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Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and became the NFL’s career leader in total yards passing in regular-season and playoff games, leading the New England Patriots to a 27-13 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
Brady also reached 3,000 yards passing for the 16th straight season, tying Peyton Manning for second in NFL history behind Brett Favre’s 18. The New England quarterback surpassed the mark early in the fourth quarter with a 17-yard completion to a diving Josh Gordon.
Brady has 79,416 yards after going 20 of 31 for 283 yards in the victory that clinched the Patriots (8-3) their 18th straight season with a .500 record or better. That ranks second in NFL history to only Dallas, which had 21 in a row from 1965-85.
Brady had just one TD throw in his previous three games, but connected with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman against the AFC East-rival Jets (3-8). Rookie Sony Michel ran for a season-best 133 yards and a TD, and the Patriots had 216 yards rushing to improve to 3-3 on the road this season.
Coming off a 34-10 loss to Tennessee two weeks ago, the Patriots avoided their second two-game losing streak of the season — something the franchise hasn’t experienced since 2015. New England has won five straight in the series against New York and eight of the past nine.
With Jets rookie Sam Darnold out with a foot strain, 39-year-old backup Josh McCown got his second straight start — making this game the NFL’s second-oldest QB combo at 80 years, 258 days with 41-year-old Brady going for New England. Only Carolina’s Vinny Testaverde (44) and Green Bay’s Brett Favre (38) in 2007 are an older combination at 82 years, 44 days old.
Brady got the better of McCown in this one, though, even though it took until late in the second half for the Patriots to pull away.
Brady connected with Edelman for a 21-yard touchdown that put the Patriots ahead 20-13 with 1:52 left in the third quarter. The drive opened with a 27-yard reception by Chris Hogan, followed by a 27-yard run by James White. After White was stopped for no gain, Brady found a wide-open Edelman, who ran through a tackle attempt by Jamal Adams and got into the end zone.
Michel added a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:54 left, one play after a video review reversed his TD run because it was ruled his right knee was down before he reached the goal line. The score put the Patriots up 27-13 and sent many Jets fans streaming toward the exits.
McCown was 26 of 45 for 276 yards and a touchdown to Jermaine Kearse with one interception for the Jets, who have lost five straight for the first time since the 2014 season.
The Jets took a 7-0 lead with 4:02 left in the opening quarter on McCown’s 16-yard pass to Kearse, who made a nice move on Patriots defensive back Jonathan Jones before zipping into the end zone. It was the first touchdown of the season for both McCown and Kearse.
The score was set up when Adams knocked away a pass to Gronkowski on third-and-10 that would have been a first down. McCown then marched the Jets down the field on a drive that was helped by 19-yard catches by Chris Herndon and Isaiah Crowell, and a roughing-the-passer call on Deatrich Wise Jr. on a third-down play.
But the Patriots came right back to tie it on their next possession, capped by Brady’s 34-yard pass to Gronkowski with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter.
White was called for offensive pass interference on third-and-2 from the Jets 24, and coach Todd Bowles took the penalty rather than the down. So, on third-and-12, Brady fired a strike to Gronkowski, who made the grab and looked plenty healthy after missing the past two games with back and ankle issues.
Stephen Gostkowski’s 34-yard field goal with 2:27 left in the first half put the Patriots up 10-7.
New York’s Jason Myers tied it at 10 with 3 seconds remaining in the opening half, making a 55-yarder — and setting an NFL record with five field goals of 55 yards or longer in one season. He also tied the team’s home record for longest field goal for the fourth time this season.
After a 32-yarder by Gostkowski to open the second half, Myers’ 38-yarder tied it again for the Jets at 13 late in the third quarter.
The previous five games between the teams at MetLife Stadium had all been decided by seven points or less — including a 26-20 overtime win by the Jets in coach Todd Bowles’ first season.
Gronkowski finished with three catches for 56 yards and the score, his first since Week 1 against Houston.
Next Sunday, the Patriots will be playing the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
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