New England 44, NY Jets 7

Sept. 15, 2002 at 9:22 PM
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Tom Brady passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns and Victor Green returned an interception 90 yards for a score Sunday to lead the New England Patriots to a 44-7 whipping of the New York Jets.

The defensive schemes of New England Coach Bill Belichick shut down the Jets, who had 32 yards rushing and 189 passing. New York punter Matt Turk was New York's leading rusher, picking up 14 yards on a fake.

New York's Curtis Martin attempted to play with a sprained left ankle, but carried the ball just four times for five yards against his former team.

"Whether I touch the ball once, or 1,000 times, we should not have played the way we did today," said Martin, who had 833 rushing yards in his previous eight games against the Patriots. "New England came in and showed why they're the champs today. But we're a whole lot better than we played today."

New England's defense produced two touchdowns as safety Tebucky Jones jarred the ball loose from Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde and returned the fumble 24 yards for a score 1:25 into the third quarter to increase New England's lead to 17-0.

"I was disguising it. When I came down, I didn't even look to my side and I knew I had him," Jones said. "I'm faster than him (Testaverde). I didn't know where it (the ball) was at first, then I saw it and just ran."

Green, who refused to take a paycut and was waived by the Jets in the offseason, exacted some revenge when he cut in front of running back Richie Anderson at the New England 10, picked off a pass by Testaverde and raced down the right sideline for his touchdown with 2:44 left in the third quarter, opening a 27-0 lead.

"If you disguise the coverage on any QB, he's gonna be confused," Green said. "He (Anderson) ran an out. I had leverage on him and was able to make the play. I just did my part to help us win."

During the week, Green expressed bitterness towards the Jets for his release, saying he was "insulted" by the team's request to take a substantial cut of more than $1 million. A Jet from 1993-2001, Green ranked third in club history with 24 interceptions.

His first with the Patriots may have been the sweetest of them all for Green, who raised his arms in the air at the New York 10 before reaching the end zone.

Five of the last six meetings between the AFC East rivals were decided by seven points or less. But this was anything but competitive as the Patriots outgained the Jets, 432 yards to 200, and controlled the ball for more than 38 minutes.

The Pats also held the Jets to one first down in the first half and nine for the game. The Jets were one for 12 in third down conversions.

Belichick, the former Jets defensive coordinator, spurned the Jets' coaching job when Bill Parcells retired after the 1999 season and took over in New England. He was 0-3 against the Jets before a 17-16 win here last December became the second of nine straight wins for the Patriots en route to a Super Bowl triumph.

The Pats have extended that streak to 11, picking up where they left off with Brady's precision passing and Belichick's confusing defensive packages.

Brady completed 25 of 35 passes, connecting with tight end Cam Cleeland on a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter and rookie Deion Branch on a 49-yard scoring play in the fourth. Last Monday, the Super Bowl XXXVI MVP threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-14 win over Pittsburgh.

"As long as we win, no one cares who gets the credit," Brady said. "Everytime we go out, we feel we've got to prove it. We earned respect last year, and if we didn't, I guess people are too stupid to realize it."

Troy Brown caught nine passes for 94 yards -- all in the first half. He has 31 receptions in his last five games against New York.

"We just go out and play the game. The only message we sent today is we're 2-0," Brown said. "We're 2-0, that's all it says."

Adam Vinatieri, who kicked the game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired in Super Bowl XXXVI, converted all three of his field goal attempts for the second straight week.

The Jets scored their lone touchdown -- an 11-yard pass from Testaverde to tight end Anthony Becht -- with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.

Testaverde was 15-of-23 for 150 yards before being replaced by Chad Pennington early in the fourth quarter. Pennington went three for 10 for 39 yards.

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