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we'll have more post game coverage in this space... check the front page often tonight
UPDATE 7:50pm: Patriots win 24-17 and improve to 2-0 on the season and take lead in the division.
The Jets certainly made it interesting. Climbing back from a 24-0 deficit to make a game of it and blocking a 29-yard field goal attempt New York almost pulled, well, a New York. As in New York Giants who unbelievably came back from being way down to win on the road in Philly. If Pennington had a timeout or two we could have been looking at OT, the way momentum had clearly swung New York's way. Alas, a desperation pass with 15 seconds left ended up intercepted by Ted Bruschi ending the Jets comeback.
Belichick's post-game press conference was brief but I'm sure we'll hear a lot about the offensive line this week. Brady was given a lot of time in the pocket and there were plenty of holes for Dillon and Maroney all afternoon.
Dillon & Maroney combined for 145 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. Brady threw for 220 yards with a TD and an INT, he completed to 7 different receivers. The defense sacked Pennington 4 times and held the Jets to 51 yardds total rushing.
Next up is Denver in the Sunday Night game in Foxborough. Primetime nationwide. Prepare yourselves for a lot of Bob Costas and Chris Collinsworth.
New England's off to a good start and show a lot of promise in areas "experts" thought they'd be week in, i.e. receivers and linebackers. I still say they should trade the Seattle pick they got for Branch to Oakland for Jerry Porter.
Anyhow, enjoy the victory Pats fans and if you stay tuned to CBS tell Morley Safer and the 60 Minutes gang I say hello.
UPDATE 6:41pm: Jets Strike Again -
By way of Laverneus Coles' moves and speed the Jet's have cut the lead to 10 points late in the 3rd quarter. After a grouping of annoying penalties that I'm sure drove coach Belichick mad, this time it was the Jets who capitalized. On 3rd and 9 from the New England 46 yard line Pennington threw a crossing route to Coles about 8 yards deep. Coles took care of the remaining 38 yards by juking 5 would-be Patriot tacklers en route to the endzone. A truly great play that you'll be seeing on ESPN accompanied by an array of Chris Berman "whoops".
24-14 New England.
UPDATE 6:33pm: The Jets got on the board in somewhat interesting fashion. On 3rd and long Chad Pennington connected to Jerricho Cotchery on a 71-yard touchdown pass down the right side of the field. On the play, Cotchery was tackled by 2 Patriot defenders but his knee never touched the ground and he continued to run to the endzone. After contact Cotchery landed on top of the 2 defenders and never hit the ground. Belichick challenged the play to no avail. Pats 24-7.
UPDATE 6:22pm: Solid short yardage defense and Jet penalties have aided the Patriots in taking a 24-0 lead midway through the 3rd quarter.
Junior Seau stuffed Jets FB B.J. Askew on 3rd and short for no gain. Jet coach Eric Mangini decided to go for it on 4th and short from his own 45. Kevan Barlow was eaten up by Jarvis Green and Ty Warren for no gain, Pats take possession.
A pass interference call on the Jets on a ball thrown to Kevin Faulk gave New England possession on the Jet 22 yard line. Plays later on 3rd and 20 a defensive holding call on the Jets gave the Patriots new life and a first down on the 17-yard line. A la Troy Brown, Laurence Maroney stiff-armed his way down to the 3 for 14 yards setting up a goal to go situation for New England. A few plays later Maroney finds the endzone behind great blocking for his 1st NFL touchdown. Congrats Laurence. Patriots up 24-0.
On the scoring drive Ben Watson was called for holding, nullifying a nice run by Corey Dillon. The penalty, called at 10:22 in the 3rd quarter, was the first of the game by New England and only their second penalty of the season. Wow. A whole game with only 1 penalty. I'd think you'd get at least 1 a half by accident...at least. Impressive discipline. Hopefully Belichick will go into public school teaching after he retires from football.
Jet's just scored. I'll recap in next entry.
UPDATE 6:05pm: At the half things look good in Patriots Nation. Capitalizing on poor clock management and a poor punt by the Jets the Patriots took the ball 50 yards for a late half touchdown to go up 17-0 at the break.
On 3rd and 2 with just over a minute to go in the half Richard Seymour chased QB Chad Pennington out of the pocket. Instead of taking the sack or sliding Pennington ran out of bounds and stopped the clock, obviously not aware that under 2 minutes is Tom Brady time. Pennington's brain freeze was followed up by a shanked punt by Ben Graham, his 5th of the day.
With the ball at midfield and a little over 1 minute on the game clock Brady took charge. On 1st & 10 he tried deep for Chad Jackson in the endzone and came up just short. Brady rebounded with receptions to Troy Brown, who fought his way for 14 yards, Ben Watson for 23 yards to the Jet 13 and finally to Chad Jackson on 1st & 10 from the 13 yard line for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead. The touchdown was Chad Jackson's first of his career.
Mazelthov Mr. Jackson. Don't forget to save the ball.
1st half stats...
Brady 9 of 17 for 174 yds and a TD
Dillon 45 yds rushing & a TD
Maroney 34 yds rushing
Chad Jackson has 2 catches for 42 yds and a TD
Pennington 104 yds rushing on 11 for 20 passing
Kevan Barlow had 33 yds rushing
UPDATE 5:18pm: Although the Patriots failed to convert on 3rd down and were forced to punt, Corey Dillon seems to be gaining steam. On the short drive Dillen had 2 rushes for 19 yards including a bulldozing 14 yard run up the middle. All 3 tight ends and all 4 running backs have touched the ball so far for the Patriots with 6 minutes remaining in the half. Bardy has completed to 6 different receivers.
Another flag with no penalty was just announced.
Somehow the Giants came back against the Eagels making my initial entry blog comment moot. Yet another whistle and flag with no penalty. What is goin' on with th e zebras? Is it the new shirts?
10-0 with 4 minutes left in the half, Jets to punt.
Tight Ends - All 3 Patriots tight ends have been in the mix early so far. In fact as I type Dick Enberg has just informed me via my tv that the Pats are lined up with 3 tight ends. Thanks Dick, good work. Tell Merlin Olsen I send my best. Rookie tight end David Thomas made his first NFL catch as well on a 29 yard laser from Tom Brady. TE Daniel Graham also caught a 29 yard pass, giving all 3 tight ends a reception in the game.
After failing to get into the endzone from the Jets 7 yard line, the Patriots settled for a 20 yard chip shot field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to go up 10-0 in the 2nd quarter.
UPDATE 4:50pm: The Patriots have grabbed the early lead after a 3rd & goal run from the 1 by Corey Dillon. A 14-yard run by Laurence Maroney created the 1st and goal situation. Maroney looked explosive on the run that brought the ball to the 4-yard line. The 14-yard Maroney run, a 14-yard catch by tight end Ben Watson and a Chad Jackson's first NFL reception for 29 yards were the big plays of the drive.
Jackson's catch was a great one down the sideline as he reached around Jet's defensive back Justin Miller to grab the ball.
Adding to the proof pile that Tom Brady is the consummate football professional, after going 3 & out on the first drive, a drive that ended in Brady overthrowing Troy Brown, Brady looked sharp in the second drive. All his passes were right on target.
In "Never heard that before" at 7:57 of the 1st quarter while the Patriots were driving deep into Jets territory a first and 10 play was whistled dead just after the snap to Brady. The officials explanation was "A whistle in the stands" caused the dead ball. OH MY. Wasn't it at Giants Stadium in the 80's where the official's explanation after a dead ball personal foul was "The player was giving him the business" accompanied by some type of forearm shimmy.
UPDATE 4:30pm: The Patriots opened on defense in a 4-3 scheme. Tedy Bruschi was not on the field, Junior Seau started at inside linebacker.
UPDATE 3:50 pm: In about 20 minutes a battle for tops in the AFC East goes down at Giants Stadium between the Jets and Patriots. The weather is gorgeous for this last weekend of summer '06. 80 degrees and sunny with light winds will be the weather in East Rutherford for kick-off, not a cloud in the sky...unless you're a fan of the other team that plays in Giants Stadium who are currently in the final minutes of being manhandled by the Eagles.
Some quick notes before game time...
Safety Artell Hawkins(thigh), OT Nick Kaszur(shoulder) & TE Garrett Mills(flu) did not make the trip to Jersey. Tedy Bruschi, Chad Jackson & Doug Gabriel all warmed up on the field earlier and all should see some type of action today.
For the Jets old friend Tim Dwight is listed as questionable with a thigh injury.
Tom Brady is 8-1 vs. the Jets and 5-0 at Giants Stadium. In week 16 of last year Brady went 18 for 29 for 185 yards, 2 Td's and a pick at Giants Stadium. Brady has a career 91.1 QB rating versus the Jets with 10 TD passes and 3 INT's.
UPDATE 3:00pm Chad Jackson, Doug Gabriel and Tedy Bruschi are all present. They may play, or they may be gametime decisions. Jackson hasn't seen any action since early on in the Patriots training camp. Gabriel, acquired from the Raiders in a trade, has never played in a Patriots uniform. Bruschi is looking to return from a broken wrist that sidelined him for a little over a month.
The game blog will be updated regularly throughout the game.