FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns and the New England Patriots beat the New York Jets 30-21 with a vastly improved defense Sunday.
Tom Brady had another strong game, completing 24 of 33 passes for 321 yards and one touchdown as the Patriots scored at least 30 points for the 13th straight regular-season game.
Meanwhile, New York's Mark Sanchez had another tough one, passing for just 166 yards against the team that entered with the NFL's lowest-ranked defense. One week earlier, he threw for only 111 yards in a 34-17 loss at Baltimore.
In the last meeting between the Jets and Patriots, Sanchez outplayed Brady in New York's 28-21 playoff win on Jan. 16, adding to the fierce rivalry between the AFC East teams. But the crowd was unusually subdued throughout the first half Sunday, perhaps because of the lackluster play that included six penalties by each team.
The Patriots (4-1) won their 19th straight regular-season game at home. The Jets (2-3) lost their third straight game.
New England never trailed, scoring the first 10 points and leading 10-7 at halftime.
The Jets staged a comeback after falling behind 27-14, marching 85 yards to a 21-yard scoring pass from Sanchez to Santonio Holmes. Sanchez was 5 for 6 on the drive for 65 yards — more than 40 percent of his total for the game.
But the Patriots came right back, holding the ball for 6:12 and scoring with 1:02 remaining on Stephen Gostkowski's 28-yard field goal, his third of the game.
On the first play of the third quarter, Brady and Wes Welker connected for a 73-yard gain. Three plays later, a wide-open Deion Branch caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Brady on the left side of the end zone.
The Jets struck right back when Joe McKnight returned the kickoff 88 yards one week after scoring on a 107-yard kickoff return in a 34-17 loss at Baltimore. New York needed just three plays to reach the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Jeremy Kerley, cutting the lead to 17-14.
Green-Ellis, who had 27 carries, then scored his second 3-yard touchdown with 1:20 left in the third quarter, and Gostkowski added a 24-yard field goal with 12:57 to go in the game.
The Jets failed to get a first down on their first four possessions, punting on each one. But on their next series, they held the ball for 7:54 and scored on Shonn Greene's 3-yard run, the 13th play of a 78-yard drive, as they cut the lead to 10-7.
The Patriots got the ball with 3:17 left in the half and had a second-and-10 on the Jets 11 with 9 seconds remaining. Brady threw the ball to Aaron Hernandez at the goal line, but the tight end deflected it and Antonio Cromartie caught it behind him, returning the interception 42 yards as time ran out.
It was the first regular-season red-zone interception Brady has thrown at home in his career.
New England had taken a 7-0 lead when Green-Ellis scored on a 3-yard run midway through the first quarter.
It went to 10-0 on a 44-yard field goal by Gostkowski with 11:15 left in the second quarter. The Jets appeared to have the Patriots stopped when Hernandez failed to catch Brady's pass on third-and-5 at the Jets 39, but Kyle Wilson was called for illegal contact, giving the Patriots a first down.