FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Leon Washington scored on a 92-yard kickoff return and a 7-yard touchdown pass, and Jerricho Cotchery followed an acrobatic catch with a TD reception to help the New York Jets open a 24-13 halftime lead over New England on Thursday night with first place in the AFC East at stake.
n Gostkowski's second field goal, then Washington took the ensuing kickoff on the right side, cut through the middle of the field and around the kicker and outran the rest of the coverage team to the goal line.
The Jets went 87 yards in five plays on their next drive to make it 24-6, with Brett Favre hitting Cotchery three times for 79 yards. The two hooked up for 18 yards from the New York 13, and after Thomas Jones ran for 7 yards, Favre heaved one down the left sideline in Cotchery's direction.
Turned around by the pass and tugged at by cornerback Ellis Hobbs, Cotchery made a one-handed grab as his back hit the turf. The 46-yard gain brought the Jets to the New England 16, and one play later Favre found Cotchery in the middle and he fought through the defense to reach over the goal line with the ball.
The Patriots finally found the end zone when Matt Cassel connected with Jabar Gaffney for a 19-yard score that made it 24-13 just before halftime.
The Jets kept their opening drive alive when Favre connected with Laveranues Coles on the right sideline on a third-and-6 from the Patriots' 45 yard-line; the on-field ruling of out of bounds was overturned on replay, and the Jets got a first down at the New England 37.
end zone went through Dustin Keller's hands and they settled for Jay Feely's 22-yard field goal that made it 10-3.
The Patriots and Jets had matching 6-3 records that left them atop the division, but New York is hoping this is its year to break through. New England has won five straight AFC East titles and six of seven while picking up four conference championships and three Super Bowl victories.
Favre has helped the Jets win their last three games and five of six while leading the AFC in completion percentage. Cassel, the former backup to Tom Brady, has led the Patriots wins in three of their last four.
The rivalry between New York and New England has spiked over the last decade, with Bill Belichick leaving the Jets for the Patriots and Bill Parcells and Eric Mangini going in the opposite direction. Last year, the Patriots were punished by the league after they were caught illegally videotaping the Jets' sideline signals.
Adding to this week's intrigue was the Jet's signing of cornerback Ty Law, a Patriot from 1995-2004.

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