Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pats hang on for 24-17 win over J-E-T-S

The Master teaches the student how to pull out a big division win

What looked like a cakewalk turned into a nail biter as the Protege gave the Master all he could handle in the first matchup between Belichick's Pats and his former asst coach Eric Mangini's Jets.

New England was coasting along with a 24-0 lead midway thru the 3rd quarter when all hell broke loose. Thanks to some shoddy tackling by the normally sure handed Pats D the Jets scored 2 TDs in a span of 5 minutes at the close of the third to cut the score to 24-14. On the first one WR Jericho Cotchery was sandwiched between two pats defenders, went down almost to the turf, but his knee never touched so he got up and raced to the end zone as thge Pats looked around and scratched their heads.
But as if that one wasn't bad enough to watch then the next one was possibly worse. Laverneus Coles caught a short pass from Chad Pennington and appeared to have a minimal gain. Not so fast my friend. Before you could say Free Shoes U the former Seminole castoff zigged and zagged his way around the entire Pats secondary before weaving his way into the zone for a dazzling 46yd TD that brought the Jets back from the brink of being embarrassed in their home opener and gave them the confidence they needed to think they could win the game. That confidence was boosted even further when a blindside hit on Tom Terrific knocked the ball loose and the Jets recovered and tacked on a FG minutes later to make it a one score game with over 9:00 minutes to go in the game, 24-17.

Ah but that is when Brady started being Brady and the Pats went on one of their patented spirit-killing drives that ate up almost the rest of the quarter. They amassed 5 first downs on the drive that started at their 30 with Clock Killin' Corey Dillon (20 carries, 80 yds, 1TD) netting 26 yards and promising rookie RB Lawrence Maroney (16 rush, 65 yds, 1st NFL TD) gaining 11 on 4 carries. too bad it went all for naught as rookie kicker Steve Gostkowski had his 29-yd FG blocked by Jonathan Vilma; luckily he was tackled quickly and the Jets had 90 yards to go with under 2:00 left and no timeouts.

Yet they still made it interesting because the Pats went into the prevent defense knowing that plays in the middle of the field would waste valuable time off the clock. But when Pennington's
last ditch effort at the end zone was tipped by Rodney Harrison into the arms of Tedy Bruschi
New England could finally rest easy and escape from New York with a hard-fought win over Belichick's former disciple and sole possession of first in the AFC East.

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