EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 22, 2012

Clutch beats good every time

FOXBORO — Last night your New England Patriots were something we haven’t seen a lot of around here in this 3-and-3 malaise they’ve been wallowing in the past month and half.

They were clutch.

They were something else the other 58 minutes too, as in lousy, disjointed to a man, including the coaches.

The mediocre New York Jets came to Foxboro and were able to “Belichick” the Patriots yesterday — dictate the play of the game — and against the Jets that means dull, uneven and unsure.

Precision, particularly on offense, always seem to go out the window before the first quarter is over when the blabbermouth comes to town.

Ahh, but 58 minutes does not make an NFL game.

And with 2:01 remaining in regulation something clicked — something nonexistent in the three losses this season for New England.

The Jets got the ball on Devin McCourty’s fumble on the Pats’ 15-yard line. They were faced with this predicament: A Jets first down and the game would have been over.

But three plays later, including a 10-yard sack (Dont’a Hightower) and the Jets are on the 25 yard line attempting and making a 43-yard field goal to take a 26-23 lead.

Then Brady got the ball with 1:32 remaining in the game and, well, let’s be honest, doubts had to be creeping in. Brady, who has often been compared to Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera for this exploits at the end of games, looked more like Alfredo Aceves, who had eight blown saves for the Red Sox this past season

Well, something happened to Brady. He completed 5 of 6 passes and the Patriots went from their own 21 to the Jets’ 25 before New York knew what had hit them.

Stephen Gostkowski, another guy with some recent issues at the end of games (see his yank-job at the end of the 20-18 loss to the Cardinals), hit the tying 43-yarder with, at least it seemed, ease, as the clock expired sending the game to overtime.

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