By Tom E. Curran
FOXBORO - The Patriots find themselves staring up at the Jets and into the face of a loss possibly as ignominious as Super Bowl 42. It's 14-3 and the mood in the stands is morose.
WAAAY OUT OF CHARACTERIn the final three minutes of the first half, the Patriots attempted a direct snap to punt protector Patrick Chung. It ricocheted off Chung's thigh and he scuttled around for no gain. The Jets turned that into a touchdown making it 14-3. On the ensuing drive before the half, left guard Logan Mankins heaved Jets corner Marques Cole, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Add to that the questionable challenge on a throw to Santonio Holmes near midfield (the ruling was upheld) and you have a recipe the Patriots haven't cooked up in a while. Almost forgot . . . Tom Brady's pick thrown to David Harris on a screen pass and an end zone drop by Alge Crumpler. SANCHEZ ON MARKJets quarterback Mark Sanchez has started 10-for-16 for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Some of his misses have been wild but the restart he made in the second quarter when he directed Braylon Edwards to the deep left sideline and the ensuing throw set upthe Jets first touchdown. Brady, meanwhile, is 10 for 17 for 99 yards and a pick. WELKER GETS WRIST SLAPPEDCBS' Jim Nantz reported before the game began that Wes Welker would be benched at the start because of his press conference Thursday which was suspiciously laden with references to feet. Welker was on the field to field the first plus-50 punt of the day from Steve Weatherford but did sit down for the first series. Given the ceaseless chatter from Jets' camp all week, Bill Belichick was no doubt making a point not only to Welker but the Jets as well. Or football in general. Either way, it was interesting. PRESSURE COOKERSo far, Brady's been sacked three times and has been thoroughly addled in the pocket. He's got one completion to a wide receiver so far, a 10-yard completion to Wes Welker. Terrific mix of blitzes so far by the Jets defensive coordinator. The Patriots managed just one first down in the second quarter. JETS PICKING UP STEAMAfter being outgained 104-36 in the first quarter, the Jets went into halftime outgaining New England 157-127. This will be a true challenge to the coaching staffs on both sides - can the Jets keep flowing and send Rex Ryan to his second straight AFC Championship?