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Jets' win is special for Mangini



FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Pick a reason, any reason. There were plenty why the Jets wanted to beat the Patriots yesterday.

It marked first-year coach Eric Mangini's return to New England and a chance to show up former boss Bill Belichick, who had spent the week, in the estimation of Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles, belittling his former assistant. Plus, Belichick's Patriots owned a seven-game winning streak over the Jets.

And an eighth straight win would have all but locked up a fourth straight AFC East division title for New England.

So when Shaun Ellis sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the game's final play to finally clinch a 17-14 win at Gillette Stadium, it gave the Jets their most satisfying win of the season.

"I'll just say, 'Whoo,' " said Jets linebacker Matt Chatham, a member of the Patriots from 2000-05. "It's unbelievable. You don't want to overstate the 'whoo' or overemphasize the 'whoo,' because we've got a lot of season left. But it's a pretty emphatic 'whoo.' I'm pretty excited."

That's because the Jets, coupling a newly aggressive, blitzing defense with Kevan Barlow's season-high 75 rushing yards, played their most complete game of the season.

"Eric has his reasons, I have my reasons, and we have ours as a team," said quarterback Chad Pennington, who completed 22 of 33 for 168 yards, including an interception and a 22-yard touchdown to Jerricho Cotchery that gave the Jets a 17-6 lead with 4:45 left in the game.

"The bottom line is you have to eventually stand up and say, 'Look, we have to win one of these games.' Hats off to our coaching staff for setting the mind-set and the tone."

The Jets (5-4) beat the Patriots (6-3) for the first time since Dec. 22, 2002 - which was also the last time New England had lost back-to-back games. Following last week's 27-20 loss to the Colts, it snapped a 57-game streak in which the Patriots had not suffered consecutive defeats, three games shy of the league record.

"We are 6-3 and, I mean, it's not a terrible record," said Brady, who completed 25 of 37 passes for 255 yards. "It's not where we would like to be, but we are still ahead in the division."

Still, yesterday's loss marked the first time the Patriots have dropped two straight home games since 1993.

"It leaves a bitter taste in everybody's mouth," said Belichick, whose team played without injured safeties Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson and defensive end Ty Warren, who missed the first game of his four-year career.

Belichick barely acknowledged Mangini during the postgame handshake, and spun away as Mangini tried to say something.

"He wouldn't want me saying this but, yeah, you kind of want it a little bit extra for Coach," said Coles, who caught five passes for 29 yards while Cotchery had six receptions for 70 yards. "I think the guys are saying that Belichick referred to him as 'the other guy.' Any time you come out and disrespect our coach, of course guys are going to step up and try to play a little harder for him. Me, personally, I wanted this win for him."

"I have a lot of great memories of being here, and I'd like to add this memory to it," Mangini said.

What should be committed to all of the Jets' memory banks is the way they played defense. Just like in the last quarter and a half of the 20-13 loss at Cleveland prior to last week's bye, the Jets used multiple blitz packages.

They left Brady sacked four times, hit six other times and, until the final minutes, disrupted his normally flawless rhythm.

"It's either going to go real good for you or real bad," Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma said. "We felt we were going to be out there executing well, and if we were executing well, we'd at least keep the game close."

The Jets appeared to have the game clinched after Cotchery's touchdown, but Brady led the Patriots on a lightning four-play drive, starting with a 33-yard pass to Jabar Gaffney to the Jets 28-yard line as the son of former Jets receiver Derrick Gaffney beat rookie cornerback Drew Coleman down the sideline. Just 31 seconds after Cotchery had scored, Brady, who was intercepted once, threw a 15-yard touchdown to Reche Caldwell on a pass tipped by safety Kerry Rhodes.

Then after a 2-point conversion, Brady, taking possession on the New England 11 with 1:08 to play, got the ball to the Jets 46 with a 19-yard pass to Caldwell, who caught a game-high nine for 90 yards to lead nine Patriots receivers.

But Ellis got through to Brady on the final play, and the Jets finally celebrated.

"I was very, very sick, very sick (of losing)," said Ellis, who along with Pennington, linebacker Bryan Thomas and tight ends Chris Baker and James Dearth are the only Jets to be with the team through the entire seven-game losing streak. "It just feels good to finally beat them."

No further reason needed.

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Barlow puts mud in Patriots' eyes



(Original publication: November 13, 2006)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - As the other Jets worked in groups with their position coaches during Thursday's practice, Kevan Barlow worked one-on-one with running-backs coach Jimmy Raye. The pair reviewed handoffs, blocking techniques, swing passes - essentially everything necessary in a single-back set.

Barlow, the former 49er, has spent many such sessions with Raye, be it on the field or in a classroom at 6:45 a.m.

Finally, yesterday, at soggy Gillette Stadium, Barlow saw some rewards for his hard work, rushing for a season-high 75 yards and a touchdown on a season-high 17 carries to provide the Jets with the ball-control attack necessary in the 17-14 win over the Patriots.

"Me and J-Raye, we always work like that," said Barlow, who has 101 carries for 327 yards and six touchdowns this season. "I think it took awhile for me to get accustomed to the team and the offense, and coach Jimmy Raye and me have been putting in the extra time before practice and after practice. He's helping me get myself together, and it paid off a little bit today."

The Jets opened the game passing on eight of their first 10 plays. But after Chad Pennington was intercepted by safety Artrell Hawkins and the Jets promptly regained possession when rookie cornerback Drew Coleman forced a fumble from wide receiver Doug Gabriel that safety Kerry Rhodes recovered at the Jets 19-yard line, they went to the run.

On the ensuing 16-play drive that took 9:12 off the clock, Barlow ran nine times for 42 yards, including the 2-yard touchdown run that made it 7-3 with 4:43 to go in the second quarter.

"Our plan wasn't really complicated," Jets left guard Pete Kendall said. "The fact that the track was a mudder's dream ... the elements sort of lent themselves to a north-south, bigger type of back."

Prior to yesterday, rookie Leon Washington had established himself as the Jets' primary single-back runner, while Barlow was being used inside the tackles as a bruising back for the tough, short-yardage situations. His previous season high was 49 yards in a 31-24 win over the Lions Oct. 22, and he hadn't carried the ball more than 14 times.

Though very careful to say he was not complaining, Barlow has insisted he does not want to be typecast in that role.

"I've always got my vision. I don't think it's something you get one week and lose another week," Barlow said. "I can take some of the credit, but those guys were getting me open and it made my job that much easier."

Actually, Barlow said the team's best preparation for the game came Wednesday, when coach Eric Mangini had the team practice outdoors in a driving, windy rain.

It was actually nastier that day than it was yesterday, when it rained hard just before the game and continued raining early in the game, though without much wind.

"We played this game on Wednesday in practice," Barlow said. "I think we had a slight advantage. I don't know if it rained up here on Wednesday."

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Brady still struggling

Monday, November 13, 2006



FOXBORO - The last gasp from Tom Brady's offense concluded with Russ Hochstein, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound lineman, trying to run about 50 yards with a Brady fumble.

He covered a couple of feet at best and was dropped in a heap.

Brady, who threw four interceptions in last Monday's 27-20 loss to Indianapolis, finished 25 for 37 for 255 yards, one touchdown and another interception in yesterday's 17-14 loss to the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. He was 14 of his first 17, then 11 for his last 20.

The four previous times Brady had thrown four interceptions in a game, he rebounded the following game to play well and lead his team to a double-digit win. In those previous four follow-up games, he had eight touchdowns and no interceptions.

"We're 6-3," Brady said. "It's not a terrible record. It's not where we'd like to be, but we're still ahead in the division. We would like to stay that way."

Of course, it doesn't all fall Brady's way.

"It's a team loss, you can't put it all on him," center Dan Koppen said. "If he doesn't have the time, he can't make plays. That's on us (linemen)."

New England is at Green Bay Sunday before returning home to face Chicago and Detroit. The season ends with three of the final four on the road.

SIDELINED: Safeties Eugene Wilson (hamstring) and Rodney Harrison (shoulder) were out, with Artrell Hawkins and Chad Scott taking their spots. Wilson has missed five of the last six games.

The absences of the safeties drains the depth at cornerback as well. The Patriots played with just four defensive backs often, bringing in seldom-used safety James Sanders when necessary. Scott moved to cornerback in those situations.

Defensive end Ty Warren (shoulder) did not play, with Jarvis Green starting in his place. The defensive linemen were rotated more than usual; defensive end Richard Seymour (shoulder) seemed as if he wished he had played more.

Guard Stephen Neal (shoulder) missed his third straight game, but his backup, Hochstein (knee), did return after missing three games himself. Billy Yates, who has been playing that spot of late, started again and later gave way to Hochstein when injured (leg).

Tight end Daniel Graham (ankle) returned after missing five games.

GABRIEL'S GOOF: Just after an interception by Hawkins early in the second quarter gave New England excellent field position at its 44, Brady hit Reche Caldwell for 10 yards and then Doug Gabriel for 22 yards.

Gabriel fumbled, however, and the Jets recovered. Instead of the Patriots building on a 3-0 lead, the Jets marched 81 yards to take a 7-3 lead.

Gabriel did not play again, and Belichick said he wasn't hurt. Jabar Gaffney benefited with more playing time, finishing with three catches for 65 yards to give him for four for 69 on the season.

EXTRA POINTS: Brady was saved an interception when linebacker Victor Hobson was called for roughing the passer. The penalty also saved the drive, which resulted in a field goal just before the half that cut the lead to 7-6. Referee Pete Morelli said Hobson used the force of his helmet and drove Brady into the ground. He also said it is Hobson's responsibility to know the ball has been released. ... "It was the kind of day when you had to go more north-south," Jets offensive linemen Pete Kendall said when asked why Kevan Barlow played more than the slippery Leon Washington at running back. ... Corey Dillon had 11 carries on 98 yards with the help of a 50-yard run. It was his longest run as a Patriot and his longest since a 67-yarder in 2002. It was also the longest run by a Patriot since a 71-yarder by Sedrick Shaw in 1998. ... The Patriots had 100 yards rushing in the opening quarter, which is 100 more than they had in the second. They finished with 143. ... The Patriots had not lost consecutive games since falling to the Titans and Jets in December of 2002. ... This marked the sixth loss in the 14 home games, including playoffs, since the start of the 2005 season.

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Jets blitz

way to win



FOXBORO - Bob Sutton, the Jets' mild-mannered defensive coordinator, morphed into a modern-day Buddy Ryan yesterday against the Patriots. Sutton turned into the mad blitzer, unleashing an attack-style defense that battered and confused Tom Brady.

With an extra week to prepare, the Jets turned up the heat, employing a variety of pressure schemes in their 17-14 win at Gillette Stadium. They recorded a season-high four sacks and pressured Brady into a fourth-quarter interception by safety Erik Coleman.

Afterward, the Jets applauded Sutton's new approach and took great delight in knowing they had rattled Brady, who began the day with a 9-1 career mark against them.

"His timing was off," said Kerry Rhodes, who had a fumble recovery. "I don't think they expected us to do as much as we did. A couple of times, he was confused, trying to figure out what we were doing."

Said linebacker Jonathan Vilma, "For us to do that and rattle him a little bit, that's pretty good."

Privately, some players had been longing for a more aggressive approach by Sutton, who had employed a bend-but-don't-break philosophy. Eric Mangini said they decided to alter the game plan after encouraging results in practice.

So, instead of sitting back, the Jets used myriad of blitzes. The sent safeties, corners and linebackers. They disguised coverages. They moved players before the snap. In short, they resembled the Patriots, creating chaos.

The Patriots were so concerned with the blitzers that it freed up the linemen. All three starting linemen - Shaun Ellis, Kimo von Oelhoffen and Dewayne Robertson - recorded a sack. Before yesterday, they had only five sacks combined. All told, the Jets hit Brady six times, including two hits by linebacker Bryan Thomas, who also had a sack. On Brady's interception, he was pressured by linebacker Victor Hobson. Brady appeared to be picked off in the second quarter but the play was nullified when Hobson was called for roughing the quarterback.

Brady insisted he wasn't surprised by the blitzing.

"We were expecting pressure all week, and that's what we got," Brady said. "They were bringing it. They weren't afraid to bring it this week. When you make plays against the pressure, it tends to ease off a little bit. But we just didn't make enough plays against it."

The Jets allowed 377 total yards, but 50 came on a first-quarter run by Corey Dillon - the Patriots' longest rush since 1998. Aside from that one breakdown, the Jets' run defense played reasonably well, holding New England to 93 yards on its other 24 carries.

Now the question is, will the Jets continue the attacking style? The players hope - no, expect - to do it a lot more in the future.

"Now that we've proven we can do it," linebacker Matt Chatham said, "expect more of it."

Originally published on November 13, 2006

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Barlow made for mud



Kevan Barlow breaks tackles on way to season-high 75 yards and a touchdown.

FOXBORO - Kevan Barlow is one tough mudder.

Overshadowed by rookie Leon Washington in the first half of the season, Barlow delivered his best performance as a Jet in yesterday's 17-14 win over the Patriots, rushing for a season-high 75 yards and a touchdown.

On the soggy, torn-up field at Gillette Stadium, Barlow was the focal point of the Jets' offense, running 17 times as they played ball control against the Patriots. The sloppy conditions suited Barlow's north-south running style.

"In a sloppy-weather game, it's going to be very physical and you have to have some downhill runs, runs that get you more yards after initial contact," QB Chad Pennington said. "He did a great job of that. You never really saw Kevan get tackled by one defender."

Barlow hadn't been thrilled with his role, but he never complained. Eric Mangini said Barlow, acquired in a preseason trade with the 49ers, made "real improvement" during the bye week.

Said Barlow: "I'm still the same player. I'm still KB."

ROUGH PENATLY: The Jets were victimized by another controversial roughing-the-passer penalty. This time, it happened to LB Victor Hobson - a penalty that nullified an interception by Tom Brady. It was a huge flag because the Patriots went on to score a field goal.

Replays showed that Hobson hit Brady as he was releasing the ball. So why the flag?

"He picked (Brady) up and drove him into the ground, and used the force of his helmet and basically stuffed him into the ground," referee Pete Morelli said. Clearly, Hobson disagreed with the call, but he refused to comment. "I don't want to get into trouble," he said.

LINE WOES: Rookie C Nick Mangold, poked in the eye, left for two plays. Wade Smith came in, but hurt his snapping hand. Unable to grip the ball, he switched positions with LG Pete Kendall, who frantically ripped off his glove as the play clock wound down.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH: The Jets made a concerted effort to spread the ball around on offense. Pennington hit eight different receivers, including six completions to his backs and tight ends. In the previous game, he had been one-dimensional, throwing almost exclusively to the wideouts.

Pennington's most unusual play was a pooch punt out of the shotgun, a 29-yarder that was downed at the Pats' 4. It was the first punt of his career. "Well, we work on that, believe it or not," Pennington said.

NEW ADDITIONS: Several backups saw increased roles on defense, namely NT Rashad Moore, LB Matt Chatham, S Eric Smith and S Rashad Washington, who made his defensive debut. ... DE Kimo von Oelhoffen recorded his first sack as a Jet. ... In the battle of the rookie kickoff returners, Justin Miller (34.3 average) edged Laurence Maroney (29.7). They began the day as the league's co-leaders.

SMITH DISAPPEARS: Brad Smith was conspicuously absent from the Jets' offense. He started at running back (one play) and disappeared, playing exclusively on special teams. ... The Jets dressed only three running backs - Barlow, Washington and B.J. Askew. Cedric Houston (knee), Derrick Blaylock and James Hodgins were inactive. CB David Barrett hurt his ankle in the second half and didn't return.

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On misty afternoon, Gang

sees fog and hex lift

FOXBORO - Shaun Ellis doesn't recall much about sneaking through the line. There was the feel of a New England lineman pawing at his jersey, and the sound of a soggy crowd rising in anticipation, but mostly everything seemed to be rolling in slow motion.

And then, quicker than a Bill Belichick sneer, the fog cleared, for Ellis and the Jets. Who saw this coming? Not Tom Brady, the quarterback known for squeezing pearls out of a game's final moments. Not Belichick, the genius who moonlights as a coach. Not the Patriots, winners of seven straight against the Jets until yesterday, until Ellis stalked, then sacked Brady, on the final play of the afternoon.

"We finally beat the bullies," said Ellis, after the Jets had pinned a 17-14 loss on New England. "They can't take our lunch money no more."

Forgive Ellis for sounding unlike a 6-5, 285-pound defensive end who chews nails for fun. He's allowed to veer into hyperbole after a day like this, a day the Jets hadn't experienced since 2002, the last time they had smacked their most stubborn rival. The Jets are now 5-4, the Patriots 6-3, and the AFC East race remains a delicious tossup.

The midseason landscape has shifted severely, now that the Patriots have topped a killer loss to Indianapolis with an unanticipated stinker. Brady always has been his most dangerous in the waning moments, orchestrating winning fourth-quarter drives an astounding 21 times. So when the Patriots took over the ball with 1:08 left, it was difficult to resist the urge to mutter "same ol' Jets" through gritted teeth.

"He's Tom Brady and I've seen him march down the field a lot of times. He's one of the great ones," said Jets coach Eric Mangini, who probably knows more about Brady than he does his own mother-in-law.

Except now Brady was forced to stomp from the shotgun, because Belichick had burned three timeouts in the space of 20 seconds during the Jets' previous drive. The Jets didn't score then but Ben Graham's punt, like most everything the visitors spun through the thick mist, was superbly efficiently, forcing the Patriots to whip-crack their last chance from their own 11-yard line.

"That's a lot of time for Tom Brady," linebacker Victor Hobson remembers thinking. "We're going to have to be perfect."

Tucked between an incompletion and a spiked ball, Brady completed three quick passes for 43 yards. But then, with nine seconds on the clock, with a historic upset brewing, Ellis bullied his way around the edge. Down went Brady, out popped the ball and all that remained was Belichick's ritualistic snub of Mangini.

The Jets' rookie coach, still merely a mini-genius, had jokingly predicted there would be balloons, maybe even a parade to celebrate his New England homecoming. He was an assistant under Belichick through the Patriots' glory years, through three Super Bowls and an organizational turnaround, but Derek Jeter gets more love here than Mangini. His return was "magical" nonetheless, despite Belichick's wordless, faux handshake at game's end.

Mangini did hear someone yell at him, "Hey, mix in a salad," but who cares about a slight gut when there are so many sweet things to savor? The Jets' offense sustained long drives through Kevan Barlow's power trips, Jerricho Cotchery's well-timed leaps and Chad Pennington's mostly mistake-free stewardship. It was Cotchery who acted as a decoy while Pennington searched for Laveranues Coles in the end zone, at the tail end of a fourth-quarter march. Cornerback Ellis Hobbs stuck with Cotchery step by step, move by move, before turning away just as the ball floated into Cotchery's hands, a 22-yard rainbow out of the clouds that made it 17-6, Jets.

"The whole situation when the ball is up there in the air is who wants it the most," Cotchery said.

The Jets' defense, tuned and energized from the bye week, forced Brady to overthrow his receivers and kept Corey Dillon from repeating his 50-yard, first-quarter romp. Brady all but sniffed when someone asked him if Mangini's fronts and schemes had looked familiar.

"Yeah, it's the same defense we run. It's the same calls. It's all that same stuff," said Brady, who completed 25 of 37 passes for 255 yards and one touchdown but was still smarting over being sacked four times and intercepted once. "We were expecting pressure all week and that is what we got. Like I said, they were bringing it."

So fine, let the Patriots insist they saw this coming, that it felt like they had been kicked by their doppelgangers. Let Belichick pretend he didn't hear whatever Mangini mumbled during that brief postgame bump. Let the Jets savor being the bullies for a few seconds, until the thick briefings on the Bears arrive today. They weren't perfect, but they sure weren't the same ol' Jets, either.

"A lot of us who have been here a long time have never felt this before," said Hobson, as he took his sweet time making his way out of Gillette Stadium. "I gotta tell you, it feels pretty good."

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Cold shoulder heats up Jets

'Other guy' discovers Pat answer



Bill Belichick, who gave former pupil Eric Mangini cold shoulder when teams met in September, has little to say this time after Mangini

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Snap decisions at center


Newsday Staff Correspondent

November 13, 2006

The Jets used three different centers on three consecutive snaps. Why?

First, Nick Mangold took a finger to the right eye late in the third quarter and was taken to the sideline. Wade Smith came in for Mangold at center, but on the first play, he dislocated a finger on his right hand. He and guard Pete Kendall swapped places for the next snap (on which the Jets were offside, so it didn't count). Even Chad Pennington said he was surprised when Kendall and Smith flip-flopped, and they nearly had to call a timeout as Kendall removed a glove from his snapping hand. Mangold missed two snaps - and one official play - and was back on the field the rest of the game.

Why was Victor Hobson called for roughing the passer?

Hobson seemed to get a clean hit on Tom Brady on a first-and-20 pass that was intercepted by cornerback Drew Coleman late in the second quarter. But referee Pete Morelli flagged Hobson for the penalty, extending a drive that ended with a Patriots field goal that cut the Jets' lead to 7-6. "He picked [brady] up and drove him into the ground and used the force of his helmet and basically stuffed him into the ground," Morelli said. "It's his responsibility as the defender to know when the ball is gone and to let up and to back off." Replays showed Brady still had the. ball when contact was made, but had released it when he and Hobson hit the ground.

What was Hobson's take on that play?

"I felt like he had the ball and I wouldn't have driven him into the ground," Hobson said. "And I didn't feel like I hit him with my helmet."

Is Pennington the new Jets punter?

Not as long as Ben Graham keeps booming kicks and pinning opponents inside the 20, which he did twice yesterday and nearly a third time when Brad Smith and Drew Coleman miscommunicated a chance to down a kick inside the 5. But Pennington did make his first career punt, and it was a beauty, pinning the Patriots at the 4 on a pooch kick.

Did the weather affect the Jets?

It was a sloppy, muddy, foggy day in Foxborough, but compared with Wednesday, when the Jets practiced outside in a downpour, it was quite pleasant. Several players credited that midweek experience for acclimating them to poor conditions. Kendall joked that now coach Eric Mangini will be encouraged to stay out of the bubble, the enclosed facility the Jets have used very sparingly this season. "Maybe we can rent it out for functions," Kendall joked.

Could this win have been any bigger?

Hate to say it, but if Chris Baker's catch against the Browns two weeks ago is ruled a tying touchdown and the Jets win that game, they would be sitting 6-3 and in a tie for first place in the division. Still, 5-4 and a game behind the suddenly slipping Patriots isn't the worst place to be.

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Homecoming a memory to savor

November 13, 2006


We could start with the stadium-silencing sack that Shaun Ellis made on Tom Brady to end the game, or the stunning, over-the-shoulder touchdown catch that Jerricho Cotchery cradled with both arms with 4:45 left. Or how about the way forgotten running back Kevan Barlow powered the Jets' first smashmouth touchdown drive of the game, then later recounted how Eric Mangini called this outcome days ago?

Said Barlow: "Coach Mangini was preaching to us all week, 'You can go up there and win this game. I know you guys, I know you guys.

"And I know them.'"

But what you really want to know about by now is the Handshake, don't you? That limp, lame, sore-loser swipe of fingertips that Patriots coach Bill Belichick half-heartedly gave to Mangini yesterday when he met his former protege at midfield, then turned and bolted for the stadium tunnel as Mangini tried to exchange a few words after the upstart Jets' 17-14 win.

It probably wasn't the first no-look handshake in NFL history. But Belichick's antics were cheesy and graceless just the same, coming from a coach who was deified back when he was winning three Super Bowls a lot more than he's been beset by hard times or tweaked by anyone since.

Mangini is the third coordinator to leave Belichick since those championship years. And granted he's the only one Belichick brought into the league - as a ball boy. That was 11 years ago when they were working for the Browns. Mangini later rose to defensive backs coach, then Belichick's defensive coordinator in New England. Now Belichick, for reasons he's never exactly explained, won't even utter Mangini's name.

It's monumentally petty. And as comeuppances go, yesterday's Jets win wasn't as lopsided or rancor-filled as the beatdown Muhammad Ali put on a luckless pug named Ernie Terrell in 1967, famously shouting, "What's my name? What's my name?" before he finally knocked Terrell out. If anything, the longer the 35-year-old Mangini's rookie season has rolled on, the more Belichick's irritation seems to make sense.

The Jets' triumph on Mangini's return to New England was just more confirmation that Belichick probably knew how good a coach he was losing when Mangini dared to walk away, though taking the job meant bucking his advice and having to face Belichick twice a year.

A lot of the Jets, not wanting to ruin such a good story line, agreed yesterday that their motivation this week was to win one for Mangini. But the truth is more complicated than that.

The Jets hadn't beaten the Pats since 2002. The Jets desperately needed to improve to 5-4 and move just one game behind the Patriots in the AFC East race. They needed it to keep alive any hope of a playoff berth.

It was a nice aside that with every clutch play the Jets made in the misting rain and surreal, low-hanging fog - the defense blitzed and slammed Brady into the mud three times in the first half alone - the Patriots' mystique dimmed a bit more.

In the first half, the Jets ran the ball down the Patriots' throats on a 16-play, 81-play touchdown drive that featured nine carries by Barlow, the last four covering the final 20 yards. Then the Jets' defense, staunch and aggressive all day, held on in the second half after Brady threw a scare into them with 4:14 left, leading a TD drive that took just 31 seconds and covered 61 yards in four plays.

This was the sort of game New England always took in the past. But as Jets quarterback Chad Pennington said later: "You have to eventually stand up and say, 'We've gotta win one of these.' They had beaten us seven in a row."

When time ran out on New England, the stopwatch on the Jets' return to respectability sped up just a little bit more. Barlow, grinning, said when Mangini was alone with the team afterward, he was so choked up, "He couldn't talk. He was all mumbling and flustered and red in the face - all that."

Mangini has been nothing but respectful of Belichick since he left New England, and he joked several times last week about how he expected his return to Foxborough to be just "magical" - balloons, a parade, the whole bit, Mangini said.

When the game was over, Mangini said he had indeed heard a lot of "warm" comments, none funnier to him than the fan who noted his nose tackle build and shouted, "Mix in a salad" now and then.

So it wasn't magical after all, Mangini was needled.

"Ohhh, it was magical," he said.

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