Tom Brady passed for 264 yards on 21 of 32 passing and two touchdowns. Corey Dillon ran for 89 tough yards and the Patriots defense played championship ball in holding Curtis Martin to 33 yards rushing and Chad Pennington to 216 yards passing while intercepting him twice.
It was a spirited win for the Patriots, still jockeying for playoff positioning.
The red hot Jets were showing signs they deserved to be in the playoffs, Chad Pennington was back playing to form and the Patriots were coming off a shocking loss to the Dolphins with a banged up secondary. On the road, a must-win for the Jets -- the scenario favored New York in every way.
Except one. The Patriots were simply the better team.
The Patriots secondary was still the main area of concern going into this one. Rumors had Ty Law perhaps returning to action but the Patriots top cornerback was a scratch prior to the game. That left Earthwind Moreland as the starting corner opposite Asante Samuel. But when the Patriots defense took the field for the first time, it was Eugene Wilson lining up at corner with linebacker Don Davis manning Wilson's safety spot.
New York looked like it had its offense going from the start, driving into Patriots territory with a big third and 11 pass to Martin good for 22 yards along the way. But on first and 10 from the New England 40, Pennington was intercepted by Tedy Bruschi who returned the pick to the Jets 38.
New England could do nothing with the turnover and was forced to punt after three plays.
The Jets took over at the Patriots 14 and began to march once again. Another third down attempt turned into a big gainer when Pennington found Wayne Chrebet on third and five and Chrebet shook would-be tackler Moreland short of the first down and turned the play into a 20-yarder. But on third and two at the Patriots 32, Willie McGinest hit Martin for a 4-yard loss and the Jets were stopped again.
Meanwhile, the Patriots offense was finding things difficult. It began the next drive from its own 9 and Brady immediately hit David Givens for 29 yards. Then, two plays later, Corey Dillon fumbled with Christian Fauria recovering, Brady was sacked for a loss of 6 by Jonathan Vilma on the next play and New England punted.
As the second quarter opened it was the New England offense gaining some momentum. Brady and crew was content to chip their way downfield with Dillon and Patrick Pass runs and short passes to Dillon out of the backfield. That strategy worked until Brady's pass fell incomplete on third and five from the Jets 10 and Adam Vinatieri was brought on for a 28-yard field goal which he made.
The early 3-0 lead marked the 20th regular season game in a row in which the Patriots scored first, an NFL record.
With the Jets defense stuffing the run and Dillon effectively, Brady did his work through the air on the Patriots next scoring drive. After hitting Daniel Graham for 14 yards, Brady looked downfield to Givens and put a perfect pass on his outside shoulder for a gain of 35.
That play moved the ball to the Jets 17. After a Dillon run it was play-action to Graham right down the middle for a 16-yard scoring strike.
The Patriots defense, too, was picking up steam. With just over a minute left in the first half, the Jets tried to answer the Patriots score but on third down, Mike Vrabel sacked Pennington for an 8-yard loss.
Looking more and more like the championship team to which Patriots Nation has grown accustomed, Troy Brown fielded the punt and took it 23 yards to the Jets 43.
With 1:13 to work with, Brady had his team on the New York 11 with three straight passes to Deion Branch and with :23 left. From there, the Jets pass defense stiffened and New England settled for a Vinatieri 29-yard field goal and a 13-0 lead.
The Patriots actually had a chance to add to the lead before the half when Vinatieri's squib kick bounced off several Jets and into the hands of Tully Banta-Cain. That gave Vinatieri an opportunity for a 50-yard field goal with no time left but the kick was just off the mark.
After both teams exchanged punts to begin the second half, Dillon began to get rolling. Up to that point, he had only 21 yards rushing as the Jets were doing a good job defending the run. But on this drive, he had 32 yards alone. It was enough for another Vinatieri field goal -- a 26-yarder -- to up the score to 16-0.
As the third quarter ended, it was Jarvis Green sacking Pennington for a loss of 10 to set up a third and 19 from the Jets own 21 to begin the fourth.
Jason Fabini was flagged for a false start to move New York back 5 more yards. On third and 24, Pennington, perhaps feeling the pressure, threw down the middle right into the arms of Wilson. Wilson took off to the Jets 15, Dillon broke the Patriots franchise record for rushing in a season with a 9-yard run and two plays later, Brady found Branch alone in the end zone from 6 yards out.
The Jets finally got on the scoreboard with 9:32 left in the game, a 15-yard pass to Santana Moss that the smallish receiver made a good play bulling his way into the end zone with after the catch. The extra point made the score 23-7.
Now it was clock-killing time for the Patriots but not before Brady hit Fauria for 23 yards on third and two at the Jets 43. After the next three plays netted 9 yards, New England was faced with a fourth down decision and elected to go for the 1 yard needed for the first down. Dillon got the call but came up short and the Jets took over with 5:26 left.
In the blink of an eye Pennington had his team down on the Patriots 34 in three plays but then stalled. On fourth and six his pass to Justin McCareins was a yard short of the first down marker and the Patriots took over.
The Jets held New England to three plays and had the ball back with just over three minutes remaining. Just like the Jets last drive, Pennington had his team on the Patriots 35 in a flash with a 36-yard pass to McCareins. That was as close as the Jets would come as Pennington was sacked on the next play by Rosevelt Colvin and lost the ball in the process. Green recovered to give it back to the Patriots, this time at the two-minute warning.
With a series of Brady kneel downs, the Patriots had their thirteenth win of the season.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Thursday, December 09, 2004
One Patriots rookie who has certainly exceeded expectations this season is cornerback Randall Gay. The undrafted rookie free agent out of Louisiana State, who made the team out of training camp and has seen his playing time increase during the season, is turning into a consistent playmaker for the Patriots.
Randall Gay recovers a fumble and scores a touchdown vs. Browns - 2004On Thursday, head coach Bill Belichick noted Gay's consistency this season, saying the rookie has had good production considering his opportunities and has established a sustained level of play since starting the season as the team's fourth cornerback.
"I think Randall is one of those guys that has had really a pretty consistent year," Belichick said. "He started maybe in the back of the pack, relative to draft position and so forth. But by the time rookie mini-camps were over and the spring mini-camps were over, I think that the opportunities that he had, he was pretty productive with them."
Gay has played in all 12 games this season, starting the last six at right cornerback, collecting 24 tackles and two interceptions. In addition to being able to play both cornerback and safety, Gay has several factors working in his favor - especially his mental approach to the game.
"He's a smart kid, he picks things up very well," Belichick said. "He's had experience playing corner or safety at LSU and a little bit here, so he mentally understands, from a football standpoint, what's going on in the secondary whether as a perimeter player or an inside player."
Gay has gone from a player used in spot duty to one seeing significant action mostly because of injuries to Ty Law, Tyrone Poole and Asante Samuel. But his consistency, and his willingness to fit within the game plan, may mean that Gay will continue to stay there when others return from injury. Several veterans have taken note of Gay's willingness to listen and his propensity to pull even the smallest details from game film.
Randall Gay intercepts a Ravens pass - 2004"He understands he wasn't one of those first-round [picks]," Law said. "I think he understood that fact that his chances of making the team were slim in the beginning, but he just continued to work at it and work and was consistent all through training camp. When he got his opportunity to get in there and play, he showed up."
In addition to solid coverage skills, Gay has display veteran savvy and a knack for big plays on several occassions. He scored his first career touchdown in last week's win over Cleveland on a 41-yard fumble return. During the Patriots 24-3 win over Baltimore on Nov. 28, his first quarter interception of Kyle Boller came on a play where he was caught between two receivers on the sideline but correctly interpreted the read of the quarterback.
According to Law, the play was very similar to his own interception against the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener. Gay pinpointed the play during film work and learned from it.
"You can see every game he's getting more comfortable. He's been out there playing well and holding his end of the bargain. We're so happy for him. I think when we all get back, we're going to still be looking for Blue to come in there and contribute the same way he's always done."
The fact that Gay has progressed steadily and hasn't had an "up-and-down" season, according to Belichick, could be an aspect separating Gay from other young players - or even the player he was earlier this season. Certainly, his production and consistency as a first-year player make him dependable in the eyes of the coaching staff. Belichick pointed to that consistency as an important factor for rookie defensive backs.
"I think when you're a rookie defensive back, you're going to be around the ball one way or another," Belichick said. "They're going to find you. That's the NFL. If you're a rookie defensive back, someone is going to be throwing on you. He expects that, we expect it, and it's just the way it is."
Saturday, November 27, 2004
The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium this week to take on the red-hot Ravens in a Thanksgiving Weekend clash. New England has won its last three games and has come out on top in 24 of its last 25 contests dating back to September of last year, but will face a tough test in the Ravens, who boast one of the NFL's most fearsome defenses.
Baltimore has won five of its last six games, with its only loss over that span coming by five points to the 9-1 Eagles in Philadelphia. The Ravens defense has allowed an average of just 14.0 points per game this season, making it the stingiest defense in the NFL. In its most recent six-game run, the Baltimore defense has allowed just 11.8 points per game, and it has allowed more than 20 points just once in 10 games this season.
The Patriots offense, on the other hand, is tied for fifth in the NFL by averaging 26.4 points per game. New England has scored more than 20 points in eight of its 10 games and has averaged 32.0 points per game over its last three contests. Defensively, the Patriots are allowing an average of 17.1 points per game, tying them with Minnesota for fifth in the league.
Monday, November 08, 2004
The question of the day was how could a depleted New England secondary possibly stop one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL? The answer was young guys stepping up, creative coaching and, oh yeah, scoring 40 points themselves.
Earthwind Moreland, Randall Gay, Dexter Reid -- and Troy Brown -- were some of the names stepping up on defense. Brown had a pass defensed a few tackles and even a touchdown when time allowed him to play some offense. Even Mike Vrabel had a touchdown, showing the New England coaching staff will do anything, use anyone, it has to to win. And they did it by the score of 40-22.
"I'm really proud of our football team," head coach Bill Belichick said. "I thought that those guys did a tremendous job today. It's really hard to come in here and win. There are so many guys who stepped up and made big plays and came through for us. It's probably as complete a team victory as I've ever been around. Those players really stepped up and played like we know they can play today."
Tom Brady was 18 of 31 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. David Givens had another 100-yard receiving day and Corey Dillon had 112 yards on 25 carries and a score.
For the Rams, Marc Bulger was 23 of 33 for 285 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Corey Dillon and Tom Brady did most of the work on New England's first score, a 42-yard field goal by Vinatieri. Dillon was good for 17 yards rushing and Brady had a beautiful spinning escape from Rams would-be sackers, finding Patrick Pass for 23 yards.
After holding the Rams on third down with Troy Brown in at cornerback during St. Louis' first series of the game, the Patriots went three and out but got a huge break when Shaun McDonald muffed Josh Miller's punt. Lonie Paxton recovered for New England on the Rams 28.
Asante Samuel had left the game during the previous series with an arm injury.
After an 18-yard gain to Brown, New England could get no further than the Rams 10 and settled for a 31-yard field goal after Brady was sacked for a 3-yard loss by Ty Jackson.
That made the score 6-0.
With Samuel out, Earthwind Moreland, just activated from the practice squad, was forced into action at cornerback opposite Randall Gay. Dexter Reid was getting serious minutes at safety and Brown was coming in to cover slot receivers on passing downs. Despite the obvious inexperience manning key defensive positions for New England, the first quarter ended with Jarvis Green sacking Marc Bulger for a 4-yard loss on third and 13.
After Kevin Faulk fair caught the subsequent punt on the 6-yard line, Brady dropped back to pass on first down and was strip sacked by Damione Lewis. Leonard Little fell on the ball in the end zone and just like that, the Rams were on the board and ahead, 7-6.
Brady then engineered a nice drive that ended with a Vrabel touchdown catch from 2-yards out. The linebacker/tight end made a nice play on a little rainbow that Brady put in the left back corner of the end zone. Vrabel managed to keep a knee in bounds and the Patriots had its 6-point lead back at 13-7. On the drive, Brady converted a third and 10 with a 12-yard pass to Faulk and Dillon had 31 yards on the ground.
"We run those plays in practice and he always comes back and tells us he's open," Belichick said. "He had to get his feet down and make a nice catch there on the sideline. Tom [Brady] made a great throw and that was a big-time catch."
St. Louis bounced right back with a touchdown drive of its own capped by an 11-yard Bulger to Isaac Bruce score. The big play came on second and nine from the Rams 41 when Brandon Manumaleuna broke free from his tight end spot down the middle of the field. By the time Rodney Harrison tracked him down, it was a 48-yard pick up to the Patriots 11.
A 50-yard bomb to David Givens set up the next Patriots score, a 45-yard field goal by Vinatieri. The Patriots began the drive on its own 22 after a false start penalty. The Givens catch came on first down and essentially made up the entire drive.
The Rams took over as the first half approached the two-minute warning and began to pick up chunks of yards with passes to Tory Holt for 15 and 22 yards.
After Bulger tried a little trickery by pretending to walk towards the sideline while the direct snap went to Faulk for only a gain of 4, the Rams were facing a third and 11. Bulger dropped back but saw no one open and took off from the pocket with Willie McGinest in pursuit.
McGinest caught up to the Rams quarterback and forced Bulger to fumble. Jarvis Green recovered close enough to the sideline that the play went immediately into review with the upstairs officials. The ruling on the field stood and New England was first and 10 on its own 28 with 1:02 left in the half.
A very weak -- even from a Patriots perspective -- roughing the quarterback call on the Rams moved the ball to the 43. After two incompletes, Brady hit Patten for 20 yards and again for 14. But the closest New England could get was the Rams 18 and with no time left, Vinatieri hit a 36-yard field goal to end the half at 19-14, Patriots.
Tedy Bruschi sacked Bulger for a loss of 9 to thwart the Rams first series of the second half. The Patriots drive that followed ended with a little Patriots sleight of hand, more successful than the Rams earlier attempt.
When Vinatieri lined up for his fifth field goal attempt of the day, apparently his team became a little tired of not scoring touchdowns. Instead, Vinatieri took the snap and threw to an open Troy Brown for the score and a 26-14 lead.
"It's just the play we thought might have a chance," Belichick said. "Troy [Brown] and Adam [Vinatieri] executed it well. It's hard down there on the goal line to see [how] everybody is deployed."
Joe Andruzzi left the field banged up on the play but returned later in the game.
That lead grew to 33-14 when Willie McGinest tipped a pass that Bulger tried to force into coverage on the next series. Roman Phifer came up with the interception and returned it 29 yards to the Rams 21. Four plays later Dillon eluded DeJuan Groce on his way to the end zone from 5 yards out.
The third quarter ended with the Rams threatening. Bulger had converted a huge fourth and nine from his own 45 with a 17-yard pass to Bruce. Faulk converted a third and five with a 7-yard gain to the Patriots 16-yard line. Two plays later Bulger hit Holt in the end zone with Moreland in coverage. Down by 13 points, the Rams went for the 2-point conversion with Faulk up the middle and he bulled his way in to make the score 33-22 with 14:13 left to play in the game. New England challenged whether or not Faulk actually crossed the plane of the goal line but the call on the field stood.
With the fans back into the game, the Rams defense held Brady and the offense to three and out deep in Patriots territory. St. Louis took over after Miller's punt on its own 40. But the Rams were its own worst enemy allowing Bulger to be sacked for 9 yards and Grant Williams being flagged for holding that negated a third down conversion by Faulk.
Asante Samuel returned to action on the series.
The Rams defense had really done nothing to this point to prove it could effectively stop the Patriots from chewing up clock and that's exactly what New England did going 64 yards in 5:29, ending with a 4-yard pass to Bethel Johnson in the end zone. David Givens kept the drive alive with yet another acrobatic first-down catch on third and 6 from the Rams 45. Patrick Pass had a nice run on a screen pass for 19 yards down to the Rams 10. On the scoring play, Brady ran play-action on third and goal from the 4 and hit Johnson down the middle.
It looked like St. Louis made it 40-28 on the next series with a Bulger to Kevin Curtis pass but the Patriots challenged the rulling as it was clear on replay that Curtis stepped out of bounds before he reached into the end zone with the ball. New England won the challenge and that was big for a number of reasons. Not only did St. Louis fail to score in five more tries, the clock was run down to just over two minutes left to play.
That was the ballgame as all New England had to do was run the ball out and with Brady keeping for a first down, New England had its seventh win on the season against one loss.
"That's what a team is about," Belichick said. "Everybody being prepared and doing their job and when you get called on, step up there and come through. I think it just goes across the board tonight. We got a lot of big plays from a lot of people."
Monday, October 18, 2004
Monday, October 11, 2004
Thursday, September 30, 2004
The New England Patriots take a string of 17 straight victories into Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. A win at Ralph Wilson Stadium would make them the sixth NFL team to win 18 straight, including playoff games.
The dominance of the Patriots seems to intrigue the whole country, especially us patriots fans. But we can't get too confident because we are jsut as capable of playing sloppy as any other team except that we bring that capability to a minimum. We need to look at the team as a whole and not focus on records. Lets get the Bills and climb back to the top we we belong. Let's get a win after a good rest!
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
The win was the 16th straight for New England, including the last 12 regular-season games plus two playoff games and the Super Bowl last season. That puts the Patriots two short of the NFL record of 18 set by five teams, most recently Denver in 1997-98, with games at Arizona, at Buffalo after a bye and Miami at home coming up.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
(from New Orleans)
Lets get another Superbowl! Wooooh!
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Date Opponent Time/Result
Aug. 13 Philadelphia 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 21 at Cincinnati 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 28 at Carolina 8:00 p.m.
Sept. 2 Jacksonville 6:45 p.m.
Date Opponent Result
Sept. 9 Indianapolis 9:00 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Arizona 4:15 p.m.
Sept. 26 Open Date
Oct. 3 at Buffalo 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 10 Miami 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 17 Seattle 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 24 New York Jets 4:05 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Pittsburgh 4:15 p.m.
Nov. 7 at St. Louis 4:15 p.m.
Nov. 14 Buffalo 8:30 p.m.
Nov. 22 at Kansas City 9:00 p.m.
Nov. 28 Baltimore 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 5 at Cleveland 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 12 Cincinnati 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 20 at Miami 9:00 p.m.
Dec. 26 at New York Jets 4:05 p.m.
Jan. 2 San Francisco 1:00 p.m.
All times are Eastern