Tom Brady and Rex Ryan cross paths

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Observed and heard in the locker room and news conference room after the New England Patriots' 17-16 victory over the New York Jets:

  • A chance encounter for Brady and Ryan. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was walking across the hallway from the team's locker room to the area where news conferences are held, answering questions from a reporter, when he coincidentally crossed paths with Jets coach Rex Ryan as Ryan was exiting the stadium. Brady extended his hand and Ryan extended his, the two sharing an ever-so-quick exchange as they went their opposite directions. For those who saw the behind-the-scenes encounter, it had the look of mutual respect. Minutes earlier in his news conference, Ryan said, "We're the team that always gives him the biggest challenge, whether he admits it or not."

  • Brady's Christmas isn't ruined. Brady lamented the team's inability to put together a 60-minute game, but he was still smiling at game's end. "I'm glad it came out the way that it did; it makes for a better Christmas," he said. "Sometimes you have to grind them out."

  • Offensive line struggles. This wasn't a great game for the Patriots' offensive line. While players said it was hard to judge the struggles without reviewing the video, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer offered this: "From the past, I feel like they always have good schemes against us. They know us well. And those are good players on that side. They are hard to block." Along those lines, Ryan, the Jets' coach, said: "We thought our defensive line was a huge advantage for us going into the game."

  • Different look on third-down sack. One of the critical defensive plays of the game came on Dont'a Hightower's sack on third-and-4 with 6:08 remaining, which was the play right before Vince Wilfork tipped Nick Folk's 52-yard field-goal attempt. The sack cost the Jets 10 yards, and Bill Belichick credited defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. "That was a look we hadn't run all game; I thought Matt made a great call in that situation," Belichick said. "The sack made it a much tougher field goal. It looked like they were going to punt it there with the timeout. It looked like they [then] changed their mind and kicked it, but I think those yards had a lot to do with their strategy and the changes there in the end helped us a little bit -- forced a bit of a lower [kick], lower trajectory. That was a big play."