Brady-less Pats still beat Jets

September 14, 2008 4:25:37 PM PDT
Life without Tom Brady might not be so bad for New England after all.Matt Cassel was efficient running the offense in his first NFL start, taking over for the injured quarterback and leading the Patriots over Brett Favre and the New York Jets 19-10 on Sunday.

Cassel, who hadn't started at any level since his senior year of high school, was 16-of-23 for 165 yards, Sammy Morris ran for a touchdown and Stephen Gostkowski kicked four field goals.

The Jets and Patriots receiver Randy Moss said New England was still the team to beat even without Brady, who was lost for the season last Sunday when he injured his left knee against Kansas City.

The Patriots (2-0) then showed why, ruining the Jets' home opener and Favre's first regular-season home start for New York.

New England won its 21st straight regular-season game, and beat the Jets for the eighth straight time at the Meadowlands.

Favre went 18-of-26 for 181 yards and a TD for the Jets (1-1), but the Patriots took advantage of a big mistake by the veteran.

With the Jets facing a third-and-22 from their 11, Favre ran out of the pocket to his left and flung a pass to Chansi Stuckey for 28 yards. Three plays later, though, Favre made a poor decision, hanging a pass intended for Chris Baker that was easily picked off by Brandon Meriweather for Favre's first interception with the Jets.

On third-and-9 from the 30, Cassel threw a screen to Kevin Faulk, who got a few blocks and ran down the right sideline to the 8. Two plays later, Cassel hit Wes Welker for 7 yards to get the ball to the 1. Morris then leaped over the pile for a touchdown to make it 13-3.

Stephen Gostkowski added a 28-yard field goal with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.

Favre led the Jets back into it, connecting with Stuckey for a 2-yard touchdown with 10:18 left. Favre was 6-for-6 for 51 yards on the 10-play drive that started on the Jets 20, including a 19-yard pass to rookie Dustin Keller on third-and-6 from the Patriots 39.

After a 10-yard reception by Laveranues Coles and an 8-yard run by Thomas Jones, Favre found Stuckey alone in the back right corner of the end zone after Rodney Harrison got tripped up in coverage.

Gostkowski kicked a 27-yard field goal to make it 19-10.

The Jets had their opening 11-play drive end with Jay Feely, filling in for the injured Mike Nugent, missing a 31-yard attempt.

Cassel then led the Patriots on a 12-play drive, capped by Gostkowski's 21-yard field goal.

Gostkowski's 37-yarder gave the Patriots a 6-0 lead.

The Jets wasted an impressive drive that featured a vintage play by Favre. The veteran quarterback scrambled on third-and-9 from their 21, stepped up and threw across his body, finding Coles down the right sideline for 54 yards. A zigzagging 11-yard run by Leon Washington got the ball to the 3, but the Jets gave the ball to Jones three times for 1, 1 and minus-2 yards. They had to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Feely.


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