Originally created 09/22/03

Patriots top Jets



FOXBORO, Mass. -- New England Patriots players are going down as quickly as the New York Jets' season.

For the third straight game, the Patriots lost a key defender and the Jets lost a close contest as New England won 23-16 Sunday.

Tom Brady never missed a play after hurting his right elbow with 5:45 left in the second quarter. He ran for a 1-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to break a 9-9 tie.

But in the first quarter, nose tackle Ted Washington fractured his leg and wide receiver David Patten hurt his right leg. Neither returned.

"We don't ask, 'Why us?"' linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "We deal with what is happening, no matter who's in there."

Washington is expected to miss "a couple of weeks," coach Bill Belichick said. It is not known how long Patten will be out.

The Patriots (2-1) already were without two starting linebackers - Ted Johnson, who broke his left foot in the first game, and Rosevelt Colvin, who broke his left hip in the second and is expected to miss the season. And they released safety Lawyer Milloy before the first game.

Cornerback Ty Law rolled his ankle late in the first half but returned.

"We're already down in numbers as it is," Law said. "As long as I can run, even if I'm not full speed, my presence is important out there."

The Jets (0-3) lost to Washington 16-13 on a field goal with 5 seconds left, then fell to Miami 21-10 before Sunday's seven-point loss.

"It's a sickening feeling," quarterback Vinny Testaverde said. "Losing like this is worse because you were in all three games."

The Jets were without two key players - quarterback Chad Pennington with a dislocated wrist and cornerback Donnie Abraham with a broken shoulder.

Abraham's replacement, Ray Mickens, was called for pass interference in the end zone one play before Brady scored. And Pennington's replacement, Testaverde, threw an interception that Asante Samuel returned 55 yards for a touchdown 11 seconds into the fourth quarter.

"I knew Vinny was going to (Wayne) Chrebet because that's his main guy," Samuel said.

The Jets came right back on Testaverde's 29-yard scoring pass to Chrebet less than two minutes later, but came no closer as they converted just one of 13 third-down opportunities.

"It was a character drive," Testaverde said. "We felt like we had momentum but then we can't go out and repeat it."

The Patriots broke a five-game home losing streak against the Jets.

"We can put that little curse behind us," Law said. "I'm sure the Jets will bounce back like they did last year."

The Patriots won at the Meadowlands 44-7 in the second game last year, then lost at home 30-7 in the 15th game and missed the playoffs on the final weekend.

On Sunday, Adam Vinatieri and Doug Brien kicked three field goals each before Brady's touchdown run. He took it in himself when he saw his receivers were covered.

"Drop back, look, first guy, second guy, third guy, then it's just, oh, get going," Brady said.

He re-entered the game after he was sacked by linebacker Sam Cowart and fumbled. Larry Centers recovered for the Patriots, and Brady, whose helmet was knocked off on the play, left clutching his right elbow.

"I rushed in and jumped over the blocker," Cowart said. "I was surprised to see him still holding the ball."

Brady said he was fine and then, aware of Belichick's reluctance to share injury information, said with a smile, "keep asking, you'll keep getting that same answer."

Testaverde started his third game for Pennington and moved into eighth place on the NFL career list with 40,300 yards passing. His 264 yards Sunday moved him past Johnny Unitas' 40,239. Joe Montana is seventh with 40,551.

The Jets managed just 65 yards on 17 carries. They had 21 yards rushing against Miami. Curtis Martin ran for 53 yards Sunday after entering the game with only 80.

"It's almost there but we're still not doing enough to help the team win," Martin said.

Trailing 6-3 with the ball at the Patriots 16-yard line, the Jets set up for a field goal but faked and Kevin Mawae dropped Dan Stryzinski's pass.

"I am trying to get something going," coach Herman Edwards said. "I am trying to score touchdowns."

Notes:The Jets started at 1-3 last year but won the AFC East on a tiebreaker with a 9-7 record. ... New York outgained New England 329-294 and sacked Brady five times. Testaverde wasn't sacked. ... The Patriots ran for 147 yards. The Jets have allowed 164.7 yards rushing per game.