(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) — The New England Patriots have had trouble closing games all season. On Sunday, they finally finished a close one.
The Patriots tied the game at the end of regulation and forced a New York Jets turnover in overtime and moved in to first place in the AFC East with a 26-23 victory at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
The Jets (3-4) looked like they were going to pull off an improbable comeback when kicker Nick Folk hit a 43-yard field goal with 1:37 left to go in the fourth quarter after the Patriots fumbled a kickoff that set the Jets up in great field position. The Jets had trailed by 10 points with less than six minutes to play before forging all the way back.
However, New England (4-3) quarterback Tom Brady marched the Patriots down the field in time to set up kicker Stephen Gostkowski up for a 43-yarder that tied the game as time expired.
In overtime, the Patriots won the coin toss and were able to get down the field and have Gostkowski hit another field goal from 48 yards away to get New England the lead. The game ended when Rob Ninkovich forced a Mark Sanchez fumble to seal the win and sole possesion of first place in the AFC East for the Pats.
“The whole time I’m thinking, ‘Hey, this can’t happen again. We’ve just got to fight all four quarters, hold them to a field goal at the end,’ ” Ninkovich said.
Brady threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, while Sanchez tossed for 328 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
“We made too many mistakes but we had our opportunities,” New York coach Rex Ryan said. “It just stinks being on this end of it.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Jill Martin, CNN