1:00 PM ET, December 2, 2001
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New England Patriots turned around Sunday's game the same way they turned around their season.
New England's Tom Brady was 20 of 38 passing for 213 yards, with no TDs and no interceptions.
Maybe the Jets thought they were playing the Dolphins and they could get an automatic victory...
Seriously, the Jets came out aggressive, in an attacking mode, but then it seemed they got conservative -- and the Patriots became aggressive.
Then QB Tom Brady got hot and New England started running the ball well. So the Pats gained the momentum, and they had the Jets on their heels the entire second half.
ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.
"It was a tale of two halves," said Bryan Cox, a former Jets linebacker. "They controlled the first half and we controlled the second. We clawed and clawed and stayed in the game to find a way to win."Brady picked apart the Jets' soft zone as New York was hampered by losing cornerback Aaron Glenn in the second quarter to a sprained right knee. And the Patriots came alive defensively -- after yielding 225 yards in the first half, New England gave up 63 yards in the second. "They threw the kitchen sink at us and we were able to hang in there and make some plays," Cox said. Adam Vinatieri's 28-yard field goal with 6:29 left provided the winning points. Brady found David Patten on three passes for 44 yards on that drive. New England got its offense going after Mike Vrabel's 12-yard interception return of a pass tipped by Brandon Mitchell early in the third quarter. Fred Coleman went 46 yards on a slant-in -- his first reception of the season -- to set up Antowain Smith's 4-yard run. "The play to Coleman was important," Patten said. "He's the third or fourth receiver, and for him to make a play like that really got us going." After New York's John Hall kicked his third field goal, a 50-yarder, the Patriots marched 82 yards on nine plays to Marc Edwards' 4-yard plunge, making it 16-14. Smith had a 40-yard reception on the drive. "The ones that hurt us were the short ones," Jets coach Herman Edwards said. "When you give up big plays, people gain momentum." The Jets, who led the league with a plus-22 turnover differential, lost that battle, too, as Vinny Testaverde was intercepted twice. "I thought we were moving the ball well, but we made a few mistakes and they hurt us," said Curtis Martin, who went over 1,000 yards rushing for the seventh straight season. At the outset, the Jets couldn't contain their eagerness to get back on the field after a bye. On the first play of the opening drive, Testaverde missed on a long throw to Laveranues Coles. Then he hit rookie Santana Moss for 33 yards, the first catch of Moss' NFL career. Coles capped the quick 78-yard drive by splitting defensive backs Ty Law and Tebucky Jones on a slant-in for a 34-yard score. Testaverde kept throwing, putting the ball up 23 times in the first half, 33 in all. His 24-yard completion to Coles on a fleaflicker set up Hall's 19-yard field goal. And Testaverde used his 38-year-old legs on a 16-yard run that sparked a drive to Hall's 40-yarder and a 13-0 halftime edge. Martin went over 1,000 yards with an 11-yard run early in the second period. But with Testaverde setting season highs for the first half in attempts, completions (15) and yards (164), Martin rushed only nine times in the half and 19 times for 87 yards in the game. "Every time we play New England, that's a personal vendetta," said Martin, who spent his first three seasons with the Patriots before joining the Jets as a free agent. "I never want to lose to them again."Game notes
Martin joined Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson with at least 1,000 yards in his first seven seasons. ... Jets cornerback Ray Mickens, who replaced Glenn, sprained his ankle. ... Glenn undergoes an MRI exam Monday. ... Terrell Buckley had New England's other interception. ... Jets DE John Abraham, the AFC sacks leader, had one, giving him 11. ... Brady finished 20-for-28 for 213 yards. ... Testaverde has 236 TD passes, tied with George Blanda for 15th.