Jets QB Vinny Testaverde looks downfield to WR Laveranues Coles just prior to his 4th quarter TD pass against the Patriots on Monday Night. The score set a NFL record for 19 consecutive seasons with a TD pass. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Despite QB Brooks Bollinger (11-of-19, 100 yards, TD, INT, fumble) and QB Vinny Testaverde (3-of-7, 63 yards, TD) completing touchdown passes to WR Laveranues Coles (5 catches, 71 yards, 2 TD), it was too late as the Jets fell to the New England Patriots, 31-21 on the last Monday Night Football game on ABC. The Jets are 3-12 while the Patriots, who have already wrapped up the AFC East, improve to 10-5.
Ironically, the Jets lost to the Cleveland Browns 31-21 on the first ever Monday Night Football game in 1970.
The Patriots dominated all the statistical categories, out gaining the Jets, 321 yards to 171; 26 first downs to 10; and held the ball for 43:21 to the Jets 16:39.
Patriots QB Tom Brady was efficient completing 18-of-29 passes for 185 yards and two touchdown passes to LB Mike Vrabel who was in as a tight end in goal line situations.
RB Corey Dillon (26 carries, 77 yards) added two touchdowns as well as the Patriots put together scoring drives of 8:03, 7:08, 4:11, 9:24, and 6:37.
“I told our football team that’s what a playoff team looks like,” Jets head coach Edwards said. “That’s the reason they go to the playoffs each year. They got off to a fast start and we couldn’t do anything in the first half…In the second half we tried to bounce back…moved the ball really well…ran back, couldn’t get off the field in third down. They did a great job on third down. We didn’t play good enough at all to beat those guys.”
After the Jets went three-and-out on their first possession, the Patriots pounded the ball against the Jets defense. As been typical of Jets opponents this year, the Patriots offense put together a long drive capped off by a one-yard touchdown play-action pass in the back of the end zone from QB Tom Brady to LB Mike Vrabel who was in as a tight end. The drive went 67 yards in 13 plays and 8:03. The key play was a QB sneak on 4th-and-1 from the Jets 43 for a first down.The Patriots ran the ball 10 times during the drive as they took a 7-0 lead.
On the Jets first play on their next drive, CB Asante Samuel intercepted QB Brooks Bollinger’s pass intended for TE Doug Jolley and ran it back 15 yards to the Jets 34. It appeared Samuel fumbled at the end of the play with the Jets recovering. But the Patriots challenged and the call was reversed setting the Patriots up at the Jets 34.
Two plays later though, CB Ty Law stepped in front of Brady’s pass and ran it back 74 yards down the left sideline. After K Mike Nugent’s extra point, the Jets tied the game at 7 with 4:18 left in the first quarter. “It was just one of those plays that I got a good read and jump on it,” Law said.
The Patriots took back the lead back midway through the second quarter when Brady again found Vrabel in the back of the end zone with 6:05 left. The Jets defense committed two costly penalties on the drive-an offside penalty on DT Lance Legree on a fourth-and-1 play and a 15-yard facemask penalty on DE Dave Ball that moved the ball to the Jets 14. The drive went 61 yards in 11 plays and 7:08.
After the Jets went three-and-out again, the Patriots drove 78 yards in 13 plays and 4:11 ending in a Dillon one-yard touchdown run to the right side. K Adam Vinatieri’s extra point put the Patriots up 21-7 with 37 seconds left in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, CB David Barrett muffed the catch and the Patriots recovered. However, the Patriots were unable to do anything before the half ended.
The Patriots received the ball to begin the second half and again put together a long drive going 74 yards in 15 plays and 9:24 capped off by Dillon’s one-yard touchdown run to put the Patriots up 28-7.
The Jets offense finally got going on their first possession of the second half. On 4th-and-3 from the Patriots 11, Bollinger threw a touchdown to WR Laveranues Coles in the back right corner of the end zone on a fade route. The touchdown capped off a 75 play, 14 play drive that went 6:44.
While the Patriots didn’t come away with a touchdown on their next drive, Vinatieri kicked a 26-yard field goal capping off a 12-play, 48-yard drive that took up 6:37 and put the Patriots up 31-14.
Bollinger fumbled on the Jets next drive and it was recovered by the Patriots Richard Seymour.
Patriots backup QB Doug Flutie fumbled on 4th-and-7 from the Jets 33.
With 3:20 left in the game, Testaverde entered the game in what may have been his last appearance in a Jets uniform. Going against mainly a zone coverage, Testaverde moved the Jets down the field and completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Coles.
”My career’s coming to an end and what better way to go out then have your last pass be a touchdown pass,” Testaverde said.
The Patriots were able to gain a first down on their next drive and kneel to end the game.
Edwards said Bollinger will start next week.
-DE John Abraham racked up a sack of Brady in quarter four, his 52.5 sack of his career. That number ties Abraham for fourth place on the Jets' all-time sack chart with Mo Lewis.
-Law’s 74-yard interception return was the longest of his career.
-Jets RB Derrick Blaylock saw his first action since breaking his foot against Tampa Bay on Oct. 9. He had three carries for 20 yards and one catch for four yards.
-The Jets first 1st down didn’t come till the third quarter.
-The Jets inactives were: RB Terry Butler, S Oliver Celestin, DE Shaun Ellis, LB Jamar Enzor, QB Kliff Kingsbury (3rd QB), DT Dewayne Robertson, T Issac Snell, and WR Harry Williams, Jr.
-Testaverde set a new NFL record with at least one touchdown pass in 19 straight seasons. He had shared the record of 18 straight seasons with Fran Tarkenton and Johnny Unitas.
-LB Jonathan Vilma led the Jets with 17 tackles.
Edwards said DE John Abraham had cramps but returned to the game and CB Ty Law left with his foot sore but should be ok for next week.
The Jets close out the 2005 season next Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest Jets news.