Another game was slipping away from the New England Patriots down the stretch. This time, their opponent made the biggest mistakes. The New York Jets'...
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Another game was slipping away from the New England Patriots down the stretch. This time, their opponent made the biggest mistakes.
The New York Jets’ final failure came when Rob Ninkovich knocked the ball out of Mark Sanchez’s hand in overtime and recovered the fumble, ending a 29-26 win Sunday that gave the Patriots sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
For the fourth time this season, a Patriots game was decided in the final two minutes. And, for the first time, they won.
“The whole time I’m thinking, ‘Hey, this can’t happen again.,’ ” Ninkovich said. “In overtime we said, ‘Hey, it’s overtime. We know we’re going to get a chance, so let’s go out there and finish this game.’ “
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The Patriots (4-3) moved into sole possession of first place in their division.
The day started with all four teams tied at 3-3, but the Jets (3-4) and the Buffalo Bills lost, while the Miami Dolphins were idle.
Griffin comes up just shy
in first NFC East game
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Robert Griffin III’s age and thin professional resume say he is a rookie. Nothing else does.
In his first NFC East game Sunday, against the high-powered New York Giants, Griffin statistically outplayed the two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning by throwing for 258 yards and running for 89 more in a 27-23 defeat.
“I try not to approach the game like a rookie,” Griffin said. “I don’t try to give myself excuses.”
Yes, Manning had the last word with his deadly 77-yard bomb to Victor Cruz with 1 minute, 23 seconds left. But Griffin, the 22-year-old bipartisan toast of the nation’s capital, was hardly overshadowed. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 258 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 108.9.
“You just have opportunities,” wide receiver Santana Moss said. “Offensively, we can do anything we want with the ball in his hands or with the guys we have running in the backfield.”
Vilma back as Brees throws four TDs
TAMPA, Fla. — A chipper Jonathan Vilma gave New Orleans’ struggling defense an emotional lift, while Drew Brees did the rest for the suddenly resurgent Saints.
Vilma played for the first time while appealing a seasonlong suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty program, finishing with one quarterback hit but no tackles in a 35-28 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“It’s awesome to have him back,” receiver Lance Moore said. “To go through the things that he’s gone through individually, then to just kind of break through and get a chance to get out there, be with his teammates — he spoke to us last night, got us all fired up, and we had to come out here and play well.”
While it’s debatable how much Vilma’s play impacted the defense, the Saints stopped two threats near the end zone in the second half, including the final drive of the game to preserve New Orleans’ second straight win.