FOXBOROUGH, M.A. — After a week filled with talk about the Jets rededicating themselves to their patented ground and pound style, it was the New England Patriots who pounded the ball on Sunday. BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots ran over the Jets at home, 31-20, in front of a sold-out crowd at Gillette Stadium.
The Jets (2-3) lost their third-straight road game and are amidst their first three-game losing streak since 2009, Mark Sanchez’s rookie season. Now standing in third place in the AFC East, the Jets will welcome the Miami Dolphins (0-4) to MetLife Stadium on next Monday.
“I don’t know the reason we came out so slow. It’s really too bad.” Sanchez would go on to say, “I never thought we’d have a losing-streak like this. It’s just really frustrating.”
Tom Brady passed for 321 yards and one touchdown, completing 27 passes, while the offense struggled against the Patriots’ (4-1) 32nd-ranked defense — totaling 255 yards on the day. One week after totaling 111 yards passing against the Ravens, Mark Sanchez threw only for 166 yards today.
“Obviously, they were the better team today,” Rex Ryan said of the Patriots. “We’ve got to be smarter, we’ve got to play smarter.”
The Patriots never trailed. They scored the game’s first ten points and went into halftime with a 10-7 lead.
After falling behind 24-17, the Jets began to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter following an 85-yard drive capped by a 21-yard touchdown reception by Santonio Holmes. It was Sanchez’s most effective sequence as he went 5-of-6 for 65 yards on the drive.
But the Patriots sealed the game by following with a good drive of their own that last 6:12 and scoring with 1:02 left in the game after Stephen Gostkowski’s 28-yard field goal.
“Against New England, you’ve got to get off the field. They did a great job sustaining drives. You’ve got to give them all the credit. They earned it,” Ryan said.
On the first play of the second half, Brady found Wes Welker for a gain of 73-yards, who split poor zone coverage between Darrelle Revis and Eric Smith. Three plays later Brady hit Deion Branch, who was wide open on the left side of the end zone, for the score.
The Jets answered quickly when Joe McKnight took the ensuing kick-off 88-yards. He tied the team record for a kickoff return touchdown last week against Baltimore when he took back an 107-yarder. From there, the offense only needed three plays to find the end zone. Sanchez hit rookie Jeremy Kerley on a three-yard strike, cutting the deficit to 17-14.
Green-Ellis then answered with his second three-yard touchdown run of the day with a little over a minute to go in the third quarter. Gostkowski added a 24-yard field goal with 13 minutes to go in the game.
After going four straight offensive possessions without a first down, punting on all drives, Shonn Greene got the offense going for the Jets. They held the ball for nearly eight minutes and on the thirteenth play, Greene picked up the final three yards in 78-yard drive cutting the Patriots lead to 10-7.
On the following drive the Patriots marched down the field to the Jets 11 with nine seconds left. Brady was looking for tight end Aaron Hernandez, who had the ball tipped off his fingertips before falling into the hands of Antonio Cromartie to end the first half.
That was Brady’s first regular season red zone interception at home in his career.
Green-Ellis got the scoring starting with a three-yard rush halfway through the first quarter.
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