Brady, Patriots shake feisty Jets, roll on to San Diego

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Bill Belichick and Tom Brady won three
Super Bowls with Eric Mangini on their side.

The Patriots coach taught his former student that maybe he can
win another without him -- especially with his quarterback in
championship form.

Brady capped long scoring drives with short touchdown passes to
Daniel Graham and Kevin Faulk, and Asante Samuel sealed it with a
36-yard interception return for a score with 4:54 left as New
England beat Mangini's New York Jets 37-16 on Sunday.

"We keep playing like that, we can make it a long ways," wide
receiver Reche Caldwell said.

New England (13-4), the only team to win a playoff game in each
of the last four seasons, will play at AFC top seed San Diego
(14-2) next Sunday. The Patriots are going for their fourth Super
Bowl title in six seasons.

"I think our players stepped up and just made a few more plays,
and that was obviously the difference in the game," Belichick

The loss ended a surprising run by the Jets, who won their last
three regular-season games to get into the playoffs. This was
supposed to be a rebuilding season under Mangini, their rookie

"You look at the big picture and say it was a good job on our
part," Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma said. "But if you're
competitive, if you're a player, you don't want to go 10-6 and lose
in the first round of the playoffs."

Mangini, Belichick's former assistant, showed he learned a lot
in his six years in New England. But the mentor still had some
lessons left.

After the game, the two coaches, whose relationship has cooled
since Mangini left to become coach of the Jets, met at midfield and
Belichick hugged Mangini. It was a bit warmer than the loose,
businesslike handshakes the two exchanged following their two
regular-season meetings.

"I'm not going to get into a postgame analysis here,"
Belichick said. "Really, I've had enough of that."

Added Mangini: "I've got to tell you, I wasn't focused on that
moment. It was nice, but I honestly wasn't thinking about that."

Brady improved to 10-2 against the Jets (10-7), and played much
better than in the teams' last meeting, when New York frustrated
the quarterback with blitzes and won 17-14.

"I'm beginning to experience it on this side," Mangini said.
"He's a great player. He can hurt you at all times."

And this time, Brady was in control from the start.

"I think we had a great plan," Brady said. "This is a
pressure defense, and I think we were prepared much more for the
pressure this time around."

New England, which has won seven of eight since that loss to New
York, improved to 9-1 at home in the playoffs. The Jets made things
interesting early, taking a 10-7 lead in the second quarter on a
77-yard touchdown catch and run by Jerricho Cotchery.

But it was all New England from that point in the teams'
second-ever meeting in the playoffs, the last also a victory by the
Patriots in 1985.

"We showed a lot of resilience and played well, but it's
disappointing right now," Jets receiver Laveranues Coles said.
"It hurts right now."

With the Patriots leading 23-16, Brady engineered the type of
drive that has made him so deadly in big games. New England took
over at its 37 and, with a series of short passes and runs got to
the Jets 7.

Brady then found Kevin Faulk with a short pass and the running
back zipped into the end zone with 5:16 left as the Patriots
quarterback put up both hands and pointed skyward.

Brady finished 22-of-34 for 212 yards and two touchdowns, while
Jabar Gaffney had eight catches for 104 yards. The Patriots also
outrushed the Jets 148-70.

New England also took advantage of a big mistake by the Jets
late in the third quarter.

Chad Pennington's pass was knocked down by Rosevelt Colvin and
picked up by Vince Wilfork, who rumbled 31 yards to the Jets 15
before being tackled by Cotchery.

"He rumbled and rumbled and rumbled, but if I had picked it up:
'Game over,'" defensive tackle Richard Seymour joked.

The play was ruled a backward pass and a fumble, and the ruling
was upheld after a challenge by Mangini.

Four plays later, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 28-yard field goal
to give New England a 23-13 lead.

Mike Nugent's 37-yard field goal 3:21 into the fourth quarter
made it 23-16.

The Patriots got things started early on Corey Dillon's 11-yard
touchdown run 3:07 in.

Cotchery put the Jets ahead 10-7 with his 77-yard touchdown
score, the longest in team postseason history, but Gostkowski tied
it with a 20-yard field goal.

The Patriots again had a long drive late in the first half,
capped by Graham's 1-yard TD catch. New England started at its 20
with 7:05 remaining in the half. After Laurence Maroney's 5-yard
run put the ball at the 1, the Jets stopped Heath Evans and Maroney
for no gain. On third-and-goal, Brady found Graham in the back of
the end zone just out of the reach of linebacker Brad Kassell for a
17-10 lead.

The 15-play drive that took 6:54.

"I just put it up there and tried to let that big guy make a
play for us," Brady said.

Game notes
Patriots backup Vinny Testaverde, who played for the Jets
for seven seasons, took a knee to end the game. ... New England,
which led 17-10 at halftime, improved to 15-0 when they lead after
two quarters in the postseason. ... Pennington finished 23-of-40
for 300 yards and one touchdown and an interception. ... Nugent had
three field goals, extending his streak of kicks made to 21.


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