New England was helped by a questionable neutral-zone infraction by Muhammad Wilkerson on third-and-4 from the Jets 49, and a facemask penalty on Ellis Lankster on second-and-10 from the 32 that gave the Patriots the ball at the 9.
The Jets made another costly mistake on their next possession when Shonn Greene fumbled on fourth-and-inches from the Patriots 31 and Gregory recovered.
Brady threw a swing pass on first down to Vereen, who zipped down the left sideline untouched for an 83-yard touchdown that made it 14-0 with 9:43 remaining in the opening half.
The Patriots were back in the end zone moments later when Sanchez fumbled on second down as he fell when right guard Brandon Moore’s backside slammed into him. Gregory picked up the ball and ran it 32 yards for a score to put New England up 21-0.
And, the Patriots weren’t done.
Joe McKnight, one of the league’s top returners, fumbled the ensuing kickoff on a hit by Devin McCourty. Edelman grabbed the ball out of the air and scooted 22 yards for yet another score.
‘‘That was quick,’’ Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. ‘‘They were some of the quickest scores I've ever seen on any level. As a defense, that’s a good sign, when we’re putting good pressure on the ball. It then means something when the offense capitalizes on the mistakes we caused.’’
Edelman caught a 56-yard pass from Brady to make it 35-0 with 3:08 left in the first half. The receiver left the game early in the third quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by LaRon Landry on an end-around during which he fumbled. Belichick would say only ‘‘we'll see,’’ when asked about Edelman’s injury.
NOTES: Jets WR Clyde Gates also left with a head injury in the second quarter after a hard hit from Kyle Arrington. ... Ridley was called for a chop block in the end zone midway through the third quarter, giving the Jets a safety. ... Jets players ran out of the tunnel together, and first responders for Superstorm Sandy were introduced as a group before the game. Staten Island’s Filipowicz family served as honorary captains for the Jets. John K. Filipowicz and his son, John C. Filipowicz, were killed in the storm.
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