FOXBOROUGH -- All the Patriots had was 1:42 to either tie or take the lead Sunday against the Jets.
They had surrendered 13 points in the fourth quarter, allowing for the Jets to take a 26-23 lead. They needed their offense to come through in the clutch, again.
And the Patriots did.
Tom Brady led New England on a six-play, 54-yard drive, recording three straight first downs on throws to Rob Gronkowski and Danny Woodhead before running out of time for a shot at the end zone. The Patriots settled for a 43-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to send it into overtime.
In the extra period, they weren't nearly as good. It took the Patriots 12 plays to go 54 yards, helped in part by a pass interference on Jets corner Kyle Wilson. Brady had a couple of misfires as well, failing to connect with Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez.
The latter, a throw to Hernandez on 3rd-and-6, stopped the Patriots cold in their tracks, forcing them to kick a 48-yard field goal -- the eventual winner by Gostkowski.
"At some point, it's going to be tight coverage and you've got to make a tough play and they're close and weíve got to hit it," said Brady. "I think thatís what it comes down to. I mean, itís not like guys are going to be open by five yards with that kind of time left on the clock, that important part of the game. Itís close. They either make it or they donít Ė or we either make it or we donít, and we didn't."
The defense bailed out the team, forcing a Mark Sanchez fumble in the Jets' overtime possession to give the Patriots the win.
But what's more, the Patriots offense could have put the game away much earlier at the start of the fourth quarter. But the offense was stalled by a pass interference flag on Brandon Lloyd.
"Well, it was first and 10 and then we got a pass interference, and then itís first and 20 and then itís incomplete and then itís a run and then its third and 16," Brady said. "So that's not the way to play offensive football. I don't think thereís going to be a high percentage playing that way. We canít really put ourselves in that situation. Weíve all got to do a better job executing our plays. Thereís no easy way out. It's not like thereís a magic, special play that you save for those situations. Itís about doing your job and doing a better job of it."
The Patriots have made a habit of making it hard on themselves, letting teams stick around. Brady was asked if this team has the mental makeup to deal with these close fourth quarter games.
"I hope so. You know, I sure hope we do," Brady said. "Thatís part of our mental toughness and I think weíre coached very hard and we prepare for tough situations. That's the kind of pressure our coach puts on us every day in practice to perform and perform consistently. It's not like in the seventh week of the year you have all the answers. You never really have all the answers. Thereís only one team thatís really happy at the end of the year, and I think it's a building process and playing your best football at the most important times."