Again it was Gregory who was in the right place. He scooped up the loose ball and ran it back 32 yards to give New England a 21-0 lead.
“He made big plays,” Devin McCourty said of his safety partner. “That’s a dream game.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Joe McKnight got out to the 25, but McCourty popped the ball out.
Julian Edelman plucked the ball out of the air and ran it back into the end zone. Patriots, 28-0.
And they weren’t done.
After the defense forced a punt, Brady and Edelman turned a third-and-5 play into a 56-yard TD catch.
The 35 tied the team record for points in a quarter.
Scoring three touchdowns in 52 seconds doesn’t happen often, but Belichick, as only he could, remembered that he was on the wrong side of a similar situation — at the Pro Bowl.
“It doesn’t take a lot to score a lot of points in this league quickly,” he said. “Turnovers, defensive returns, special teams returns, it can add up in a hurry both ways: getting ahead or also coming back. Nothing surprises me in the NFL. That’s why it’s a great game.”
The boos from Jets fans only intensified when they kicked a 32-yard field goal just before halftime instead of trying for the end zone.
The Jets score 9 points in unconventional fashion in the third quarter, getting a safety and a touchdown, and got another touchdown in the fourth, while the Patriots scored twice in the fourth quarter.