EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Stephen Gostkowski kicked a pair of field goals and New England's maligned defense came up with two sacks by Andre Carter to lead the New York Jets 6-0 through one quarter of their AFC East showdown Sunday night.
Jets coach Rex Ryan called the prime-time meeting "a great opportunity." His team did not seize it in the opening 15 minutes.
With Buffalo losing earlier in the day, the winner will have sole possession of the top spot in the AFC East. All three teams entered Sunday at 5-3, with the Jets having won three in a row and the Patriots dropping their past two.
New York also is undefeated at home in four games.
Ignoring their ground-and-pound philosophy, the Jets went to the air on the first series, and completions of 16 and 27 yards to Santonio Holmes helped them get deep in New England territory. But they couldn't score from the 9 and Nick Folk missed a chip-shot 24-yard field goal to the left.
An ominous sign against the Patriots, and Tom Brady went right to work. Completions of 12 yards to Aaron Hernandez, 21 to Rob Gronkowski — Brady loves those tight ends — and 12 to Chad Ochocinco got them in field goal range. Gostkowski did what Folk couldn't, squeezing his 50-yarder just through the uprights for a 3-0 lead.
Ochocinco's catch was his first in a month; his last was against the Jets on Oct. 9 in a Patriots victory.
Sanchez overthrew a wide-open Dustin Keller on the next Jets possession, then was sacked by Carter, forcing a punt and quieting the crowd. The fans were nearly silent when Ochocinco broke free behind star cornerback Darrelle Revis — the Jets appeared confused in their alignment — and gained 53 yards on a throw from Brady.
Again, the Patriots stalled and Gostkowski made it 6-0 with a 36-yarder.
Carter got his second sack on the final play of the first period.
For star power, the Patriots went with Jon Bon Jovi as the team's guest, while the Jets welcomed Donald Trump.