EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New England Patriots turned around Sunday's game the same way they turned around their season.
After falling behind 13-0 with a sloppy, lackluster first half,
the Patriots surged back to win 17-16, snapping the New York Jets'
four-game winning streak. New England (7-5) also joined the AFC
East race with its seventh win in 10 games since an early-season
loss to the Jets (7-4).
Miami (8-3) took the division lead by beating Denver 21-10.
"With each win each week, we get confidence," quarterback Tom
Brady said. "Last year, the team was 5-11, now we're 7-5. This can
jump-start our season."
They've become efficient, if not spectacular, just as they were
in ending a four-game slide vs. New York with a methodical
How do you explain the Patriots' domination in the second half after the
Jets dominated in the first half?
Maybe the Jets thought they were playing the Dolphins and they could get an
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
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.
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
"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
"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
"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
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.
The Jets have focused on other needs early in the draft, but It would be a surprise if they don't pick an offensive lineman in the fourth round.
The Cowboys did heavy research on QBs for this draft, but are content with backup Kellen Moore and in no hurry to add a developmental quarterback.
Ron Jaworski says QB Christian Hackenberg is a very good prospect, but needs to overcome the mental aspect of the game after taking big hits at Penn State.
Dallas linebacker Sean Lee (knee) is expected to return to the offseason program in time for the organized team activities in late May.
After a tough finish to his career at Penn State, QB Christian Hackenberg enters the NFL with Pro Bowl physical traits and a lot of question marks.
After three rounds, the Washington Redskins have yet to select a defensive lineman, but believe they can find quality there in later rounds.