They don't need no stinkin' Gronk. At least tonight they didn't.
It was a Thanksgiving night blowout in the Meadowlands as the Patriots crushed the Jets 49-19 at MetLife Stadium.
The Patriots passing game got off to a slow start without Gronkowski in the mix, but the offense turned it on in the second quarter and the Jets did their part to hurt themselves along the way with five turnovers on the night.
This game was essentially over at halftime when the score was already 35-3 in favor of the Patriots.
After a scoreless first quarter, Brady found wide receiver Wes Welker wide open in the corner of the end zone for a three-yard touchdown to get on the board.
Another defensive breakdown for the Jets led to the Patriots second score as no one was within 10 yards of running back Shane Vereen on a sideline pass and the Vereen scrambled 83 yards down the sideline for the score.
A broken play resulted in another second quarter touchdown for New England as Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez ran right into the back of Jets lineman Brandon Moore and coughed up the ball in the process. Patriots safety Steve Gregory picked up the loose ball and scrambled into the end zone.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Jets' Joe McKnight fumbled and Julian Edelman picked up the loose ball and scored another New England touchdown.
Then came the back-breaker as Brady found Julian Edelman wide open on another coverage breakdown by the Jets. Edelman scrambled 56 yards down the left sideline for the Patriots fifth touchdown of the half.
Live blog recap:
Patriots 49, Jets 12: 2:21, 4th quarter Garbage time touchdown for the Jets as Sanchez connected with tight end Dustin Keller on a one-yard TD pass. The scoring drive was 80 yards, in 6 plays. This just in: Ryan Mallett into the game to replace Tom Brady.
4:01, 4th quarter In case you were wondering, Tim Tebow has injured ribs and was not a viable option for the Jets much to the chagrin of Fireman Ed and Co. Jets have the ball back as nearly everyone is just waiting for the final bell in this knockout.
9:36, 4th quarter The Jets wasted no time in punting the ball back to New England. Tom Brady is still in there and now the Patriots look to be trying to run the game out. 455 total yards of offense tonight for New England. Four turnovers on defense and one on special teams sealed the deal early on this one.
Patriots 49, Jets 12: 11:45, 4th quarter Same old Jets. Fumble by Chaz Schilens, after being hit by Alfonzo Dennard on the kickoff, was recovered by who else but Rob Ninkovich. 38 seconds later Ridley walked into the end zone for another Patriots TD. There are less than 10,000 people left in the stadium.
Patriots 42, Jets 12: 12:02, 4th quarter Tom Brady punches it in from the one yard line for another Patriots touchdown. The drive was 87 yards in 17 plays eating 7:39 off the clock. Aaron Hernandez was called for offensive pass interference in the end zone on the drive but it didn't matter as the Patriots grinded their way in. Injury update: Edelman is out for the game with a head injury.
0:00, 3d quarter The Patriots air show is back in swing as Brady hit tight end Daniel Fells for 24 yards and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd for nine yards as the Patriots are inside the Jets 35.
Patriots 35, Jets 12: 5:59, 3d quarter Jets RB Bilal Powell busts in for the touchdown from the four yard line. Play of the night for Sanchez was a 39 yard pass to Jeff Cumberland in which Dont'a Hightower never turned back to see the ball as Cumberland ran past him. Jets scoring drive: 71 yards on four plays.
Patriots 35, Jets 5: 6:47, 3d quarter Well that's one way to score. Jets get 2 on the safety after Stevan Ridley was called for a chop block in the end zone. Jets will get the ball back.
6:52, 3d quarter Jets can't do anything right tonight. Shonn Greene stuffed by Brandon Spikes on fourth down at the one foot line. The Patriots take over. Stop me if you've heard this, but more fans are flocking to the exits. Injury update: Julian Edelman's return questionable with a head injury.
8:43, 3d quarter Jets in the red zone as they find some magic in the connection between Sanchez and tight end Dustin Keller. Keller fumbled on his last reception but Stephen Hill recovered it and the drive continues. Injury update: Jets wide receiver Clyde Gates is out of the game with a head injury.
10:34, 3d quarter The Patriots tried to get fancy with an end around pitch to Edelman but he was laid out on a helmet-to-helmet hit by LaRon Landry and fumbled the ball back to New York.
12:42, 3d quarter The Jets had the ball to start to the second half... but that didn't last long as they stalled after getting a first down and the Patriots offense is ready to go to work from their own 25 after the punt. Jets fans continue to flow toward the exits here. And the boos are growing louder from those that remain.
Patriots 35, Jets 3: halftime The Jets are on the scoreboard. Nick Folk kicked a 32-yard field goal after the Jets looked like they'd march into the end zone. The refs had trouble getting the ball down after a 4th-down completion to Hill and Sanchez found himself with just :07 seconds left after spiking the ball. The fans first mock cheered the field goal then after the kickoff they lustily booed the Jets as they headed to the locker room down by 32 points. Jets RB Joe McKnight was seen getting in Julian Edelman's face as the second quarter ended. Stay tuned for Greg Bedard's halftime analysis coming up... along with Lenny Kravitz.
1:17, 2d quarter Don't look now but Stephen Hill just caught his first pass in three weeks and the Jets are moving down the field into Patriots territory.
2:00, 2d quarter Wondering if the Jets had their turkey right before the game and the tryptophan started kicking in early, forcing them to nap on the field. More fans heading toward the exits at the two minute warning. A large Patriots fan with a Gronkowski jersey was just tossed out for acting up in the stands. He gave the salute the Jets loyalists on his way out the door.
Patriots 35, Jets 0: 3:08, 2d quarter Julian Edelman WIDE OPEN on the left sideline as LaRon Landry blew the coverage one play after stuffing Stevan Ridley and Brady hits the wide receiver for the Patriots fifth touchdown of the half. Another coverage breakdown for the Jets defense. Scoring drive: 73 yards, 4 plays, in 1:53.
5:01, 2d quarter Flo Rida's "I cry just a little" belting over the speakers here. No signs of tears in Rex Ryan's eyes just yet...
5:01, 2d quarter They're calling for Tim Tebow here in East Rutherford as it's been a disastrous first have for Gang Green. The lastest debacle for NY saw Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo rush Sanchez untouched for the sack on a third down play. Ball back in Brady's hands.
7:42, 2d quarter The Jets have to take to the air if they hope to get back into this game. The boo birds are out at MetLife because the men in green have been playing like turkeys since the opening bell. Jets moving near midfield.
Patriots 28, Jets 0: 8:51, 2d quarter It's become a comedy of errors for the Jets as Joe McKnight coughed up the kickoff and Julian Edelman picked up the loose ball and scored another New England touchdown. Immediately after the score, some Jets fans were seen hitting the exits early.
Patriots 21, Jets 0: 9:00, 2d quarter A broken play results in another TD for New England as Mark Sanchez ran right into the back of Jets lineman Brandon Moore and coughed up the ball in the process. Star of the game thus far Steve Gregory picked up the loose ball and scrambled into the end zone. That was the 10th fumble of the season for Sanchez.
Patriots 14, Jets 0: 9:43, 2d quarter A defensive meltdown for the Jets as no one was within 10 yards of Shane Vereen on the outside and the Patriots back took the pass and scrambled 83 yards down the sideline for the score. One play, 13 seconds on the drive.
9:56, 2d quarter The Jets go for it on fourth-and-one but Shonn Green was stuffed by Jerod Mayo and then fumbled the ball and Steve Gregory recovered for the Patriots. The Jets were grinding away with the running game as Bilal Powell led the way, but the drive stalled deep in Patriots territory and Rex Ryan's decision to go for it backfired.
Patriots 7, Jets 0: 14:54, 2d quarter Brady finds Welker wide open in the end zone. Jets cornerback Ellis Lankster looked confused on the play as Welker was left alone in the corner of the endzone for the 3-yard TD pass. The drive: 84 yards on 15 plays, in 6:01.
Patriots 0, Jets 0, end of first quarter Patriots, in the red zone, seem content on pounding the ball in. Tom Brady only 4-for10 passing for 44 yards so far. Ball on the Jets 4-yard line to start the second quarter. Ridley has 39 yards on the ground. Vereen has 26.
2:14, first quarter The Patriots, helped by a neutral zone infraction by the Jets, are marching down the field, at the Jets 31. Brady throws another incompletion to Welker. Not having Rob Gronkowski looks to be an issue for Tom Brady in the early going.
4:28, first quarterA counter toss pitchout to Shane Vereen results in a first down for the Patriots who are now near midfield. Brady missed Wes Welker earlier when LaRon Landry made a great tip play to break up the pass.
5:55, first quarter The Jets turn it over as Patriots safety Steve Gregory was on the receiving end of a Mark Sanchez pass, an easy pick, stopping the Jets momentum after they had a strong drive going deep into New England territory.
8:20, first quarter The Jets are getting their running game going after Vince Wilfork was called for encroachment. Jets QB Mark Sanchez comes back to his tight end Jeff Cumberland and the Jets are in Patriots territory.
10:05, first quarterThe problems for Stephen Gostkowski continue. The Patirots kicker missed left from 39 yards out. Patriots went to the no-huddle on the drive that stalled after a big play to Aaron Hernandez. Rob Ninkovich is back on the sidelines.
11:16, first quarter Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich was seen heading into the tunnel. We'll update his status as it becomes available.
12:18, first quarter The Jets go three-and-out in their first drive as well. Key play was a sack by Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Julian Edleman returned the punt for 30 yards and the Patriots will start at their own 36 yard line.
13:28, first quarter For only the 10th time in 113 times this season, the Patriots have gone three-and-out in their first drive as Zoltan Mesko was forced to punt.
14:48, first quarter Not a good start for the Patriots as Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson forced Tom Brady into an intentional grounding situation.
We're just about to kick off here at relatively balmy (46 degrees, calm winds) MetLife Stadium.
The Jets have won the coin toss and have deferred, so the Patriots will get the ball to start the game.
MetLife Stadium looks to be about 80 percent capacity right now. The stadium holds 82,500 for football.
The National Anthem was performed by the Newark Boys Chorus.