FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — After New England held off the struggling New York Jets, usually reserved Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised two of his players who have dealt with some tough times.
Chris Jones blocked Nick Folk’s 58-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the Patriots’ 27-25 win over the Jets on Oct. 16.
This time, the defensive tackle didn’t commit a penalty as he did last season on Folk’s failed 56-yard try in overtime that gave the kicker another chance — a 42-yarder that gave the Jets a 30-27 win.
“It was so fitting that he made that play” on Oct. 16, Belichick said. “That was awesome.”
Danny Amendola hasn’t lived up to the $28.5 million, five-year contract he signed before last season but caught a 19-yard touchdown pass — just his fifth reception this season — that gave the Patriots a 27-19 lead.
“Nobody works harder than Danny,” Belichick said. “He’s a really competitive kid, tough.”
That the outcome wasn’t decided until the final play was a surprise.
The Jets hadn’t won since their opener and Geno Smith was last in passer rating in the NFL. But he completed 20 of 34 passes for 226 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
“We can take a lot of positives from this,” New York wide receiver Eric Decker said, “but at this point we need a win, period.”
The Jets (1-6) dropped their sixth straight game, the longest losing streak in Rex Ryan’s six years as coach.
“We’re not going to sit here and sulk about losing the games because that’s going to make things worse,” Smith said.
The Patriots (5-2) have a 1 1/2-game lead in the AFC East over Buffalo.
“We started off the year 0-1 so 5-1 since is not bad,” said Tom Brady, who threw three touchdown passes and has nine with no interceptions in his last three games. “Hopefully, we can be a lot better.”
(HOWARD ULMAN, AP Sports Writer)