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Patriots-Jets Live Blog: Ninkovich Strip Sack, Fumble Recovery Wins Game For Patriots

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Tom Brady (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Final, 29-26 Patriots: It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty, but the Patriots emerged victorious and are now in first place in the AFC East.

The game ended with the Jets driving, but Jermaine Cunningham wrapped up Sanchez, and Ninkovich came flying over the top and stripped the ball from the quarterback. Ninkovich then crawled and jumped on the ball to seal the victory for the Patriots.

Overtime, 11:02, 29-26 Patriots: Stephen Gostkowski boots another perfect field goal, and the Patriots now lead by three.

Remember, the new OT rules give the team that doesn’t receive a chance to score if the receiving team kicks a field goal on the opening drive of overtime. That means the Jets will have four chances to get a first down each time they move the sticks. If they score a touchdown, they win. If they kick a field goal, it becomes sudden death.

Overtime: The Patriots won the toss and receive. McCourty gets the ball to the 16 to start things off.

End of regulation, 26-26: Overtime, here we come.

Tom Brady went to Rob Gronkowski on consecutive plays, then threw a quick dump-off to Danny Woodhead, who ran free and got the Patriots into field-goal range. Brady then hit Brandon Lloyd in the chest in the end zone, but the receiver had Cromartie draped all over him and was unable to make the diving catch.

Stephen Gostkowski showed he’s over that Arizona miss by drilling the game-tying field goal as the final seconds ticked off the clock. And now, we head to overtime.

Fourth quarter, 1:37, 26-23 Jets: Tom Brady will have 90 seconds to win a game, after Nick Folk just booted yet another field goal to give the Jets the lead.

Dont’a Hightower came up with a sack on third down, but the added yardage did nothing to disrupt Folk, whose kick was perfect.

Fourth quarter, 2:01, 23-23: Devin McCourty fumbled the kickoff, and the Jets take over already in field goal position. Wow.

Fourth quarter, 2:06, 23-23: We’re all tied up.

And that’s actually the good news for the Patriots, because Stephen Hill dropped an easy, wide-open pass on third-and-3, forcing the field goal attempt.

The Patriots’ defense looks even worse today than it did last week, if that’s possible, and the Patriots have a tie game to show for it.

Of course that’s not to say the offense has looked good at all, either. They can redeem both units with a game-winning drive right now, but what we’ve seen so far this evening tells us not to expect that.

Fourth quarter, 4:19, 23-20 Patriots: The Patriots and Brady caught a break when Antonio Cromartie dropped a gimme interception near midfield. However, thanks to a pass interference penalty on Lloyd on first down, the Patriots are unable to do anything with the ball and they kicked it back to the Jets.

Sanchez will take over at the Jets’ 34-yard line, needing a field goal to tie and a touchdown to take the lead. After how terrible the Patriots’ defense just looked, and how little rest they got on the sideline, New England holds its collective breath.

Fourth quarter, 5:44, 23-20 Patriots: The Patriots’ defense had plenty of chances but could not come up with the stop they needed. Mark Sanchez made them pay.

A touchdown bullet to Dustin Keller capped off the 14-play, 92-yard drive, and the Patriots now lead by just a field goal.

This is a whole lot tighter than most people expected. The pressure’s now on Tom Brady to drive for a score that will put the game out of reach. A field goal won’t do too much to calm nerves in New England, but a touchdown would essentially win the game.

Fourth quarter, 12:42, 23-13 Patriots: Rough start to this drive for the Jets. They got penalized for a false start on first down then had to burn a timeout after that. We’ll see if that proves to be costly.

Fourth quarter, 23-13 Patriots: Zoltan Mesko has pinned the Jets in on their own 5-yard line again. That’s the good news.

The bad news for the Patriots is that they were forced to punt. A wide receiver screen to Wes Welker on second-and-9 ended up losing two yards, and Josh McDaniels called a wild misdirection, swing screen pass to Danny Woodhead on third-and-11, losing another couple of yards. That was a questionable play call to say the least.

Levan Reid’s highs and lows from the third quarter:

The High

The Pats sustained a long scoring drive on their first possession of the second half. It was a 15-play drive that lasted nearly seven minutes. It ended with a two-yard pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski. Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez were all big on this drive.

The Low

The Jets scored on their first drive, riding Shonn Greene on their way to a field goal.

End of third quarter, 23-13 Patriots: The Patriots got lucky that Chandler Jones wasn’t penalized for tripping Mark Sanchez, and instead a holding call went against the Jets. That penalty negated a long Sanchez run, and the Jets were forced to punt one play later.

Shane Vereen just ran for 24 yards on two carries, and the Patriots will be driving to start the fourth quarter.

Third quarter, 2:39, 23-13 Patriots: The Patriots make the most of the overturning of that fumble, as Brady connects with Gronkowski on third-and-goal for his second touchdown of the game.

That drive was made possible by two key third-down conversions by Wes Welker, just his second and third catches of the game.

Third quarter, 3:26, 16-13 Patriots: As expected, the call was overturned and the Patriots have a first-and-goal from the 1.

Third quarter, 3:26, 16-13 Patriots: A great catch-and-run by Aaron Hernandez should have the Patriots set up on the 1-yard line after this review. He was ruled to have fumbled on the play, but replays show conclusively that his elbow was down before the ball was ripped out by Antonio Cromartie.

Third quarter, 9:33, 16-13 Patriots: The Pats’ lead is getting slimmer and slimmer, as another Nick Folk field goal makes the score 16-13 in favor of the Pats.

The Jets just drove 65 yards on 11 plays, and while the Patriots were able to make a third down stop at the 3-yard line, the Jets added an easy three points to make this thing tight.

The Patriots’ offense, remember, has scored just seven points this game, so Tom Brady and his crew will have to be much, much better here in the second half.

Third quarter, 15:00, 16-10 Patriots: The Jets will receive to start the second half.

WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid checks in with his highs and lows from the second quarter:

The Highs

Vince Wilfork disrupted a handoff and helped force a safety, and Alfonzo Dennard intercepted a Sanchez pass.

The Lows  

Donald Thomas was called for a costly holding penalty, helping stall one drive, while Brady took a sack on third down to end another.

Poor tackling by Ras-I Dowling on third down kept a Jets drive alive, and Jerod Mayo suffered an injury to his left arm or shoulder.

Halftime, 16-10 Patriots: A long Jets drive stalls after a great individual effort from Kyle Arrington break up a pass on third down, but Nick Folk nailed the 54-yard field goal to give the Jets their first points since their opening drive.

The Jets traveled 60 yards on 12 plays on that drive, and as mentioned earlier, Jerod Mayo suffered a shoulder injury. We’ll keep an eye on that going forward.

Second quarter, :12, 16-7 Patriots: The Jets are facing a third-and-7 from the 36-yard line. Jerod Mayo is on the sideline dealing with what appears to be left shoulder pain.

Second quarter, 3:43, 16-7 Patriots: The Pats can’t take advantage of another bonus possession, and still can’t capitalize after a personal foul on the Jets gives them a fresh set of downs.

Brady didn’t see a wide open Hernandez on a flea flicker in that drive, and the Pats elected to punt with a fourth-and-1 on the Jets’ side of the field. It worked out, with Mesko pinning the Jets at their own 5-yard line.

Second quarter, 7:37, 16-7 Patriots: This week, you heard a lot of people pushing for Alfonzo Dennard to get more playing time. He just proved why — sort of — with his first career interception.

I say “sort of” because as nice as the play was to make the pick, the pass was a truly putrid throw by Sanchez, who underthrew his receiver (Stephen Hill) by about 10 yards. It should have been an easy touchdown with no safety help over the top, but instead it was an interception at the 2-yard line.

Second quarter, 11:08, 16-7 Patriots: The Pats couldn’t do much with that free possession, with Brady taking a sack on third-and-short and Mesko coming back out to punt.

Second quarter, 13:10, 16-7 Patriots: Vince Wilfork destroyed Steve Slauson and made it into the backfield to disrupt the handoff to Shonn Greene. The ball came lose and bounced into the end zone, and Mark Sanchez had no option other than to kick it out the back of the end zone for a safety. And just like that, the Pats hand two points and the football over to the Pats.

Second quarter, 13:14, 14-7 Patriots: Donald Thomas was called for holding on second down, taking a Gronk catch off the board and forcing a second-and-20. Wes Welker got most of those yards back on third down, but came up four yards short. Mesko had to punt and pinned the Jets on their own 12.

WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid checks in with his highs and lows from the first quarter:

The Highs

Devin McCourty returned the Jets’ kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown to get the Pats on the board. The 104 yards is the second longest in Patriots history. Ellis Hobbs holds the longest at 107.

Kyle Love’s sack on second down on the Jets’ second drive was the highlight of the drive, as the Pats rebounded quickly to force the Jets to go three-and-out.

Ras-I Dowling batted down a pass on third down to end another Jets drive, too.

The Lows

The Patriots’ first drive stalled quickly after a drop by Brandon Lloyd and an overthrow by Tom Brady. They also had to use a timeout because too many men were on the field for the punt. Not a positive start to the game.

The Jets’ first possession showed the Pats’ defense is still struggling in the secondary. New York wide receiver Jeremy Kerley beat the defense for a 24 yards on a passing play and then he and Mark Sanchez hooked up for 26 yards on a third-down play. Throw in a costly holding call on another third down by Ras-I Dowling.

The Pats capped off that drive by having just 10 players on the field when the Jets scored. A lot of confusion on that drive.

End of first quarter, 14-7 Patriots: After converting their fourth third down of the day, the Pats let the clock roll on the first quarter.

Brady very nearly connected with Lloyd for a long bomb, but Lloyd was unable to hang on as he fell to the turf. He had the ball in both hands but it would have been a phenomenal catch.

The Pats now have first-and-10 from midfield.

First quarter, 2:48, 14-7 Patriots: The Jets’ offense goes three-and-out after a long return, and the Pats take over at the 20 after the Jets’ punt went through the end zone.

First quarter, 3:36, 14-7 Patriots: Dan Connolly, who was not on the field for any pregame warmups, has left the game due to illness, and his return is questionable.

First quarter, 4:11, 14-7 Patriots: The Patriots’ Traveling Tight End Road Show is in full effect.

The offense just drove 58 yards in 2:19, using completions to Hernandez and Gronkowski to take a 14-7 lead. The drive ended with a fantastic diving catch in the end zone by Rob Gronkowski, with LaRon Landry in tight coverage. Gronkowski is simply much bigger than Landry, and Brady lofted it into a perfect spot.

First quarter, 6:30, 7-7: A Kyle Love sacked forced a third-and-11, which the Jets couldn’t convert, and the Patriots will take over at their own 42. That sack came after great pressure from both sides by Chandler Jones and Jermaine Cunningham, forcing Sanchez to scramble around before he saw a charging Kyle Love coming for him. When you see a charging Kyle Love coming at you, you hit the deck as fast as you can.

The Patriots’ offense looked all out of sorts on the opening drive. Let’s see what they got here.

First quarter, 8:39, 7-7: Wow. The Patriots answered that long Jets scoring drive in one fell swoop, as Devin McCourty runs back the ensuing kickoff for 104 yards and a touchdown.

If you’ve watched any Patriots game for the past two or three years, you know that kick return isn’t exactly a specialty of the team, but this one was a beauty. Well blocked, well ran, and it’s a tie game now.

First quarter, 8:51, 7-0 Jets: Not much went wrong for the Jets on that opening drive, and the Patriots’ defense looked as bad as advertised, and the Jets lead 7-0.

Two long completions from Mark Sanchez to Jeremy Kerley, as well as a penalty on Ras-I Dowling for holding Dustin Keller, were the key plays of that drive. Tim Tebow also picked up a first down and got the ball to the 1-yard line with his second run of the drive.

Of note: Devin McCourty was at safety, and Kyle Arrington got beat badly on one long pass to Kerley.

Prior to this game, the Jets had scored a touchdown on their opening drive just once in their last 22 games against the Patriots.

First quarter, 13:35, 0-0: That was not an exceptional opening drive by the Patriots. Shane Vereen got things started well with a catch and a nice run on the first two plays of the game. Brady then underthrew Brandon Lloyd, who couldn’t make a sliding catch, and had to essentially loft a pass out of bounds in Lloyd’s direction. The Pats were then confused when the punt unit took the field, and they had to burn an early timeout.

The Jets take over at their own 25.

First quarter, 0-0, 15:00: The Patriots like to defer when they win coin flips, but it’s the Jets who are taking that approach today. The Jets won the toss and elected to defer, putting Tom Brady and the offense on the field first.

4:07 p.m.: With less than 20 minutes to kickoff, both the Patriots and Jets just moved up in the division standings. The Bills couldn’t hold on to a lead over the Titans, eventually losing 35-34. Buffalo falls to 3-4, and with the Dolphins. With Miami not playing this weekend, the winner of this Jets-Pats game will get first place in the AFC East.

3 p.m.: The Patriots just announced their inactive list:

Logan Mankins
Patrick Chung
Steve Gregory
Brandon Bolden
Ron Brace
Jake Bequette
Tracy White

Mankins’ absence is always a huge one, though the offensive line did a solid job without him in Buffalo a few weeks ago.

Chung and Gregory being out leaves some holes at safety, so expect to see Tavon Wilson get a lot of time back there, as well as possibly Nate Ebner again. Bill Belichick may be forced to use Ras-I Dowling, Sterling Moore or Devin McCourty back at safety as well.

On the positive injury front for the Patriots, Dont’a Hightower and Julian Edelman are active and will return.

For the Jets, the inactives are:

Greg McElroy
Clyde Gates
Bilal Powell
Eric Smith
Caleb Schlauderaff
Sione Pouha
Kenrick Ellis

2 p.m.: It’s always a big game when the Jets and Patriots meet, but this one was given an added layer of intrigue the morning of the game.

The Jets are concerned about the Patriots’ hurry-up offense, which is not news. What is news is that the Jets reportedly reached out to the league this week to request the officials make sure they’re given a fair opportunity to substitute players on defense.

“We have already talked to the league office and Rex [Ryan] will be in the ref’s ear about this all game,” a Jets coach told ESPN.

That’ll be just one subplot to keep an eye on throughout the afternoon.

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