Jets 26

(3-4, 1-2 away)

Patriots 29

(4-3, 2-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:25 PM ET, October 21, 2012

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA 

1 2 3 4 OT T
NYJ 7 3 3 13 026
NE 14 2 7 3 329

Top Performers

Passing: M. Sanchez (NYJ) - 328 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: S. Ridley (NE) - 17 CAR, 65 YDS

Receiving: J. Kerley (NYJ) - 7 REC, 120 YDS

Rob Ninkovich's fumble recovery seals Pats' OT win vs. Jets

Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Another game was slipping away from the New England Patriots down the stretch. This time, their opponent made the biggest mistakes.

The New York Jets' final failure came when Rob Ninkovich knocked the ball out of Mark Sanchez's hand in overtime and recovered the fumble, ending a 29-26 win Sunday that gave the Patriots sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

For the fourth time this season, a Patriots game was decided in the final two minutes. And, for the first time, they won.

"The whole time I'm thinking, 'Hey, this can't happen again. We've just got to fight all four quarters, hold them to a field goal at the end,' " Ninkovich said. "In overtime we said, 'Hey, it's overtime. We know we're going to get a chance, so let's go out there and finish this game.' "

The Patriots (4-3) moved into sole possession of first place in their division. The day started with all four teams tied at 3-3, but the Jets (3-4) and the Buffalo Bills lost, while the Miami Dolphins were idle.

"There's a lot of football left to be played," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "I don't think anybody clinched anything today."

Stephen Gostkowski's 48-yard field goal put the Patriots ahead on the first possession of overtime. But each team gets the ball unless the first team with it scores a touchdown. So the Jets weren't done.

The game might not have reached overtime had they capitalized on their chances late in regulation.

"We made too many mistakes but we had our opportunities," New York coach Rex Ryan said. "It just stinks being on this end of it."

Trailing 23-20, Sanchez threw a good pass to a wide-open Stephen Hill that would have given the Jets a first down inside the Patriots 20-yard line with just mpre than two minutes left. But Hill dropped it and New York settled for a 43-yard tying field goal by Nick Folk.

"I think he was trying to make a big play," Ryan said. "You've got to catch the ball first then worry about making the run."

Then, Devin McCourty fumbled the kickoff and Antonio Allen recovered for the Jets.

"Our emotions were high and everyone was full of energy," Allen said, "but they took it right back."

Sanchez was sacked for a 10-yard loss on third down, and Folk kicked another 43-yarder for a 26-23 lead with 1:37 to go in the fourth quarter.

So all the Patriots needed to force overtime was a field goal, not a touchdown, and Gostkowski kicked a 43-yarder on the final play of regulation.

After Gostkowski's overtime field goal, the Jets moved to their 40 before Ninkovich got around right tackle Austin Howard and hit Sanchez high while Jermaine Cunningham got him low for a sack. The ball came loose, Ninkovich pounced on it and Belichick went out and patted Ninkovich on the helmet.

"In overtime, Bill came to us and said we're going to need the rush," defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "We all understood that we had to get after it."

Added Sanchez: "We got pressure inside and I didn't feel Ninkovich on the outside."

After a required replay, the ruling was upheld and the Patriots escaped with a win after blowing a 10-point lead in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter.

In their other losses, Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt on the next to last play of a 20-18 loss to Arizona, Justin Tucker kicked a 27-yarder on the last play of a 31-30 Baltimore win, and Sidney Rice caught a 46-yard touchdown pass with 1:18 left in Seattle's 24-23 victory.

"It comes down to a few plays," Tom Brady said. "We had opportunities last week (at Seattle). We had opportunities against Baltimore. We had opportunities against the Cardinals, and when you make the plays you win the game."

On Sunday, the Jets rallied from a 23-13 deficit in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Dustin Keller and Folk's third and fourth field goals.

But Brady marched the Patriots downfield after starting at his 21-yard line to put Gostkowski in position to force overtime.

Brady completed 26-of-42 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski. Sanchez was 28 for 41 for 328 yards and one touchdown.

The Patriots led 16-10 at halftime, scoring on offense, defense and special teams.

Trailing 7-0 after Shonn Greene's 1-yard touchdown run, the Patriots scored on the next play when McCourty returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown, second in team history only to Ellis Hobbs' 108-yard kickoff return. Both came against the Jets.

Then, the offense came through on Brady's 17-yard scoring pass to Gronkowski. And the defense followed with a safety two minutes into the second quarter when Sanchez deliberately kicked a loose ball beyond the back of the end zone after Greene's fumble.

The Jets nearly reached the other end zone midway through the second quarter when Hill got open in front of the right corner of the end zone, but Sanchez's long pass came up short and rookie Alfonzo Dennard intercepted at the Patriots 2.

Folk kicked a 54-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the first half and a 21-yarder on the first series of the third quarter.

Brady then threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Gronkowski for a 23-13 lead late in the third quarter.

"We did a good job of it when we needed to," Brady said. "It's nice to pull out a close one."

Game notes

The Patriots gained at least 350 yards for the 16th straight regular-season game, tying the St. Louis Rams of 1999-2000 for the most in NFL history. ... Sanchez's 328 yards passing were the fourth-most of his career. ... Gronkowski scored two touchdowns in a game for the first time this season and 10th in his career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2626
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays7874
Total Yards403381
Yards per play5.25.1
Total Drives1311
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

nyjTD8:55Shonn Greene 1 Yard Run (Nick Folk Kick is Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 76 yds, 4:44
neTD8:51Devin Mccourty 104 Yard Kickoff Return (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 104 yds, 0:00
neTD4:17Rob Gronkowski 17 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 58 yds, 2:19
nyjSF13:14Mark Sanchez Fumbles, Ball Out of Bounds in End Zone
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
nyjFG0:07Nick Folk 54 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 59 yds, 3:41
nyjFG9:36Nick Folk 21 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 65 yds, 5:27
neTD2:47Rob Gronkowski 2 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 15 plays, 83 yds, 6:54
nyjTD5:49Dustin Keller 7 Yard Pass From Mark Sanchez (Nick Folk Kick is Good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 92 yds, 6:58
nyjFG2:11Nick Folk 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 40 yds, 2:13
nyjFG1:42Nick Folk 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, -7 yds, 0:24
neFG0:05Stephen Gostkowski 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 54 yds, 1:37
neFG11:07Stephen Gostkowski 48 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 54 yds, 3:58

Research Notes

Brandon Lloyd caught just one of his seven targets for six yards on Sunday afternoon for a 14.3 catch percentage, his lowest in a game since missing his only target in Week 14 of 2008 with the Bears. Lloyd had a pair of drops on Sunday as well, only his second game over the last five years with multiple drops (Week 8 of 2011).
The secondary for the Patriots continues to be a weakness as Mark Sanchez completed a career-high nine throws traveling at least 15 yards downfield (next closest was six completions). The Patriots entered Week 7 allowing the most completions in the AFC on throws of at least 15 yards and the nine allowed to Sanchez was the most allowed by the team in the last five years.
The Patriots rushed for 131 yards, the fourth time they have topped 100 yards in seven games this season. The Patriots are 4-0 when rushing for at least 100 yards (0-3 when rushing for under 100 yards). The Patriots had 103 yards before contact, the third-highest total allowed by the Jets defense this season.
Tom Brady was 9-of-10 passing for 101 yards when the Jets sent just three pass rushers Sunday. Five of those attempts came on the Patriots' last two scoring drives, and Brady completed all of them. Brady was just 4 of 8 for 32 yards on all other attempts on the last two drives.

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