Sunday, September 27, 2009
Early AFC East games competitive at half
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Both early AFC East games are tight through two quarters.
In a pair of games that will prove educational, the New England Patriots are ahead of the Atlanta Falcons by a field goal, while the New York Jets are ahead of the Tennessee Titans by four after taking a two-touchdown lead in the opening minutes.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady isn't having as good of a game as Matt Ryan, who's playing in the area for the first time since leaving Boston College.
Brady hasn't utilized Wes Welker proxy Julian Edelman like last week and is 10 of 18 for 87 yards. Brady twice tried to go long distance to Randy Moss but couldn't connect even though Moss had gotten behind the secondary.
Ryan is 11 of 16 for 135 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.
But the Patriots have gotten their running game ignited compared to the first two weeks. Fred Taylor has seven carries for 54 yards and his first Patriots touchdown. That's already the best game by a Patriots back this year -- seven more yards than Taylor's team-high total in last week's loss to the Jets and 22 yards more than Laurence Maroney's team-high output in the season opener.
The Jets exploded to a 14-0 lead with a great effort by Mark Sanchez for his first NFL rushing touchdown and converted a fumble on the ensuing kickoff into another score, this time a Sanchez toss to tight end Ben Hartsock.