Jets play valiantly in defeat

So much had been made of the lethal New England Patriots aerial assault that their ability to win using any other means has become a question mark. Yet, facing wind gusts in excess of 20 MPH they seemed to have stumbled upon a new way to prevail, the ground game.

Lawrence Maroney rushed for 104 yards on 26 carries and shouldered the load for the pass-happy Patriots offense. An unlikely star for the 14-0 Patriots, but a star nonetheless.

"I thought he made some good runs," Bill Belichik said of Maroney's performance. "[He] had some good balance. We'll look at the film. I'm sure there's things that he could do better, but it was a good performance for him on the ground and we needed that. It was one of those kinds of games where we had some opportunities to run the ball and he ran it, and I thought he ran hard and he took care of the ball, which was really important."

In a game widely expected to be a one-sided affair, a Patriots offense that averages close to 39 points per game was held to just 20 by an inspired Jets defense. Mangini's group, despite just a single sack, limited Tom Brady and company to just 265 yards of total offense and a single touchdown. However, the strong performance wasn't enough to pull off the upset.

"We were in the red zone four times and then couldn't get the points that we needed to get," Eric Mangini said. "I thought, defensively, there was a lot of really good things today and not just in terms of the passing game, but the running game and the things that we are trying to do. I thought they did a nice job. This is a good football team that is obviously hard to beat and we had some opportunities to put ourselves in a very good position. We just couldn't finish those."

The Jets found themselves in an early hole when safety Eugene Wilson returned a Kellen Clemens interception for a touchdown. Clemens injured his shoulder on the play and would not return. Although Chad Pennington played well in his absence, the Jets were never able to find an offensive rhythm all afternoon.

The Gang Green's only touchdown of the afternoon was scored by David Bowens when he returned a blocked punt 26 yards for the score. The play cut the deficit to three points and provided a glimmer of hope.

However, the Patriots quickly returned the favor by blocking a kick of their own on the ensuing possession. The block led to a one yard Maroney touchdown and a 17-7 halftime lead.

Despite being pegged as 24-point underdogs, the Jets played valiantly, albeit in defeat. However, an inability to convert on third downs and find any semblance of a running game proved fateful of their chances of pulling off the upset.

The team will look to rebound in Tennessee when they take on the 8-6 Titans.

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