EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Randy Moss caught a long pass and
stepped into the end zone, flashing the dominant playmaking ability
that made him one of NFL's most feared wide receivers.
Looks like it's time for opposing defenses to get scared again.
Moss caught nine passes from Tom Brady for 183 yards and a
touchdown in his New England debut, leading the Patriots to a 38-14
victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. Ellis Hobbs also set an
NFL record by taking the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a score.
"I was nervous before the game," Moss said. "I didn't know
how much I was going to play or what might happen. I settled down
after the first catch and the first hit. I don't think I ever was
more anxious or more nervous. I didn't know how I would play."
Neither did anyone else, including the Patriots.
Moss, acquired from Oakland in a draft-day deal, missed most of
training camp with a hamstring injury and it was unclear how much
of an impact he would have with his new team, or if he'd even play
against the Jets.
In the end, Moss made all the difference.
"I've been playing long enough so that I've pretty much got
down catching balls and making plays after I get them," Moss said.
"I've got that covered, but I've got to get my mind ready."
Moss was prepared after two miserable years with the Raiders. A
perennial Pro Bowl receiver with Minnesota, he appeared rejuvenated
Sunday, showing no ill effects from the missed time in camp.
"He was a great player before he got to the Patriots," Brady
said. "Obviously, he's still a great player."
Brady, who faced little pressure from the Jets, was 22-of-28 for
297 yards and three touchdowns, including a 5-yarder to Benjamin
Watson that was set up by catches of 22 and 33 yards by Moss. Brady
continued his mastery of the Jets, improving to 7-0 against them at
Giants Stadium, and 11-2 overall. Brady has thrown 17 touchdown
passes and only five interceptions in his 14 appearances against
With many fans still returning to their seats from the halftime
break, Hobbs caught Mike Nugent's kickoff deep in the end zone and
surprisingly ran it out.
"He was a great player before he got to the Patriots. Obviously, he's still a great player."
-- Tom Brady on Randy Moss
"It was one of those deals that when he started to run, you
yell: 'No! No! No! ... Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"' Welker said.
Hobbs made a few cuts to the left sideline and took off
untouched into the end zone to give New England a 21-7 lead 14
seconds into the third quarter.
"When you start going, you can feel it opening up more and
more," Hobbs said. "You just want to head for that end zone. I
always try to find that sixth or seventh gear, the gear they don't
The previous record for longest kickoff return was 106 yards by
three players, most recently by Roy Green of the St. Louis
Cardinals in 1979.
The play also tied the record for longest in NFL history,
matching the 108-yard missed field goal returns by Chicago's Devin
Hester last season against the Giants, and the Bears' Nathan Vasher
the previous season against San Francisco.
"That was tough to swallow," Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma
said. "It was tough for us to give up that."
On second-and-12 from the Patriots 49, Pennington went back to
throw and was hit hard by Jarvis Green. Pennington was slow to get
up and was in obvious pain before standing up, then collapsing to
the turf after taking a few steps. Pennington eventually hopped on
his left leg to the sideline.
"I've never had a lower leg injury before," Pennington said.
"I'm not going to lay there, I'll tell you that."
Pennington flung his helmet to the ground as he hopped over to
the bench, where he was surrounded by team trainers. Kellen Clemens
replaced him, but Pennington came back to start the Jets' next
series with his right ankle heavily wrapped. He led the team on a
scoring drive capped by Coles' 1-yard touchdown catch.
In the fourth quarter, Clemens again replaced Pennington, who
decided it wasn't worth it to risk further injury. Pennington,
16-of-21 for 167 yards and the two touchdown passes to Coles, was
uncertain how serious the injury is.
"The doctors are taking a look at it, and I'm sure I'll see
them frequently this week and we'll go from there," he said before
limping from the podium.
The 183 yards receiving were the third-most in Moss'
career. His career high is 204 at Chicago in 1999, and he had 190
yards receiving at Green Bay in 1998. ... Thomas Jones made his
Jets debut and gained 42 yards on 14 carries.