The New England Patriots and New York Jets gave us a back-and-forth thriller Thursday night, in a game featuring five lead changes and neither team leading by more than one possession. In the end, the Patriots held on for a hard-fought 27-25 victory, as Danny Amendola’s 19-yard touchdown reception sealed the deal.
“It was a great play by Tom,” Amendola said of Brady on Ferrall on the Bench. “He got out of the pocket and gave us a chance to extend the play and get open. It’s a drill we work on every week. It was a good chance to get in the end zone. It worked out. Tom just made a great play. We’re all glad we got the score on that play.”
That was Amendola’s only catch of the night, but the did have 105 kick return yards.
“That’s a testament to how hard these guys work and block out there,” Amendola said. “It was fun to get out there again. I haven’t done it in a couple years. Getting back out there was really fun.”
The Patriots grabbed a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game on a 49-yard touchdown reception by Shane Vereen.
“Huge catch on the first drive,” Amendola said. “Shane creates a lot of mismatches, and it’s good to see him get in the end zone with a diving catch.”
Vereen added a 3-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter and finished with game-highs in catches (five) and receiving yards (71). He also carried 11 times for 43 yards. Brady finished a robust 20-of-37 for 261 yards and three scores.
The defense, meanwhile, limited New York to four first-half field goals and prevented the Jets from tying the game on a two-point conversion with 2:31 remaining. Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins both finished with 13 tackles, and the Patriots sacked Geno Smith three times.
“Huge game by those guys,” Vereen said. “Those guys are beasts. We’re excited to come up with the win, and those guys played great.”
The Patriots (5-2) have now won three straight games since getting embarrassed by Kansas City, 41-14, on Monday Night Football last month. They’ve beaten the Bengals, Bills and Jets and seem to have turned things around. They seem like a different team.
“Absolutely,” Amendola said. “We’re going to keep working hard and try to win every time we get on the field.”
The Patriots have two huge home games upcoming before the bye, as they take on Chicago (3-3) on Oct. 26 and Denver (4-1) on Nov. 2. While Brady-versus-Manning is always must-see TV, Amendola knows New England will have its hands full with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte.
“Bears are a quality team,” Amendola said. “We’ve got a tough week ahead of us of preparation. We’re excited to play them.”