Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) – The New England Patriots made a statement Monday night, pummeling the New York Jets, 45-3, to seize control of the AFC East in impressive fashion.
Both teams entered the highly anticipated tilt with identical records but left Gillette Stadium in decidedly different fashion, as the Patriots (10-2) outgained their division rival, 405-301, and appeared to score at will.
Tom Brady sliced up the Jets’ secondary to the tune of 326 yards and four touchdowns and became the first starting quarterback to win 26 consecutive regular season games at home.
“It was a big win…but it was one win. Obviously there’s many more big games for us down the stretch,” said Brady, who surpassed Brett Favre for the most consecutive home wins mark. “Our defense really stepped up with some huge turnovers, got us a short field and we capitalized.”
BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for two scores, while Danny Woodhead, who failed to make New York’s roster out of training camp, amassed 104 yards on four catches against his former team.
The versatile Woodhead has become more of a focal point for New England since the trade of star wide receiver Randy Moss. The Pats signed him as a free agent a day before losing in New York back on September 19.
That’s just one of the many glaring differences between the meetings with another being the performance of Mark Sanchez, who struggled considerably with three interceptions. He had a season-high 124.3 quarterback in the first matchup but completed a mere 17-of-33 attempts for 164 yards in the setback, New York’s (9-3) first in five games.
“We got out-coached, got out-played and got our butts kicked,” said outspoken Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “It was humiliating. It was the biggest butt- whipping I have ever taken as a coach in my career…We’ll remember this. There’s no question about that.”
Both teams drove into field goal range on their opening drives. New England’s Shayne Graham had enough leg for a 41-yarder through a bitter wind 4:03 in, while Nick Folk missed wildly on a 53-yard try a little later.
Jets safety Eric Smith, filling in for the injured Jim Leonhard, was called for pass interference in the end zone on the next New England possession. The 36-yard penalty put the ball on the goal line, and Green-Ellis took it in off left tackle for a 10-0 lead near the four-minute mark.
Steve Weatherford’s 12-yard punt following a three-and-out gave the Patriots a short field. On 4th-and-3 from the 25, Deion Branch caught a short slant, broke a tackle and went in for a TD with a minute to play in first.
Folk scored the visitors’ only points early in the second on a 39-yard field goal, capping an eight-play, 46-yard drive.
Woodhead took a screen pass on the first play of ensuing series 35 yards to the New York 32. The big gain set up a touchdown from the four, as Brandon Tate got his left knee and wrist inbounds while bringing down a pass along the left sideline with 8:15 remaining in the half.
It stayed 24-3 at the break, and the Jets had a promising march thwarted when Brandon Spikes picked off Sanchez in the red zone early in the third.
New England proceeded to go 93 yards in eight plays, culminated in Wes Welker’s 18-yard score. The diminutive receiver caught an out route at the 14 then carried Jets cornerback Drew Coleman into the end zone with 4:40 remaining in the third.
Devin McCourty hauled in Sanchez’s underthrown ball intended for Braylon Edwards less than a minute later, the sixth interception of the year for the rookie. On the first play of the final stanza, Brady found Aaron Hernandez for a one-yard score off a play-action fake.
Green-Ellis capped the route — and the Patriots’ fourth straight win — with a five-yard romp to paydirt following another Sanchez interception.
“Everyone was really focused and we just got solid play from everybody. It was a good night for us. We’ll take it,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick remarked. “Tonight was our night.”
The temperature at kickoff was 27-degrees Fahrenheit with wind gusts up to 24 m.p.h….Brady completed 21-of-29 passes and found eight different receivers. Welker caught seven balls for 80 yards, Branch had three for 64 and Hernandez finished with three for 51…Green-Ellis carried the ball 18 times for 72 yards…The Patriots honored former linebacker Tedy Bruschi during a halftime ceremony…The Jets had won a franchise-record eight straight road games coming in…The Patriots have won 17 straight games at home in December… Sanchez had a 27.8 quarterback rating, compared to Brady’s 148.9…Santonio Holmes led the Jets’ receiving corps with seven receptions for 72 yards, while Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson logged 64 and 47 rushing yards, respectively…Leonhard suffered a broken leg in practice during the week and will miss the remainder of the season.