Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another as the New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets 49-19 on the Thanksgiving holiday, while the Houston Texans beat the Detroit Lions in overtime for their National Football League-best 10th win.
The Patriots forced four first-half turnovers and scored 35 second-quarter points, six shy of the NFL record, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, last night. The NFL’s highest-scoring offense, the Patriots rushed for 152 yards in their fifth straight win, their 17th in the past 23 meetings with New York.
The Jets got their points on a 32-yard field goal from Nick Folk, a safety, and touchdowns from Bilal Powell and Dustin Keller. The Jets’ worst loss since a 34-0 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 30 dropped them to 4-7 this season.
“We’re about as wounded as you can possibly be, but we’re not dead,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said after the game. “I’ll tell you this, we’ll give everything we have, every ounce of energy we have, to get this thing going.”
In the other Thanksgiving game, the Washington Redskins withstood a second-half rally by the Dallas Cowboys for a 38-31 victory, behind four passing touchdowns from rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.
At MetLife Stadium, Brady completed 18 of his 28 passes for 323 yards, and has passed for 15 touchdowns and no interceptions in his past five games. The team has averaged 37 points per game this season, the most in the NFL, and sits four wins clear of the other three teams in the American Football Conference East division at 8-3.
The Patriots opened the scoring with a pair of Brady touchdown passes, the second starting a run of three scores in 52 seconds. New England returned a Mark Sanchez fumble for a touchdown three plays later, and then returned a Joe McKnight fumble on the ensuing kickoff to make it 28-0 with 8 minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the half.
Brady added another passing touchdown to make it 35-0, and scored a rushing and passing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“It was a good team victory,” Brady said in a televised interview after the game. “Makes for a good Thanksgiving.”
Fans chanted “Tebow! Tebow!” after the Patriots took a 21-0 lead, vocalizing desire to see New York backup quarterback Tim Tebow, who was acquired during the offseason and has passed for 39 yards and rushed for 87 this season. The chants were interspersed with jeers for much of the final three quarters.
Sanchez passed for 301 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Ryan said after the game that he expected Sanchez to start Dec. 2 against the Arizona Cardinals and that he expects to be with the team next season.
“You have five games left, let’s see how good we can play, and how good we can coach,” Ryan said. “I can promise you we’re going to keep playing, and I can promise you we’re going to keep coaching.”
In Detroit, Houston’s Shayne Graham kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2:21 left in overtime to give the Texans, who also benefited from a rules technicality, the win at Ford Field. Graham missed a field goal attempt earlier in overtime, while Detroit’s Jason Hanson hit the right upright from 47 yards in the extra period.
The Texans rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit, aided by an 81-yard touchdown run in which Justin Forsett’s forearm and knee appeared to touch down at his own 25-yard line. Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw his challenge flag despite being unable to challenge the play, and under NFL rules, a call is not reviewable after an illegal challenge has been made.
The play would have been reviewed had Schwartz not thrown his flag as all scoring plays are automatically reviewed by replay. The Lions were penalized 15 yards for the coach’s mistake as fans booed for the final 6:35 of the quarter.
“I know that rule, you can’t challenge a turnover or a scoring play, and I overreacted,” Schwartz said after the game. “I had the flag out of my pocket before he even scored the touchdown and that’s all my fault.”
Arian Foster rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns for Houston, which never led until Graham’s field goal. It was the Texans’ second straight overtime win after they beat Jacksonville 43-37 four days ago and makes them the first team in the NFL to reach 10 wins.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns, while Calvin Johnson had eight catches for 140 yards and one score. It was the ninth consecutive Thanksgiving loss for Detroit (4-7), who are now 33-38-2 in a tradition of games on the holiday that dates back to 1934.
In Arlington, Texas, the Redskins scored four second-quarter touchdowns to build a 28-3 lead. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo responded with three second half touchdown throws, including an 11-yard pass to Dez Bryant on fourth down with 8:18 remaining to make it 35-28. Washington’s Kai Forbath kicked a 48-yard field goal to put the game out of reach.
Griffin completed 20 of 28 passes for 311 yards and four scores as the Redskins improved to 5-6, pulling even with Dallas in the National Football Conference East division standings. Romo had a career-high 441 yards passing, and Bryant grabbed eight catches for 145 yards and two scores.