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Patriots pull out a wild one, down Jets, 29-26
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady rescued the New England Patriots from disaster Sunday as they pulled out a wild 29-26 victory over the rival New York Jets.
After his team had blown a late 10-point lead and fallen behind 26-23 with 1:42 left, Brady took the Patriots down the field to set up a pair of Stephen Gostkowski field goals, one a 43-yarder on the final play of regulation and the other a 48-yarder 3:58 into overtime.
It was the 35th time Brady led the Patriots to a win after tied or trailing in the fourth quarter.
The New England defense then held and the Patriots improved to 4-3 and recaptured first place in the AFC East. The game ended when Jermaine Cunningham and Rob Ninkovich combined to sack Mark Sanchez, with Ninkovich recovering Sanchez's fumble. The play was reviewed and upheld.
The Jets (3-4) rallied for 13 late points, converting a Devin McCourty fumble into the go-ahead field goal with 1:42 left.
McCourty, who ran a kickoff back 104 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, fumbled a kickoff away that recovered by the Jets at the New England 15 with 2:01 left. That came after the Jets had rallied for 10 points to tie the game. McCourty was hit by Lex Hilliard and Antonio Hilliard recovered.
The Jets settled for Nick Folk's second 43-yard field goal in a 29-seconds span, his third and fourth of the day.
Brady (26 for 42 for 259 yards) hit tight end Rob Gronkowski with two touchdown passes and the Pats had their first safety in 102 games.
Down 23-13, Sanchez (28 for 41 for 328 yards, a touchdown and an interception before the fumble) took the Jets 92 yards on a seven-minute fourth-quarter drive to cut the New England lead to three. He then brought his team down again, New York settling for Folk's third field, also a 43-yarder. Stephen Hill dropped a pass at the New England 14 before that.
Tim Tebow, playing only a handful of plays, ran for 12 yards on four carries and didn't throw a pass.
Shonn Greene ran for 54 yards with a touchdown and caught five passes. But he also fumbled twice, one leading to the Patriots' safety. He left late with a head injury after he ran into Brandon Spikes, but returned.
The safety came when Greene fumbled a handoff into the end zone and Sanchez kicked it out of the end zone rather than fall on it.
The Patriots had some manpower problems early and were caught with 10 men on the field on three different occasions. They wasted a timeout in punt formation and had 10 men on the first touchdown of the game.
After Greene scored, McCourty found a wide open lane and really only had to beat Folk to go on to the second-longest return run in team history. Ellis Hobbs ran one 108 yards, also against the Jets, on Sept. 9, 2007.
The Jets had a long first-quarter runback, too, as Joe McKnight ran one back 41 yards after New England went up 14-7.
Notes: The Patriots had 381 yards, their 16th straight game with at least 350, tying the NFL record. ... It was Gronkowski's NFL-leading 10th multi-TD game since 2010. ... The Patriots lead the all-time series 54-52-1, 29-25-1 at home. ... Brady has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 39 straight regular season games, the third-longest such streak in NFL history. ... New England guard Dan Connolly left the game in the first quarter due to illness, leaving the Patriots without both starting guards (Logan Mankins was out with an injury). Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland left with a hand injury. ... New England's Wes Welker caught a pass in his 101st consecutive game. ... The Jets talked to the NFL about trying to slow down the Patriots' hurry-up offense, coach Rex Ryan telling ESPN Saturday night, "Sometimes when they substitute, you're supposed to be allowed to substitute with them. We'll see about that, but they move at such a quick pace that you have to be alert, and if you have to sub, you have to make your substitution extremely quick." ... The Patriots wore their red "Boston" Patriots throwback uniforms. ... The Patriots travel to London to face the St. Louis Rams next week, while the Jets host the Miami Dolphins.