FOXBOROUGH – When the Patriots’ offense could barely muster a first down in the fourth quarter, or sustain a drive, the defense bailed them out.
That’s right, it was the defense that helped spur along the Patriots Thursday night against the New York Jets, coming up with four turnovers – three were critical down the stretch – to help the Patriots edge their AFC East foe, 13-10.
“I mean, over the years our offense has bailed us out so many times,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said. “It’s good to get a win like this. We’ve said it so many times: if the score is 43-42 or 3-0, we’ll take it, especially against a division opponent like the Jets.”
The Jets finished their last five drives of the game with two punts and three interceptions. The Patriots thwarted any comeback attempt thanks to timely plays from Alfonzo Dennard and Aqib Talib. Dennard intercepted Jets quarterback Geno Smith at the New England 31 with 4:29 left in the game. Talib, with 48 seconds left, sealed the win with an interception of his own.
Talib finished with two interceptions in the game and a forced fumble, which was recovered by Devin McCourty.
“Guys just made plays,” McCourty said. “I mean, we talked about it all week leading up to the game. Our front seven and front four was gonna get some pressure in there and we just had to make it count and intercept the ball.”
The Patriots turned up the pressure on the Jets rookie quarterback, sacking him four times and adding five more hits in the backfield.
“We got after the quarterback a little bit and hopefully we can do it some more next week,” said defensive end Chandler Jones, who had two sacks.
It was an improvement for a team, particularly the defensive line, that had scarcely forced any pressure in Week 1, making the job of the secondary much harder.
“It was a great game for us as a D-line,” said defensive end Rob Ninkovich. There were some things that are wrong that we need to tighten up; they ran the ball too much on us. So that’s what the tape is for tomorrow. We’ve got to make sure that we come in, see what we weren’t doing as well on the D-line for stopping the run, see the things that we did do well and continue to get better and work.”