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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 Wayne Chrebet.

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 19-yard line.

"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 our coaches."

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 period.

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 10 years.

12/23 03:08:14 ET

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