Patriots hang on for sloppy win over Jets
Both teams struggle offensively
One picture-perfect pass started the New England Patriots toward an ugly win.
Tom Brady threw a 39-yard touchdown to a wide-open Aaron Dobson on the game's first series before both offences played as sloppily as the second-half weather, and the Patriots got by the New York Jets 13-10 on Thursday night.
Brady had trouble connecting with his rookie-filled receiving corps, while Jets rookie Geno Smith was sacked four times when he took too much time to find someone to throw to.
The Patriots (2-0) managed just nine first downs after leading the NFL in points and yards last season.
The Jets (1-1) cut the lead to 13-10 on Bilal Powell's 3-yard touchdown run with 5:05 left in the third quarter. But Smith threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, two to Aqib Talib and one to Alfonzo Dennard. Talib's second with 38 seconds left sealed the victory.
With wide receiver Danny Amendola, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Shane Vereen all sidelined, Brady was without three of his top offensive players. He was left with just two tight ends and four wide receivers, three of them rookies.
"We have a long way to go," Brady said. "No one is coming to (our) rescue and save the day, so we've just got to fight through it."
In the second half, the teams had to deal with a torrential downpour that started at intermission.
On the 17 possessions in the first half, there were 11 punts, a lost fumble, one missed field goal, three field goals and a touchdown.
The officials didn't have a very good half, either, with one touchdown by each team and a lost fumble by New England's Julian Edelman being overturned by video review.
The only touchdown of the half came on the first series when Brady hit Dobson down the right side. It was the first reception for the second-round draft choice, who missed the opening 23-21 win over the Buffalo Bills with a hamstring injury.
"We were being pretty aggressive there in a short-yardage situation and (Dobson) slid behind him and I just gave it to him. He did all the work," Brady said. "I'm glad we got on the board early and got a lead. Playing ahead is always important, especially when you get (bad) weather conditions."
It marked the 50th straight game in which Brady has thrown a touchdown pass. Drew Brees, whose streak has ended, holds the NFL record of 54.
Stephen Gostkowski's 21-yard field goal made it 10-0 before Nick Folk kicked a 37-yarder for the Jets after Smith's 9-yard pass to Clyde Gates, originally ruled a touchdown, was changed to an incompletion after the replay.
Patriots rookie Ryan Allen tied two team records he'd prefer not to have — 11 punts for 514 yards. That's two more punts than the team's total first downs.
Brady completed 19 of 39 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown. Smith was 15 of 35 for 214 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
"Geno had his (good) moments," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "I don't know how many balls we dropped today, but it was a bunch."
With the rookie wide receivers still learning the offence, Brady relied on veteran Julian Edelman, who caught a career-high 13 passes one week after catching seven for two touchdowns.
The Jets won their opener 18-17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Folk's field goal with two seconds to go.
The win was the Patriots' 12th straight against an AFC opponent and fifth in a row against the Jets.