FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Entering the fourth quarter, the Patriots lead the Jets 23-13. Passing along some notes and observations from the third quarter.
1. Jets slow it down, score first. In a methodical opening drive, the Jets marched down the field for a field goal. Perhaps surprisingly, they turned away from their rushing attack on a 3rd & goal play, opting instead for a short slant from quarterback Mark Sanchez to receiver Chaz Schilens. The pass was broken up, and the Jets were forced to settle for three points.
2. Welker earns "big play." The Patriots had been unable to gash the Jets for a "big play" (20 or more yards) until, perhaps ironically, a screen pass caught near the line of scrimmage by Wes Welker went for a big gain. Welker has continued his hot recent play, and recorded a catch for the 101st consecutive game.
3. Offense sustains drive, scores. After a near fumble from Aaron Hernandez, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady found tight end Rob Gronkowski from a yard out to take a 23-13 lead. The drive spanned 83-yards over 15 plays, and lasted nearly seven minutes on the game clock. That's a strong opening statement.
4. Rookie DE Jones keeps pressure up, draws hold. On a play in which Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez appeared to scramble for a first down, top draft choice Chandler Jones drew a holding penalty to negate the play. He continues to flash as an exciting edge rusher.
5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were called for a penalty in the third quarter: tight end Aaron Hernandez (false start).