Some observations and highlights from the fourth quarter:
The Jets scored a touchdown to open the final quarter, with Plaxico Burress beating Antwaun Molden for a touchdown to cut the lead to 23-16 for New York. The play finished a 10-play 71-yard drive that lasted 4:49 minutes.
They then suffered what appeared to be a tough blow, with Donald Stickland hitting Wes Welker after a catch, knocking Welker down and snapping his neck back. Welker initially stayed on the turf for a moment, but then popped back up and headed to the sideline. He would return a few plays later.
From there, the Patriots drove down to the Jets 8 yard line, and Brady found Deion Branch, who spun past his defender for the touchdown to put New England up 30-16. It was a great drive by New England, with Brady marching them 84 yards on 13 plays and eating up 6:51. The final pass of that drive was Brady’s 11th straight completion, and the Patriots clearly had the momentum.
Rob Ninkovich closed the game out with an interception for a touchdown in the final quarter. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
Rob Ninkovich provided the knockout blow, picking off Sanchez on the Jets ensuing drive and returning it 10-yards for a touchdown to put New England up 37-16 with 7:45 left in the contest. On the play Ninkovich stepped in front of LaDainian Tomlinson and read it perfectly, making the grab and taking it in for the score. The 37 point total is also the highest amount of points ever allowed by the Jets at home since Ryan took over.
Sanchez would hit a big 38-yard pass on their next possession, but Andre Carter would then add two sacks, helping to essentially kill the drive for the Jets and force them to turn it over on downs. Those two sacks took Carter’s total to 4.5 on the night with around 6-minutes left in the game. His 4.5 sack total also set a new franchise record.
Julien Edelman later stepped in at corner as the Patriots tried to avoid any further injuries in their secondary in the closing minutes of the game.
One other note: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady surpassed Miami Dolphins legends Don Shula and Dan Marino with 117 wins, the most for any head coach and starting quarterback pair in NFL history.
We’ll have more analysis coming up in a bit.
FINAL SCORE: 37-16
Tom Brady Passing Totals: 26-of-39 for 329 yards, 3 TD’s
Danny Woodhead: 7 carries, 38 yards (5.4 avg)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 8 carries, 8 yards (1.0 avg)
Kevin Faulk: 5 carries, 8 yards (1.6 avg)
Stevan Ridley: 5 carries, 4 yards (0.8 avg)
Rob Gronkowski: 8 catches, 113 yards, 2 TD’s
Wes Welker: 6 catches, 46 yards
Deion Branch: 5 catches, 58 yards, 1TD
Aaron Hernandez: 4 catches, 41 yards
Chad Ochocinco: 2 catches, 65 yards
Danny Woodhead: 1 catch, 6 yards