The Pats come to the line to go for it, call a timeout, then do go for it. And Tom Brady, out of the shotgun, once again converts a fourth-and-short vs. the Jets.
Then from first-and-10 at the Jets 17, good Jets pressure forces a Brady incompletion, Laurence Maroney gets 4 yards up the gut, then Brady hits Moss for 5 with Darrelle Revis preventing the first down. But it’s fourth-and-short again.
And the Pats burn a second timeout trying to figure out what they want to do.
The good news: The Jets have held as Stephen Gostkowski comes on to conclude a drive of 16 offensive plays with a 26-yard field goal. The bad news: It’s now a 10-point game and the Jets will be trying to move into the wind.
Patriots 10, Jets 0
Chad Pennington, who came in for one play on the previous series, remains at QB with Kellen Clemens still being examined for a sore rib. Out of the shotgun and an empty backfield, Chad makes it 3-for-3 with short pops to Justin McCareins and Chris Baker.
But with Pennington’s helmet communications apparently out, he and the offense stall at their 45 and Ben Graham has to punt. It’s a low kick, 3.0-second hang, but Kevin Faulk calls for a fair catch at the Pats 21.
And the defense tries again to force Brady & Co. into a short possession.
They do, only one first down, and then the Jets get their own break. Chris Hanson, the ninth-year punter who had never had a punt blocked, has the snap bounce off his facemask and his hands. By the time he tries to angle the kick away from the pressure, it’s too late.
David Bowens and Abram Elam are on Hanson. Bowens snuffs the kick, picks it up and runs 26 yards for the touchdown.
Patriots 10, Jets 7
Some great facts involved with this sudden play. It’s the Jets’ first blocked punt since Jason Glenn at Buffalo in the 2002 opener. It’s the first blocked punt returned for a TD since J.Glenn did it in the 2001 regular-season finale at Oakland, with Chris Hayes supplying the block. And it’s the first time a Jet returned his own blocked punt for a TD since Chris Burkett blocked Miami’s Reggie Roby and took the rejection 11 yards to the house in 1991. Wow.
The Jets force another Hanson punt, this one handled flawlessly but punted too far for the home team for a touchback. Pennington, still behind center, is sacked on first down by Junior Seau as LG Will Montgomery blocks left and C Nick Mangold blocks right, allowing Seau to motor up the Mass Pike for the takedown.
Then another turnabout. Ben Graham has a punt blocked when Kelley Washington blows around Abram Elam for the snuff. And the Pats are in business at the Jets 3 with 1:46 to go. It’s the second punt Graham has had blocked in two seasons, following Gerald Sensabaugh’s block at Jacksonville last season.
Maroney’ is met by David Harris on his first carry to inside the 1. But he gets over on the second carry and the hosts are back in control with 1:05 left in the first half.
Patriots 17, Jets 7
Pennington’s protection isn’t any better than Clemens’ was as he gets sacked for a 13-yard loss by Richard Seymour and Jarvis Green. But the play isn’t costly as the Jets run out the clock.
The offense didn’t do enough (18 plays, two first downs, 81 yards), the defense got in some punches (only TD allowed on a 3-yard drive), the special teams gave and got. In any event, it will be tough overcoming 10 points in the final 30 minutes at the Big Snowball, a k a Gillette Stadium.
Tags: Darrelle Revis, Stephen Gostkowski, Tom Brady
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