Patriots

AFC EAST: McCown, defense lead Jets to dominant 20-6 victory over Dolphins

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AFC EAST: McCown, defense lead Jets to dominant 20-6 victory over Dolphins

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - All that dismal 0-16 talk is over. And, the New York Jets ended it early with a stunningly dominant performance.

Josh McCown threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell ran for a score, and the Jets' defense frustrated Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins in a 20-6 victory Sunday in New York's home opener.

"Oh, man, it was awesome," McCown said. "It was special."

While a lot of the focus from many fans and media heading into the season was on whether the revamped Jets roster would be good enough to win any games , New York made Miami look like the team in the middle of a rebuild.

"We've always had confidence," said rookie safety Jamal Adams, who had one of the Jets' three sacks. "We're not where we want to be, but this is the start of it."

McCown finished 18 of 23 for 249 yards, Chandler Catanzaro kicked two field goals, and the Jets (1-2) forced Cutler and the Dolphins (1-1) into mistakes all game. The Jets also avoided their first 0-3 start since 2003.

"Relief? Great feeling? Whatever you want to say," McCown said. "When you win, it's a great feeling. Internally, there's a method that we go about and then there's obviously an external narrative that people have for this team. We've not bought that.

"So, for us, to say it's a relief, it was not an expectation that it was going to be hard to win a game this year. We expected to win games. We expect to win a lot of games."

New York just missed having its first shutout since blanking Cincinnati 37-0 on Jan. 13, 2010. Cutler threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker on the final play. Cody Parkey missed the extra point, capping a miserable day for Miami in 88-degree heat at MetLife Stadium.

"They just beat the (heck) out of us," coach Adam Gase said. "That's the best way to put it. We didn't show up, didn't play physical."

Cutler, making his second start for Miami, struggled to connect with his receivers throughout. Miami failed to convert its first eight third-down opportunities, not getting one until early in the fourth quarter, and finished 1 for 12.

Cutler was 26 of 44 for 220 yards with an interception and the TD toss. Miami was outgained in total yards 336-225.

"I think that game was a wakeup call for us," Cutler said. "We can't just roll it out there and expect it to happen."

A solid drive on New York's second possession stalled at the Dolphins 32, and Catanzaro shanked a 45-yard field goal attempt wide left, leaving the game scoreless.

The Jets finally took their first lead of the season on Catanzaro's 40-yarder with 7:17 remaining in the half.

New York went ahead 10-0 on McCown's perfectly placed pass to Anderson, who caught the ball in stride and sped into the end zone for a 69-yard score . The play came right after a long run by Powell was wiped out by a questionable holding penalty on center Wesley Johnson.

"Guys were all mad," McCown said of the penalty. "And I was like, `Guys, let's go get `em the next play.'"

Powell leaped into the end zone from 1 yard to make it 17-0 on the Jets' first possession of the second half. The drive was kept alive by defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas - lining up as a fullback throughout the game - catching a 15-yard pass on third-and-1.

New York shut down Cutler and the Dolphins on the next drive, and Matt Haack tried a fake punt. His pass was picked off by Terrence Brooks, who had two interceptions in the game. The play cost the Jets 21 yards because Brooks chose to intercept the ball rather than just knock it down.

The Jets still got another score, though, this time on a 22-yarder by Catanzaro. It was actually Catanzaro's second made field goal of the drive, but Miami's William Hayes was called for an illegal formation penalty on the Jets kicker's 46-yarder - prolonging the possession for New York.

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Patriots suffer defensive wounds against Dolphins

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Patriots suffer defensive wounds against Dolphins

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The number of points the Patriots allowed in their 27-20 loss to the Dolphins on Monday night was the most they'd given up in more than two months. And they were lucky it wasn't more.

New England's defense had breakdowns across the board against Adam Gase's offense, allowing Jay Cutler to complete 25 of 38 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Had it not been for four Dolphins drops -- including one that nearly went for a long touchdown to Jakeem Grant -- Cutler's numbers would've been even better.

Here's a look at some of the issues the Patriots exhibited at Hard Rock Stadium. If they're going to get them cleaned up before next weekend's game in Pittsburgh against one of the NFL's best offenses, Matt Patricia is going to have a busy week on his hands.

CUTLER GOES LONG
The once-retired veteran has been a mostly dink-and-dunk style quarterback this season, but he aired it out with some success on Monday. Credit Gase and his staff for drawing up a plan that forced the Patriots to cover "every blade of grass." Without much pressure from the Patriots defense (more on that later), they stretched Bill Belichick's defense both horizontally and vertically. They found open crossers for much of the evening, utilizing Cutler's mobility to roll out and find receivers running across formations. They also caught the Patriots on some deep attempts. The first that had a shot came early in the second half when Julius Thomas let a big-gainer slip through his hands. Three plays later, Cutler found Grant for a 25-yard touchdown when Grant out-jumped Malcolm Butler for the 50-50 ball.

"Should've been more aggressive," Butler said after the game. "Should've went up, played the ball a little better. Think I competed well, but I think in that case competing wasn't good enough."

Butler gave a step to Grant again in the fourth quarter, but Cutler's pass bounced off of Grant's fingers and fell the would-be touchdown pass fell incomplete.

PASS RUSH LEAVES ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The entire front seven for the Patriots had their issues on Monday night, which made sense given the personnel. Without Kyle Van Noy, Trey Flowers and Alan Branch (ruled out with a knee injury during the game), the Dolphins hovered around 4.8 yards per carry until late in the contest. In coverage, Patriots linebackers -- in particular Elandon Roberts, who allowed 77 yards on three catches -- had their issues. But the team's pass rush has to be a concern as well. The Patriots managed just three hits on Cutler in the game. Two were sacks. Both Devin McCourty and Adam Butler came up with one. The other hit came in the first quarter when Eric Lee put a lick on Cutler as Cutler let an incompletion fly. Lee was the team's most productive rusher with three additional hurries. Eric Rowe also had a hurry on a corner blitz in the fourth quarter. Jordan Richards came up with a pressure of his own that should've resulted in more. Which leads us to . . . 

MISSED TACKLES AN ISSUE
On Miami's final drive of the first half, the Patriots seemed to have their opponents stuffed in the red zone yet again. Richards shot a gap on the interior and had a clean hit lined up on Cutler, but he missed the takedown, and Cutler found Kenyan Drake for eight yards and a first down. Brutal. One play later, Cutler found Jarvis Landry to make the score 13-7. Richards' miss was, in essence, a four-point play. Roberts missed a first-quarter tackle that led to a Drake 26-yard run, and Landry stiff-armed Jones to the ground soon thereafter to give the Patriots another miss. In the third quarter, Drake spun out of a potential Patrick Chung tackle and scooted for 31 yards to set up Landry's second touchdown of the game.

BUNCH FORMATIONS ARE BACK
The Patriots were expected to see bunch formation after bunch formation when they struggled to defend them against the Panthers in Week 4. Instead, they weren't inundated with bunch looks. They saw them only periodically and handled them well. But the Dolphins were relentless with their bunch sets. The Patriots seemed to have them figured out for the most part, but Landry got loose out of a bunch formation near the goal line, leading to his second score of the game. And in the third quarter, on a third-and-four play, the Patriots appeared to be almost too ready for a pick out of a tight two-man set. Jonathan Jones, seemingly anticipating contact, lost Kenny Stills off the line of scrimmage and gave up an 11-yard completion for a crucial first down. Two plays later, the Dolphins were in the end zone.

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NFL Network suspends analysts over sexual misconduct suit

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NFL Network suspends analysts over sexual misconduct suit

NEW YORK -- Hall of Fame player Marshall Faulk and two other NFL Network analysts have been suspended after a former employee alleged sexual misconduct in a lawsuit.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy on Tuesday identified the three as Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans. He says they have been "suspended from their duties at NFL Network pending an investigation into these allegations."

According to court documents first reported by Bloomberg, former wardrobe stylist Jami Cantor described several sexually inappropriate encounters with the three retired NFL players and others who have worked for the NFL Network.

Former NFL Network executive Eric Weinberger and former NFL Network analyst Donovan McNabb are among those named in the suit. McNabb now works for ESPN.

Cantor worked at the NFL Network for a decade. She filed an amended complaint originally filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in October.