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Patriots Live Blog: Pats Hang On, Narrowly Edge Jets 17-16

Final, 17-16 Patriots: A few Tom Brady kneeldowns put the finishing touches on this one. It was a wild one, but the Patriots came out on top and secured a first-round bye in the process.

Fourth quarter, 1:47, 17-16 Patriots: Brandon Bolden burst around the right end and gained 16 yards. This one's over now.

Fourth quarter, 1:55, 17-16 Patriots: Bolden was stopped a yard short of the sticks, setting up a third-and-1. The Patriots called a timeout. Gain a yard, win the game. Get stopped, and you need a field goal and a prayer.

Fourth quarter, 2:00, 17-16 Patriots: After catching a major break on that bad spot, the Patriots again danced with the devil. This one came on a Brady pass over the middle that was swatted by Wilkerson at the line. The ball tipped up into the air, precariously in the middle of the field, but it somehow landed in the arms of Danny Amendola.

It'll be second-and-4 from the Jets' 28 after the two-minute warning, and the Patriots just need to move the chains once more to be able to drain the clock with some kneeldowns.

Fourth quarter, 4:03, 17-16 Patriots: A really odd scene, as it appeared Danny Amendola was stopped an inch shy of the first down marker. Yet the officials ruled that he had picked up the first down. With the broadcast crew assuming a fourth-and-inches was upcoming, Rex Ryan threw a challenge flag, because the officials had actually given the Patriots a first down.

Rex appeared to be in the right, but the play was not overturned on replay. So the Pats continue their drive, and the Jets are down to one timeout.

Fourth quarter, 5:16, 17-16 Patriots:Wow. Talk about a game-changing play. Dont'a Hightower burst up the middle on a third-and-4 from the 24-yard line, and he walloped Smith for a sack, knocking the Jets back to the 34-yard line. That turned a 42-yard field-goal attempt into a 52-yarder, and Nick Folk did not get the ball anywhere near the goalposts. It was a brutal kick, and the Patriots hang on to their lead.

Update: It turns out Wilfork got a fingertip on that field goal. I didn't see that initially, but it helps explain the shank.

The Jets nearly took a five-yard delay of game penalty prior to the kick, but they were able to call a timeout just before the play clock expired.

General disarray from the Jets, but credit Hightower for that huge sack on third down.

Fourth quarter, 7:18, 17-16 Patriots: Tom Brady has been picked off, and the Jets are in business.

Brady, under heavy pressure, threw behind Brandon LaFell, who could only get his fingertips on the pass. Unfortunately for New England, that contact with the ball popped it right into Marcus Williams' gut.

First-and-10 for the Jets at the New England 30-yard line.

Fourth quarter, 8:02, 17-16 Patriots: The Patriots' defense got carved up by Geno and the Jets yet again, but just like in previous drives, they hardened when the field shortened. Chandler Jones sacked Smith on a second-and-8 from the New England 10-yard line, and Smith threw incomplete on the third down that followed, forcing the Jets to settle for another field goal.

John Conner -- yes, John Conner -- had the play of the drive, as he was unaccounted for in the right flat. The fullback caught Smith's pass and scampered up the right sideline for a gain of 26 yards. Eric Decker later came up with a 13-yard catch on a third down to move the chains and set up the Jets in the red zone, but that's when the Patriots' defense woke up.

So now the Patriots will be looking for a touchdown drive that drains the clock. A short drive and a punt here ... and things would get awfully interesting.

Fourth quarter, 13:51, 17-13 Patriots: Tom Brady continues his Usain Bolt impersonation, and this one sets up a first down inside the 5-yard line.

Brady had nowhere to go with his first-down pass, so he pumped, tucked and ran, scampering 11 yards and sliding at the New York 2-yard line. Brady went into a late slide, absorbing a hit to the knees from Demario Davis, but he was no worse for the wear. Davis was trying to avoid contact, but Brady's awkward slide led to the contact.

Two plays later, Gray plunged in from the 1-yard line. It looked like his knee may have been down before the ball crossed the goal line, though, so the officials reviewed the play. There was no conclusive evidence to overturn the play.

And the Pats lead by four.

End of third quarter, 13-10 Jets: The Patriots will have a first-and-10 from the New York 13-yard line when the fourth quarter begins, after LaFell just came up with a huge 10-yard gain on a third-and-10. LaFell earlier picked up 14 yards on a second-and-9, as he's stepped up in a big way this half.

Third quarter, 1:08, 13-10 Jets: And there it is.

Geno Smith was under heavy pressure and lobbed up a prayer. Jamie Collins read it all the way and came down with an interception. Credit Chandler Jones for closing in on Smith to force the pass.

Pats take over at the Jets' 38-yard line.

Third quarter, 13-10 Jets: It was nearly what the Patriots wanted. They wanted a long touchdown drive, and they nearly got it. But facing a third-and-2 inside the Jets 10, Ryan Wendell couldn't slow down Sheldon Richardson, sending Tom Brady into emergency scramble mode. He eventually skipped in a pass to Vereen in the end zone, leading to New England settling for a field goal.

It was a positive drive, on the whole though. They traveled 81 yards on 13 plays, with Vereen picking up 34 yards on five carries and the Patriots converting a third-and-3 in their own territory.

It was good but not great. Now the defense -- which has been getting steamrolled by a Geno Smith-led Jets offense -- needs to turn things around.

Third quarter, 6:39, 13-7 Jets: Another long scoring drive from the Jets, but the Patriots again were able to toughen up in the red zone to force New York to settle for a field goal.

Still, that was a brutal drive for the New England defense, which allowed a 16-yard run by Johnson on a first-and-20, a three-yard run by Johnson a third-and-2, and a 25-yard play-action completion to Kerley (which came with Patrick Chung about 10 yards from the receiver in coverage).

That's 66 more yards and three more points for the Jets, but the field goal means the Patriots are just one play away from taking a lead.

Third quarter, 12:53, 10-7 Jets: Tom Brady is under fire in the pocket, and his accuracy and arm strength is taking a hit as a result. Even when he's not getting sacked, he's facing pressure, and it's leading to some very un-Brady-like passes.

The QB was nearly picked by Demario Davis on a pass to Gronkowski, and Brady then overthrew Gronkowski on third down. That wouldn't have counted anyway, as Gronkowski was penalized for offensive PI on the play. The entire offense is just a complete mess, and it's going to really take something major to turn it around.

To make matters worse, Ryan Allen's spectacular punt didn't do much to help the Pats, thanks to Malcolm Butler hitting Kerley after a fair catch. That 15-yard penalty moves the Jets from their own 14-yard line to the 29-yard line.

Third quarter, 14:54, 10-7 Jets: The second half is underway, with Nick Folk's kicking sailing just inside the end zone. Amendola returned it to the 21-yard line, and Brady and the offense will take over there.

Halftime, 10-7 Jets: Here are some halftime stats for you.

Brady: 11-for-15, 79 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 4 sacks*

Smith: 11-for-16, 117 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 sacks

*Brady has been sacked four times today. He had been sacked four total times in the previous eight games. He hadn't been sacked more than once in a game since Week 6 in Buffalo (2). And he hasn't been sacked four times in a game since Week 1 in Miami. The absence of Dan Connolly is killing Brady and the Patriots.

Jonas Gray: 3 carries, 4 yards

Chris Ivory: 8 carries, 26 yards
Bilal Powell: 4 carries, 21 yards

Danny Amendola: 3 receptions, 27 yards
Rob Gronkowski: 4 receptions, 18 yards, 1 TD

Percy Harvin: 4 receptions, 44 yards
Jeremy Cumberland: 1 reception, 20 yards, TD

Patriots: 25 plays, 52 yards
Jets: 35 plays, 176 yards

Halftime, 10-7 Jets: So much for putting points on the board before halftime.

Josh Kline got absolutely dominated by Sheldon Richardson, who manhandled Kline and pushed him all the way back into Brady for a sack. Josh Kline has not been good in his duties filling in for Dan Connolly.

Brady took a knee after that, and this one heads to the half. The Super Bowl-contending Patriots are trailing the 3-11 Jets. That's football.

Second quarter, :55, 10-7 Jets: The Patriots came up with a third-down stop, but the Jets were easily in field-goal range, and Nick Folk booted the 26-yard chip shot.

That was a 10-play, 54-yard drive from the Jets, again engineered well by Smith, who's really settled down this quarter.

You'll remember that the Patriots deferred to start the game, so they'll be receiving after halftime. They'd desperately like to put some points on the board before halftime. They have one timeout left.

Second quarter, 1:00, 7-7: The Jets are driving and are poised to take a lead, as they'll face a third-and-8 from the New England 13-yard line coming out of this timeout.

Percy Harvin had the play of this drive, cutting inside on Revis and gaining 25 yards.

Second quarter, 4:53, 7-7: That was not Tom Brady's best drive. He essentially tackled himself while trying to escape phantom pressure on first down, leading to an inaccurate pass, and following a Gronkowski gain of 8 yards, Brady flat-out missed LaFell on a third-and-2. Another Patriots punt, and the Jets offense will look to keep things rolling, taking over at their own 38-yard line.

Second quarter, 5:59, 7-7: The Jets lost their heart and soul in Nick Mangold, who was carted off with an apparently bad injury, but it didn't stop their drive. The Jets continued to chip away with short gains, taking what the defense gave them, until a second-and-8 from the 20-yard line. Jeff Cumberland got himself wide open running up the right seam, and even Geno Smith couldn't have missed that pass. It was right on the money for a 20-yard TD, and this one's all tied up.

Patrick Chung got caught looking into the Jets' backfield, leading to a free release into open space for Cumberland.

Much like in the Jets' near-win in Foxboro earlier this season, Smith was able to lead a professional, calm drive on that series, chewing up more than six minutes of clock.

Second quarter, 8:54, 7-0 Patriots: The Jets are moving the ball right now, already gaining 37 yards on seven plays. But Nick Mangold is down on the field, getting tended to by the training staff, a potential gut punch to a Jets team that doesn't need more of them.

Second quarter, 12:10, 7-0 Patriots: Ladies and gentlemen, we've got ourselves some points. Seven of them, to be exact.

These points came via an all-too-easy touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski, as the big man simply went up over his man, made the touchdown catch, tapped his toes and spiked that ball to Mars.

Credit Amendola for not only kickstarting that drive with the 39-yard punt return but also keeping the drive alive with a 7-yard reception on a third-and-3.

It was a 36-yard drive, with the longest gain being a 12-yard catch-and-run by Shane Vereen up the left sideline.

The touchdown is Gronkowski's 12th of the season.

Second quarter, 14:45, 0-0: Danny Amendola just made the biggest play of the day for New England, a 39-yard punt return. (The officials missed a blatant block in the back by Darius Fleming, but that happens). First-and-10 for New England from the New York 36-yard line. They're close enough to score points! Real life points!

End of first quarter, 0-0: The first quarter comes to a close in fitting fashion, as the first down was there for the taking, but the Jets failed to get it. Geno Smith had Percy Harvin open in space, thanks to a pick route that kept Darrelle Revis far enough away, but Smith's pass off target, forcing Harvin to go to the turf to make the catch. Revis tapped him down at the spot, and the Jets will punt to start the second quarter.

So, in total, the first half looked like this:

Jets: 14 plays, 40 yards
Patriots: 14 plays, 20 yards

First quarter, 1:38, 0-0: The Pats were finally able to get the ball moving, thanks in large part to a patented QB sneak from Tom Brady on a third-and-1. But his protection broke down thereafter, as he took a sack on a first down and again on third-and-14, leading to yet another Ryan Allen punt.

It rolled down to the New York 10-yard line, thereby flipping the field, but still that is a bad ending for a drive that had some promise. The drive gained 24 yards when it was all said and done, with LaFell making a 13-yard catch and Amendola picking up 11 yards on another reception.

First quarter, 6:18, 0-0: If you like offense, this is not the game for you.

Chris Ivory gained two yards, Percy Harvin nearly got split in two by Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins on a short second-down pass, and Smith's scramble on third down came up two yards short. Another drive, another punt. And the Pats begin this drive at their own 8-yard line.

So far, we've seen 17 total plays for a combined 28 yards. Wahoo!

First quarter, 8:11, 0-0: The dreadful start for the New England offense continues. On first down, Gronkowski's man (Damon Harrison) got off the block and tackled Jonas Gray after a short gain. On second down, Nate Solder whiffed on a block of Calvin Pace, giving him a free path to the backfield to stop Gray for a two-yard loss. And on third down, Gronkowski dropped a pass off his hands near the first-down line, leading to another punt.

Kerley returned it to the Jets' 45-yard line, giving them some pretty good starting field position.

The Patriots have negative-4 yards on their two drives.

First quarter, 9:44, 0-0: The Jets moved the ball a bit, thanks to an 8-yard reception by Eric Decker on an in-cut and a 13-yard run by Chris Ivory.

But the drive stalled out, thanks in part to an ill-conceived Wildcat play that went nowhere and also a horribly inaccurate pass by Geno Smith on third down.

Danny Amendola leaped over a would-be tackler on the punt return and ended up getting helicoptered in the air, but he appears to have come away unscathed.

First-and-10 for the Patriots at their own 21-yard line after the 11-yard return by Amendola.

First quarter, 11:50, 0-0: Brady completed consecutive short passes to Gronkowski, but Calvin Pace acme in unblocked off the left side of the Patriots' line, and three green jerseys swarmed the quarterback, who was stuck in no man's land. After he sack, Ryan Allen punted, and Jeremy Kerley returned it out to the 24-yard line.

Two punts early on to start this one.

First quarter, 13:33, 0-0: That's about as strong a start as the Patriots could have possibly hoped for.

Alan Branch stuffed Chris Johnson a yard shy of the line of scrimmage on first down, Vince Wilfork swallowed up Geno Smith on second down, and Smith threw incomplete on third down.

Danny Amendola, taking over punt return duties in the absence of Edelman, returned the punt out toward midfield. First-and-10 for New England at their own 46-yard line.

First quarter, 14:55, 0-0: Stephen Gostkowski's kick went into the end zone, and Percy Harvin returned it from 2 yards deep out to the 16-yard line. This one's underway.

1 p.m.: Kickoff is just minutes away, and it'll be New England kicking to New York, after the Patriots won the toss and deferred.

12:41 p.m.: All is quiet as kickoff nears, though Bill Belichick did take a minute out of his pregame work to say hello to a dear friend.

11:30 a.m.: The inactive lists have been released.

Here's who won't be playing for the Patriots:

OL Dan Connolly
WR Julian Edelman
CB Alfonzo Dennard
RB LeGarrette Blount
CB Kyle Arrington
RB James White
OL Jordan Devey

We already knew about Edelman, Blount and Arrington, but Connolly and Dennard can now be added to the list of regulars who won't be playing.

On the positive side for the Patriots, Cameron Fleming is back in there. He was a huge factor in springing Jonas Gray on that 201-yard performance in Indy as a sixth lineman, so expect to see some heavy sets from New England today.

Here are the inactives for the Jets:

DL T.J. Barnes
OL Dakota Dozier
DB Jaiquawn Jarrett
OL Wesley Johnson
DB Rontez Miles
WR Walter Powell
QB Matt Simms

11:07 a.m.: For some perspective on how things are going in New York, check out the back page of the Post today:

10 a.m.: It is a lovely morning for football. That is, unless you're Julian Edelman, LeGarrette Blount or Kyle Arrington.

That trio has officially been ruled out for this afternoon's game in East Rutherford, leaving some rather glaring holes in the depth chart.

Edelman popped up on the injury list with a concussion this week, and he didn't make the trip, which means he didn't pass the testing. Edelman is the team's leader with 92 receptions, and he's second the team with 972 receiving yards. With nearly 10 pass attempts heading his way every game, Edelman is clearly Tom Brady's favorite target. But the QB will need to find someone new today.

Blount has a shoulder injury, and you have to think that his absence is just the Patriots' showing an abundance of caution. The same can be assumed with Kyle Arrington and his hamstring injury.

So while those two injuries may not necessarily be of great concern with regard to postseason availability, they'll still make life more difficult for the Patriots today against the Jets.

With that game, we'll have every bit of information and news covered right here in the live blog, from pregame announcements and inactive lists to every play until the final whistle, check back early and often.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.



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