By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 26-6 Patriots: And that’s how this one ends, a pair of Harrison sacks. And the Patriots are 13-3, owners of the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Fourth quarter, ;30, 26-6 Patriots: Harrison followed it up with another sack. The 39-year-old looks good.
Fourth quarter, 1:00, 26-6 Patriots: In what is an otherwise meaningless drive, James Harrison just picked up a strip sack. The Patriots couldn’t recover but … nice play by the big strong man.
Fourth quarter, 3:15, 26-6 Patriots: Brian Hoyer went deep, which was crazy. The drive didn’t really produce much but it did drain clock.
Ryan Allen is a star of this game, bouncing his punt out of bounds at the 3-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 6:04, 26-6 Patriots: The Jets got out of their own end zone once, but they could not do it again. Bryce Petty had nowhere to go on third down, as he drifted around in his on end zone. Eric Lee wrapped him up and brought him down, and Deatrich Wise was soon thereto join in on the fun.
Tom Brady is officially OUT of the game. Brian Hoyer is in. The worry warts can breathe.
Fourth quarter, 6:42, 24-6 Patriots: Tom Brady took a sack, which isn’t great. But he emerged unscathed for all the worry warts out there. He’s still standing.
Brandon Bolden broke about 45 tackles on a 20-yard run, an indication of how little the Jets are interested in the game currently. But the Patriots stalled out with their all-running attack after that.
Ryan Allen’s punt was once again downed inside the 5-yard line by Slater.
Fourth quarter, 10:28, 24-6 Patriots: The Jets got out of the shadow of their own end zone, thanks to a personal foul penalty by Gilmore (helmet to helmet hit on Anderson) and then a most-unlikely 46-yard completion up the right seam to Stewart. Did not see that coming.
The Patriots’ defense stiffened once the Jets entered the red zone, with McCourty nearly picking off a second-down pass and Gilmore nearly intercepting a third-down pass.
Then for whatever reason, the Jets decided to kick a field goal. So. Now they’re only down by 18 points. Cool.
Fourth quarter, 13:31, 24-3 Patriots: The Patriots would have tacked on another field goal, but Brady threw to nobody on third down. Literally nobody. He took an intentional grounding penalty, which made the would-be attempt 52 yards. That’s too long when it’s 5 degrees out.
So Ryan Allen punted, and Slater downed it on the 4-yard line. So Petty is backed up to his own goal line. Let’s see how this one plays out.
End of third quarter, 24-3 Patriots: Bryce Petty is not good. He just missed Kearse … badly on third down. Another Jets punt.
With the ball on their own 28-yard line, the Patriots went with a short pass to Bolden, but Jenkins got a big hand on it to break it up at the line. On second down, Brady completed a seven-yard pass to Lewis, and that’s how the third quarter ended.
Third quarter, 1:30, 24-3 Patriots: The Patriots had a solid drive, but it ends with Brady overthrowing a streaking Cooks in the middle of the end zone for a third-down incompletion. That was a misfire by Brady.
The Patriots settled for a field goal from the 3-yard line, and they’re now up 24-3.
Cooks had the big play on that drive, breaking open over the middle for a 21-yard gain. Brandon Bolden also had a good catch-and-run to move the chains on a third-and-4.
Dion Lewis was once again outstanding, picking up another 36 rushing yards.
Third quarter, 7:58, 21-3 Patirots: Another drive. Another three-and-out.
After Anderson was shoved out of bounds while making a catch, he spiked the ball on the Patriots sideline and it hit Johnson Bademosi in the chin. Bademosi put forth an amazing, historic flop — one that will make NBA players blush. But it did not help draw a flag.
The punt went through the end zone, so the Patriots take over at their own 20-yard line. Let’s see if they can … actually … do something.
Third quarter, 9:42, 21-3 Patriots: This is not an exciting second half of football. The Patriots and Jets have combined for 15 offensive yards on four total possessions.
Brandon Bolden ended this one with a drop off his chest, but he wasn’t going to gain the 12 yards needed for the first down.
Jets take over at their own 39-yard line.
Third quarter, 10:33, 21-3 Patriots: If Bryce Petter were better at passing, the Jets might still be driving. But he missed Sterling by a few yards on third down, leading to a Jets punt.
Perhaps the Patriots and Jets are just being courteous to the fans who decided to spend a few extra minutes in a warm corner of Gillette Stadium before emerging for the second half. They haven’t missed much.
Third quarter, 11:27, 21-3 Patriots: Not sure what to make of that deep ball by Brady to Cooks. Looks like Brady didn’t get the tightest spiral on it, or perhaps the wind threw it off course. Whatever it was, the wobbler was well short of Cooks, who had a step or two on Claiborne up the left sideline. Claiborne came really close to picking it off, as Cooks was unable to fully stop and come back to the ball.
That was a throw on third-and-4, and it led to a three-and-out for the Patriots. The offense might function better with a quick pass to Amendola or Gronkowski on a play like that. But Gronkowksi has yet to be targeted, as he’s apparently a focal point for the Jets.
Third quarter, 12:53, 21-3 Patriots: James Harrison has made his first impactful play as a Patriot.
On third-and-5, Harrison lined up on the left and dropped into zone coverage. Petty passed to Anderson short of the sticks, and Harrison burst to the ball carrier and tackled him three yards shy of the sticks. The defense was fired up after that one.
A long Amendola punt return was negated by two Patriots penalties.
Third quarter, 14:54, 21-3 Patriots: The second half is underway. The Jets have the ball at their own 31.
Halftime, 21-3 Patriots: The Patriots’ offense was gifted by another penalty on the Jets’ defensive backs (this one was technically accurate but kind of weak), and they made the most of it, with Brady rolling right and hitting Lewis in stride for a 5-yard touchdown.
Lewis has been unbelievable today, with 47 rushing yards and 32 receiving yards, and a touchdown on the ground and through the air.
Brady also threw a nice block on a trick play, where Lewis handed to Cooks on a reverse. Cooks picked up 12 yards on the play.
Brady is now 13-for-24 for 107 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Not amazing numbers, but the scoreboard shows 21-3.
Petty took a knee, so that score will hold through halftime. Jets will get the ball to start the second half.
Second quarter, 1:55, 14-3 Patriots: The Jets may be teetering.
Marquis Flowers and a whole host of other blue jerseys sacked Petty on third down, leading to a three-and-out.
Patriots took over at their own 42-yard line, and Brady completed an 11-yard gain before the two-minute warning.
A touchdown on this drive may be enough to kill the Jets’ spirits.
Second quarter, 4:14, 14-3 Patriots: Well, that drive looked a lot like the previous few for the Patriots’ offense. But they were saved by a third-and-10 defensive holding penalty, drawn by Kenny Britt, which gave them a new set of downs and a fresh set of life.
The Patriots were gifted another penalty in the defensive backfield after Brandin Cooks was left uncovered up the left sideline. Marcus Maye got too much of Cooks in trying to defend the pass, leading to a 39-yard pass interference penalty.
After (who else?) Dion Lewis set up the Patriots with a first down inside the 10, Brady hit a wide-open Cooks in the end zone for six. That’s Cooks’ seventh TD of the season.
So, some gifts with the flags, but the Pats are back on track.
Second quarter, 8:37, 7-3 Patriots: Lawrence Guy is having himself a very active first half, spending quite a bit of time in the backfield. He assisted on a tackle for a one-yard loss on the first play by Powell, and a couple of plays later he was in with a crowd of Patriots stuffing Powell for no gain.
On third down, Trey Flowers flushed Petty out of the pocket, and McGuire dropped a pass that wouldn’t have gone for the needed 10 yards anyway.
Amendola had a 15-yard punt return, and the Patriots start at their own 27-yard line. Let’s see if they can shake off whatever’s been ailing them. (But I think it might be the cold. Have you heard it’s cold out?)
Second quarter, 10:54, 7-3 Patriots: Another bad drive by the Patriots, this one ending with Brady essentially taking a knee when faced with pressure on third down. He’s not interested in getting hit today, and the Patriots’ offense is officially stuck in the mud.
He’s now 2-for-7 since starting the day 6-for-7. The offense just isn’t functioning at all, really.
So the Jets take over at their own 27-yard line, and this one’s closer than it needs to be.
Second quarter, 12:29, 7-3 Patriots: Another tough showing for the Pats’ defense, after Petty once again connects with Sterling for a long 35-yard gain. It was compounded by Malcom Brown diving low on Petty to tack on 15 more yards.
Two plays later, McGuire picked up 11 yards to move the chains. But that would be it for the Jets, who had to settle for a 40-yard field goal attempt. Catanzaro’s kick took a sharp left turn, and it was no good. So the score remains the same. But the Patriots’ defense needs to limit those big plays.
End of first quarter, 7-3 Patriots: Terrible drive from the Patriots. Lewis picked up 10 on the first play, but that was it. Lewis was stuffed for a loss, then Brady threw a half-hearted shovel pass to the turf on second down. On third down, there was some clear miscommunication, with Brady essentially throwing to nobody as Amendola ran up field.
Ryan Allen boomed a punt to the Jets’ 14, and Jonathan Jones made a great tackle to pin the Jets deep.
First quarter, 1:42, 7-3 Patriots: The Jets are on the board, thanks to a 48-yard field goal by Catanzaro.
The Jets picked up some huge chunks on that drive. Powell burst around the left end for 24 yards on the first play, and Petty connected with Sterling for 15 yards over the middle on the next play.
That would be all they’d get, with McGuire getting swallowed up by Guy for a loss of eight, and then McGuire losing a yard on the next play. Petty threw wildly on third down, leading to the long field goal attempt. But Catanzaro got it through the uprights.
First quarter, 4:52, 7-0 Patriots: Rough drive for Brandin Cooks. First, he slowed up on a deep route, leading to an incompletion on what could have been a long touchdown. Then on the next snap, he flat-out dropped a bubble screen pass that should have gone for a gain.
Brady took a sack on third down when Cameron Fleming when David Bass simply beat him to the outside. Not a great drive at all for New England.
Jets take over at their own at their own 18-yard line.
First quarter, 7:39, 7-0 Patriots: The Jets’ opening offensive series was … not inspiring.
After a false start, Powell picked up a yard on first down and ran for no gain on second down. On third-and-14, Powell made it 9 yards before being forced out of bounds.
Amendola returned the punt 6 yards to the 34-yard line, and we’ll see if the Patriots’ offense can follow up that opening drive with another scor.e
First quarter, 9:30, 7-0 Patriots: The Patriots offense looked pretty sharp on that opening drive, marching 75 yards in short order for a touchdown. Dion Lewis did most of the damage, rushing for 25 yards on six carries. That ended with a three-yard touchdown run on which Lewis extended the nose of the ball over the plane of the end zone.
Brady went 6-for-7 for 50 yards on that drive, the only incompletion on a drop by fullback James Develin.
Faced with a fourth-and-2 at the Jets’ 21, the Patriots decided to go for it. Amendola ran a quick slant over the middle and was wide open for a gain of 7 yards.
That’s the start the Patriots wanted. We’ll see if … Bryce Petty has an answer.
First quarter, 14:41, 0-0: Tough start for the Jets. Cornerback Morris Claiborne suffered an injury on the first snap of the game — a 9-yard run by Dion Lewis.
First quarter, 15:00: The Pats are starting this one with the football. First-and-10 for Tom Brady at the 25-yard line.
12:32 p.m.: Here’s a look at the only offensive Patriots players who are wearing sleeves today:
The rest of the offense is full of big time tough guys.
And here’s a quick look at Mr. Harrison:
12 p.m.: No real surprises from the Patriots injury report, though the notable name is James White, who will miss this game with an ankle injury.
RB James White
RB Rex Burkhead
WR Chris Hogan
DL Alan Branch
RB Mike Gillislee
OL Cole Croston
LB David Harris
DB Rashard Robinson
LB Freddie Bishop
T Brandon Shell
WR Lucky Whitehead
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
NT Deon Simon
DE Muhammad Wilkerson
But the big story in the world of inactives involves neither team in Foxboro. It involves the inactive list in Pittsburgh.
STEELERS INACTIVES VS. BROWNS
QB Ben Roethlisberger
RB Le’Veon Bell
C Maurkice Pouncey
CB Coty Sensabaugh
G David DeCastro
WR Antonio Brown
DE Cameron Heyward
The Browns actually have a chance! Not a big chance. But a chance. That’s relevant, of course, because a Pittsburgh loss would guarantee the Patriots the No. 1 seed without needing to beat the Jets.
It all might be moot, but we’re watching nevertheless.
11 a.m.: For many NFL cities, today marks the end of the season. In New England, it marks the beginning.
Yet with the AFC East already sewn up, there’s work left to do for the Patriots before they embark on their postseason journey. With a win this afternoon at home against the 5-10 Jets, the Patriots can secure themselves the No. 1 seed in the conference and the postseason home-field advantage that comes with it.
Given that there’s something on the line, it stands to reason that it will be a representative showing this afternoon in terms of personnel employed by Bill Belichick. We’re likely to see Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis and Brandin Cooks on offense, and we’re likely to see the debut of James Harrison in a Patriots uniform. That will be strange to see, to say the least.
One thing that’s a guarantee: This will be a cold one. Miserably, unbearably cold. I always feel that in these situations, where one team has something to play for and the other team is full of guys focused on staying healthy so they can begin their offseason at 4 p.m. sharp, it’s important for the superior team to play like it early. A 14-0 lead to a 5-10 team on a frigid day in Week 17 might as well be a 500-0 lead.
And it’ll all be covered right here in the live blog, so follow along from pregame all the way through the final whistle to see if the Patriots can cap off a 13-3 season.