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Rex Ryan sent a message to the fans. His New York Jets delivered one of their own.
Rookie Mark Sanchez outplayed a Super Bowl champion quarterback and the Jets backed up their big talk, shutting down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 16-9 on Sunday.
"We believe that we are the better team today," Ryan said. "We went out and showed it. I think our fans are huge in this victory."
So huge, in fact, that Ryan said he was giving the fans a gameball that would be placed in the team's trophy case.
"I thought they were the difference," Ryan said.
The victory was the first for the Jets (2-0) over Brady at home, and the first over the Patriots (1-1) at the Meadowlands since 2000. And, it came after a week during which Ryan reiterated his offseason comments that he didn't come to "kiss Bill Belichick's rings" and sent a voicemail to season ticket holders, urging them to be loud.
The fans clearly answered the call, causing a tough time for the Patriots' offense all game. Brady was forced into consecutive delay of game penalties in the third quarter.
"I've got to do a better job," Brady said. "They don't come up very often, but when they do, they hurt. And they hurt us today."
Ryan also said the Patriots had the better coach and quarterback coming in.
Hold on, Rex. Don't sell yourself short.
"The big deal is, we're a football team that should be respected," Ryan said. "Sometimes we talk a little bit, but only because we have confidence in our football team."
Earlier in the week, Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said New York wanted to "embarrass" New England.
"Kerry made a statement, we stood behind him and we had his back," defensive end Shaun Ellis said.
Sanchez came out throwing in the second half after a quiet first two quarters and connected with Dustin Keller on a go-ahead touchdown, and the Jets' defense clamped down on the Patriots.
"It's a major win for us," Ellis said. "To close that out and put an end to that, it's great."
Brady had a chance to tie it for the Patriots, getting the ball at the Patriots 10 with 1:48 left, but the Jets' defense stopped him as Dwight Lowery knocked away a pass to Joey Galloway on fourth down.
"Honestly, I was thinking interception," Lowery said, "but the angle I was at, I couldn't really get a pick. Knocking it down was the second thought and I just got it out of there."
Brady was unable to engineer his 30th comeback victory as Sanchez took a knee twice to seal it. Brady had beaten the Jets in 12 of the previous 14 games he had faced them overall.
"We had a chance there," Brady said. "We just didn't execute in that 2-minute possession. It's something we've been good at, but the Jets were better at it today. It's frustrating. I think we had really high expectations for this game. We just didn't put it together very well."
Sanchez finished 14 of 22 for 163 yards and the touchdown to Keller, while Brady was 23 of 47 for 216 yards and an interception. He was without one of his favorite targets as Wes Welker sat out with a knee injury, and Randy Moss was held to four catches for 24 yards.
"We're not really firing on all cylinders right now," Brady said. "To not get the ball in the end zone is unacceptable."
The Patriots got three field goals from Stephen Gostkowski a week after the Jets' defense held the high-scoring Houston Texans without an offensive touchdown in a 24-7 win.
"That's a statement not just to us," cornerback Darrelle Revis said, "but to the league that every week we're going to come out here and try to get a shutout."
Sanchez was 3 of 5 for 15 yards in the first half, but connected with Jerricho Cotchery for a 45-yard gain to the Patriots 11 on the first play of the third quarter. After a 2-yard run by Thomas Jones, Sanchez found Keller in the back of the end zone to give the Jets a 10-9 lead 1:03 into the third quarter.
"We just needed to relax and find our game," Sanchez said. "As soon as we do, we are going to get this thing started and rolling, and that's what we did."
Jay Feely added two field goals to make it 16-9 with 9:48 remaining.
"Give the Jets credit," Belichick said. "They just did a better job than we did today and I don't think there's really a while lot more to say about it."
Gostkowski's 29-yarder with 17 seconds left in the first half gave the Patriots a 9-3 lead. It capped a 14-play, 79-yard drive that almost resulted in a touchdown.
Brady's throw on third-and-3 from the 11 was tipped by Lowery and almost grabbed in the back of the end zone by Moss, who couldn't bring in the ball when was shoved in the back and out of bounds by Jim Leonhard.
This program aired on September 21, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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