patriots head coach Bill
Belichick. "I didn't really think we did anything well enough in any area of
the game and that showed up in the final score. We just didn't play well
enough on defense, we didn't play very good pass defense. We couldn't do
anything on offense in the first half and then not enough there at the end."
The Jets built a 17-10 lead at halftime, but the Patriots tied it on their
first possession of the second half with a 16-play, 66-yard march.
Brady twice scrambled for first downs on 3rd-and-1 plays, and a four-yard run
by Smith on 4th-and-inches at the New York 45 kept the drive alive. Brady
finally capped the long series with a six-yard touchdown pass to Christian
Fauria with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
The New England defense then came up with a three-and-out, but Troy Brown
fumbled the punt and the Jet drive continued with a first down at the Patriot
"It just kills you. It takes a lot of momentum from your team," Brown said.
"It's one of the worst plays I've ever had in my career. It was just a bad
decision [not to call for a fair catch]."
New York reached the five, but had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by John
Hall to take a 20-17 edge with just 1:50 remaining in the third.
The Jets got the ball back after a New England punt and went 74 yards on nine
plays for a touchdown. New York converted a pair of third downs during the
drive and Pennington finished it with a 15-yard touchdown strike to Chrebet to
make it 27-17 with 8:45 to play in the fourth.
"I had a tough week obviously," said Chrebet, who had a costly fumble in last
week's loss to Chicago. "I just wanted to make the plays and forget about last
week. To make a big play and help seal the deal was great."
Donnie Abraham then picked off a deep pass by Brady to give the Jets the ball
at their own 28 and New York again used a sustained drive for points, as Hall
capped a nearly five-minute possession with a 43-yard field goal to push the
New York advantage to 30-17 with 2:31 left.
The Patriots, who scored 14 points in the last three minutes of a 33-30 win at
Chicago on November 10, tried to make a similar comeback. New England marched
inside the New York 10, but a fourth-down pass to the end zone fell incomplete
with just under a minute left and the Jets ran out the remaining time.
"It was just one play after another," Brady said. "We just couldn't execute it
the right way. And there was no rhythm in the first half. We actually came out
in the second half and had a nice drive and after that [we] didn't pretty much
put it together. So it was a frustrating game -- a frustrating game for us and
A big special teams play set the Jets up for their first score of the contest.
Moss returned New England's second punt 34 yards to the New England 43 and
Pennington hit Coles in the back of the end zone with a 32-yard pass soon
after for a 7-0 lead.
It took the Patriots just one play to tie it, as Kevin Faulk returned the
ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown.
Following a trade of punts, Pennington engineered a 74-yard drive for the go-
ahead touchdown. He threw a 15-yard pass to Anthony Becht and Moss caught a
47-yard pass before being flagged for taunting. The penalty didn't derail the
Jets though, as Pennington hit Chrebet with a 14-yard throw and found Moss in
the end zone from 11 yards away to make it 14-7 with 2:55 left in the opening
An Adam Vinatieri field goal from 49 yards with 9:49 left in the half pulled
New England within four, but the Jets answered with a drive of nearly 5 1/2
minutes and responded with a 39-yard field goal from Hall for a 17-10 edge.
Martin has 1,011 yards and became the second back to reach the 1,000-yard mark
in his first eight NFL seasons, joining Barry Sanders, who did it in his first
12/23 03:08:14 ET
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