Patriots win ugly, edge the Jets in the rain
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It hasn't been pretty, but the New England Patriots are off to a 2-0 start.
Just four days after pulling out a tight victory at Buffalo, the injury-hammered Patriots nipped the New York Jets 13-10 Thursday night in a poorly played game marred by 20 punts and a skirmish in the final minute.
With a rainstorm starting at halftime and continuing through the rest of the game, the Jets (1-1) were threatening to rally from a 13-3 deficit. However, rookie quarterback Geno Smith was intercepted by cornerbacks Aqib Talib (twice) and Alfonzo Dennard in the fourth quarter to allow the Patriots to escape.
Tom Brady completed only 19 passes, 13 of them to Julian Edelman, who registered a career high in catches good for 78 yards. Edelman added 72 yards on six punt returns.
Brady wound up 19-for-39 for 186 yards and a touchdown.
New England rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson, making his NFL debut after missing Sunday's game with a leg injury, scored on a 39-yard bomb from Brady on his first play early in the game. He had trouble holding onto the ball the rest of the night but finished with three catches.
The Patriots sported a patchwork offense due to the absence of injured Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen and Rob Gronkowski (plus the loss of Aaron Hernandez to an arrest for murder). New England finished with nine first downs, three in the second half.
Smith, who showed poise but missed badly on some key passes, finished 15-for-35 for 214 yards. His final pick, to Talib in the last minute, came on a play that ended with the teams in a melee near the sideline.
New York offensive linemen D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Willie Colon were ejected, Ferguson for hitting an official, Colon for throwing a punch.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked two field goals for New England, and Nick Folk had one for the Jets, who got a 3-yard touchdown run from Bilal Powell in the third quarter.
The Patriots didn't score for the final 35:05, and they were outgained 318 yards to 232.
It took New England just 2:06 to take a 7-0 lead, and the home team led 10-0 just 5:43 into the game. The second score was a Gostkowski field goal after Jets receiver Stephen Hill coughed the ball up after a 31-yard pass reception.
The Jets respond with a drive for a field goal. Smith completed what was called a touchdown to Clyde Gates after a nifty scramble, but upon review, the officials ruled Gates didn't hold the ball. New York settled for a 37-yard field goal from Nick Folk.
After a 38-yard pass from Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins, Gostkowski connected from 30 yards 5:05 with left in the half to make it 13-3.
Thompkins then had a 25-yard touchdown catch overturned upon review, and Gostkowski missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the half.
Patriots rookie punter Ryan Allen tied two franchise records with 11 punts for 514 yards.
NOTES: Jets QB Mark Sanchez, likely out for the season with an injured right shoulder, told the NFL Network that he actually won the battle for the starting spot over Smith. ... Amendola, who has a checkered injury history, is expected to miss anywhere from two to six weeks with his groin injury. ... The Jets were missing WR/KR Jeremy Kerley, out with a concussion, while New England was also without rookie TE Zach Sudfeld (groin). ... Brady threw a TD pass for the 50th straight game, four shy of tying Drew Brees' NFL record. ... New York's D'Brickashaw Ferguson made his 114th consecutive start, tops among current NFL tackles. He has started every game and had sat out for just one play in his career. ... The Patriots claimed DT Chris Jones off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and released OL Josh Kline. ... New England hosts Tampa Bay on Sept. 22, while the Jets return home to play the Buffalo Bills the same day.