|Connelly’s Top Ten: Squish the Fish||SoB Fantasy Football Top 50 Big Board: Week 15||Video: Celtics Honor Doc Rivers in his Return||Winning the Wire and the Playoffs: Week 15 Fantasy Sleepers|
The New England Patriots improved their record to 4-1 on the season, topping the New York Jets 30-21 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. New England remains tied for first in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills, while the Jets sit at 2-3 and are now third in the division.
Veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis continued to be a reliable source of rushing production, gaining 136 yards on 27 carries while scoring a pair of touchdowns. “The Law Firm” gave the Patriots an first-quarter 7-0 lead on a three-yard plunge before once again scoring on a three-yard rush to give New England a 24-14 third-quarter lead.
Green-Ellis was critical on the Patriots’ final possession of the game, totaling 59 yards on a 13-play, 59-yard drive that ate 6:12 of time. Stephen Gostkowski eventually kicked a 28-yard field goal to seal the game 30-21.
Quarterback Tom Brady had a solid outing on Sunday, passing for 321 yards and a touchdown in the triumph. Brady methodically carved up the Jets defense with a 24-33 (72.7 percent) performance. The Michigan alum did have one interception however, as Brady was intercepted in the red zone on the final play of the first half to take valuable points off the board for New England.
Brady was instrumental in the Patriots effectiveness on third down in which the offense converted 7-14 attempts.
New England’s defense had a standout performance in the victory, allowing just 255 yards of total offense to the Jets. Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez never found a rhythm as he tallied 158 yards through the air. New York had an effective ground game though, rushing for 97 yards, including 83 and a touchdown from Shonn Greene.
The defensive front finally was able to generate pressure as well. Mark Anderson added to his team leading sack total with 1.5 takedowns, including a sack on Sanchez on the final play of the game. The Jets’ gunslinger was subject to five hits.
The Law Firm delivered on Sunday, having his best outing of the year and one of the best of his career. He was instrumental for the offense, continually churning out medium-sized runs to eventually wear down the Jets’ defense. His solid day was a key factor in the Patriots advantage in time of possession, as the Patriots controlled the ball 33:55 compared to New Yorks’ 26:05.
Maligned throughout the season, the Patriots’ third-down defense was finally able to come up with some key stops to halt New York drives. The defense stopped the Jets on 3-11 third-down attempts, forcing seven punts.
Whatever the Patriots worked on this week in practice surely worked. Despite forcing zero turnovers, New England continuously befuddled the Jets’ offense. Wes Welker also corralled a 77-yard reception on the first play of the third-quarter to set up Bardy’s lone touchdown toss. Head Coach Bill Belichick was also successful on a pair of coaches challenges which changed the complexion of the game.
For the second straight week, New England committed several penalties which often put them in a precarious position. The Patriots were flagged six times for 50 yards.
New York was aided on a pair of huge kickoff returns against the Patriots’ special teams. Joe McKnight set up the Jets’ second touchdown after scampering 88 yards on a return after the Patriots just extended their lead to 17-7.
Despite scoring 30 points, the Patriots had several opportunities to put this game away. Gostowski kicked a pair of short field goals, Tom Brady’s red zone pick took points off the board, and Deion Branch’s fumble inside the Jets’ 10 was overturned on a coach’s challenge. New England scored just three touchdowns on six red zone possessions.
New England will not have to travel at all this week as the Dallas Cowboys travel to Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2003. The Cowboys sit at 2-2 on the year, and are coming off a bye. The game will be at 4:15 on FOX.