Redskins

Patriots roll past Jets 49-19 with big 2nd quarter

201211221953716177526-p2.jpeg

Patriots roll past Jets 49-19 with big 2nd quarter

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Tom Brady couldn't believe what happened. Neither could Bill Belichick, nor the rest of the New England Patriots, for that matter.

They were up 7-0 on the New York Jets one minute, and 28-0 the next. Literally.

Three touchdowns in 52 seconds. That was all it took to send the high-scoring Patriots to a 49-19 victory Thursday night - and put the bumbling Jets on the verge of seeing their season slip away.

``It all happened so fast,'' Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said. ``I've never been part of anything like that, but I'm glad that we were on the right side of it.''

Brady threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score as the Patriots (8-3) took advantage of five turnovers and used a 35-point second quarter - including the three TDs in less than a minute - to cruise past the Jets (4-7).

``That was quick,'' Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. ``They were some of the quickest scores I've ever seen on any level.''

New England's 35 second-quarter points tied for the fourth-most in a quarter in NFL history. After a scoreless opening period, the Patriots then went on a touchdown spree despite holding the ball for only 2:14 as the Jets kept giving the ball away.

``I was unfortunately on the other side of that in a Pro Bowl where they scored on a fumble, then an interception,'' Belichick said. ``It doesn't take a lot to score like that - defensive touchdowns, special teams, they can add up in a hurry.

``Nothing surprises me in the NFL.''

The Patriots jumped on a poor decision by Mark Sanchez, who ruined a nice drive by keying in on Jeremy Kerley on second-and-6 from the 23. Steve Gregory read the play the whole way for an easy interception.

Brady then led the Patriots on a 15-play, 84-yard drive that was capped by Wes Welker's 3-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the second quarter.

Things got out of hand in a hurry a few minutes later.

After New England recovered a fumble by Shonn Greene, Brady threw a swing pass on first down to Shane Vereen, who zipped down the left sideline untouched for an 83-yard touchdown that made it 14-0 with 9:43 remaining in the opening half.

The Patriots were back in the end zone moments later after Sanchez fumbled on second down as he fell when he slammed into right guard Brandon Moore's backside. Gregory picked up the ball and ran it 32 yards for a score to put New England up 21-0 with 9 minutes left.

And, the Patriots weren't done.

Joe McKnight, one of the league's top returners, fumbled the ensuing kickoff on a hit by Devin McCourty. Julian Edelman grabbed the ball out of the air and scooted 22 yards for yet another score, making it 28-0 with 8:51 remaining in the half.

``That was crazy,'' Sanchez said. ``I've never seen anything like that. This is a team you can't turn the ball over against because they make you pay. That was a great display of that today.''

Disgusted Jets fans were chanting for Tim Tebow to play before the second quarter of this Thanksgiving showdown was over, and booing as the team left the MetLife Stadium field at halftime.

``Shoot, I don't blame them for booing,'' Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

New England, which beat Indianapolis 59-24 on Sunday, scored four touchdowns in just over 6 minutes, helping Belichick become the eighth coach in NFL history with 200 career victories, including the playoffs.

``There's no coach I'd ever want to play for than him,'' Brady said.

Edelman also caught a 56-yard pass for a score before leaving with a head injury, and Stevan Ridley ran for a touchdown as New England set a franchise record with 108 points in a two-game stretch.

The Patriots improved to 19-0 in the second half of the season since 2010. They were 8-0 that year and last year, and are 3-0 this season after the midway point.

Meanwhile, the Jets allowed their most points since giving up 52 to Miami in the 1995 season opener, and will likely have to win their remaining five games to even have an outside chance at the postseason.

``Discouraged? Of course,'' Ryan said. ``I'll put it to you this way: We're about as wounded as you possibly can be, but we're not dead.''

New England was without star tight end Rob Gronkowski, out a few weeks after breaking his left forearm against Indianapolis. It didn't need him - not with the Jets fumbling and stumbling around.

Brady finished 18 of 28 for 323 yards before leaving with 2 minutes left in the game. He reached 3,000 yards passing for the 10th time, becoming one of six players to accomplish the feat. He also passed Dan Fouts for 10th place on the career passing list.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez returned after missing three games with a sprained ankle and had two catches for 36 yards.

Sanchez was 26 of 36 for 301 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Tebow didn't play at all - revealing after the game that he has two broken ribs - and stood on the sideline with a cap on throughout despite the occasional chants for him to get some snaps.

It looked as though this one might be a close as both teams missed opportunities to score in the opening quarter, including Stephen Gostkowski going wide left on a 39-yard field goal attempt for New England. The Jets were hoping to boost their playoff hopes and keep some momentum going after a 27-13 victory at St. Louis on Sunday that snapped a three-game skid.

The Patriots had other plans, sweeping their AFC East rivals for the second straight season.

``We did a good job,'' Vereen said, ``of putting the hammer down when they were down.''

NOTES: Edelman left the game early in the third quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by LaRon Landry on an end-around during which he fumbled. Belichick would say only ``we'll see,'' when asked about the injury. ... Jets WR Clyde Gates also left with a head injury in the second quarter after a hard hit from Kyle Arrington. ... Jets WR Chaz Schilens didn't speak to the media after the game, saying he had also suffered a head injury. ... Ridley was called for a chop block in the end zone midway through the third quarter, giving the Jets a safety.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Redskins have safety needs but little cash, putting Clinton-Dix in precarious situation

Redskins have safety needs but little cash, putting Clinton-Dix in precarious situation

When the Redskins traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in October, the safety position looked to be a great strength for Washington. 

The team already had D.J. Swearinger, who was playing at a Pro Bowl level, and adding Clinton-Dix was supposed to make the Redskins defense one of the elite units in the NFL

That plan didn’t work. 

Clinton-Dix never performed at a high level in Washington, and frankly probably underperformed on the relative cheap fourth-round pick price the Redskins paid to acquire him. 

In nine games with Washington, Clinton-Dix registered 66 tackles and recovered one fumble. And while it wasn't entirely on him, Clinton-Dix's arrival coincided with the Redskins defensive demise. 

Now, it's free agency time for Clinton-Dix.

Pro Football Focus rated Clinton-Dix as the 32nd best safety in the NFL, and he will be one of the bigger names on the open market. What will the money look like?

It's hard to answer because 2018 wasn't an impressive season. Clinton-Dix struggled enough in tackling that Green Bay decided to trade him, and those struggles continued in Washington. 

The Redskins have a lot of needs this offseason, and safety is one of them. 

Swearinger is gone, and the depth chart features Montae Nicholson, Troy Apke and Deshazor Everett. Nicholson finished his season suspended after being arrested for assault and Apke finished his season on IR. Everett has made plays when he gets chances on the field, but for whatever reason, he rarely gets chances.

Washington doesn't have a lot to spend in free agency, as the Alex Smith contract will eat up a lot of their cap space. 

There definitely isn't room for a high-value contract for Clinton-Dix. 

There might not be room for a low dollar contract for Clinton-Dix based on his 2018 level of play, but the position is a need. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

Owner Ted Leonsis says the Wizards' best course is not to tank this season. Is he right?

Owner Ted Leonsis says the Wizards' best course is not to tank this season. Is he right?

Shortly before his team took on the New York Knicks in a global showcase game in London, England on Thursday, Washington Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis addressed reporters and dropped a line that created a swift and strong reaction on social media.

When discussing the state of his team, Leonsis said in no uncertain terms that the goal this season is to make the playoffs. He has no interest in looking towards the draft lottery, despite the desires of some fans who have visions of Zion Williamson throwing down lobs from John Wall.

"We will never, ever tank," Leonsis told reporters.

That quote seems like one that will be revisited periodically in the next several years. But, like all quotes, it requires some context. 

What Leonsis went on to explain is that his franchise is not in a position to lose on purpose. They have too much talent, even with injuries to Wall, Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris, to pack it in and look towards next year. They also have too much money committed with what currently ranks as the seventh-highest payroll in basketball. They already went through a rebuild, he said, and it's not time yet to go through another one.

As Leonsis told NBC Sports Washington in September, there are "no excuses" for falling short this season.

In many ways, what he said in London was not surprising at all. The Wizards have been in win-now mode for several years. Anyone paying attention to their personnel moves should understand that.

Take the trade for Trevor Ariza in December, for instance. Though some speculated that was about trading for a guy who could be dealt elsewhere months later, that was never the Wizards' intention, according to people familiar with their plans. Getting Ariza was about improving the defense and retooling their locker room culture. It was about making the playoffs this spring.

Leonsis' comments should make the Wizards' plans for the Feb. 7 trade deadline a bit easier to ascertain. The goal to make the playoffs doesn't necessarily mean they will be buyers, but it strongly suggests they won't be sellers. They are only two games out of a playoff spot in the still-pedestrian Eastern Conference with 37 games left to play. After winning six of nine, the playoffs are a realistic goal.

That still won't assuage the Wizards fans out there pining for them to make the long-term play, of course. And there is an argument to be made that their future would be better off if they take a step back this season to take two steps forward the next. If they tanked and got a top draft pick, it could help them immensely down the road if that player becomes another franchise cornerstone.

But, as Leonsis argues, gunning for top draft picks can be unpredictable. People often cite the Sixers as a tanking success story, and their future does appear to be bright. 

But the Sixers are an exception to the rule, as tanking is by no means a fool-proof strategy, even in long-term rebuilds. Teams go years and years without luck in the draft. Just look at the Sacramento Kings.

Or, you could look at the Wizards, one of the least successful franchises in the NBA historically. Only five NBA teams have a worse winning percentage all-time than the Wizards, who have been around for 58 years. They haven't won 50 games or reached the conference finals since the 1970s.

If the Wizards were to make the playoffs this season, that would be five times in six years, arguably their best stretch of postseason success since the 70s. Consider the fact they made the playoffs just once from 1988 to 2004.

Sure, the Wizards should set their sights higher than losing in the first or second round, but there is something to be said about stability for a team that hasn't really had it since the Carter administration. And there is also something to be said about trying to build on what they have, rather than tearing it down and starting over.

It's not easy to go from middle of the road to great, but other teams have done it. In fact, most of the top teams in today's NBA didn't get there by tanking. 

The Rockets made trades for James Harden and Chris Paul and drafted Clint Capela 25th overall. The Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry and took Pascal Siakam with the 27th pick.

The Bucks got Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton in trades and Malcolm Brogdon with a second round selection. The Nuggets drafted Nikola Jokic in the second round and got Gary Harris with a trade for the 19th pick.

The Warriors, though they had some lean years before their meteoric rise, basically built their team without any really high draft picks. They took Stephen Curry seventh, but also got Klay Thompson 11th and Draymond Green in the second round.

What Leonsis hopes to happen is a parallel to his Washington Capitals of the NHL. When it appeared they had hit a wall, some minor changes helped them break through to win a Stanley Cup in 2018.

The NBA is different, and the Wizards aren't a few small tweaks from toppling the Warriors, but perhaps Leonsis' patience will pay off. Maybe the Wizards will get a healthy version of Wall back, and the ascension of Beal and Porter will lead to them winning 50 games or going to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1979.

There are fans out there who want dramatic changes. They want more than a first round playoff exit. Leonsis, of course, does as well, but he believes staying the course is the best path forward to getting there. Only time will tell if he's right.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: