FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The fourth quarter started just in time for Tom Brady to overcome some early drops and lead a Patriots comeback.
And it ended just in time for New England to hold on for a victory on Sunday.
Brady overcame New England's shaky first three quarters by throwing for two touchdowns in the fourth, and the Patriots defeated the Jets 30-23 to remain unbeaten.
The Super Bowl MVP completed 14 of 17 passes in the final quarter to overcome a 20-16 deficit and give New England a two-game lead over the Jets in the AFC East.
"I thought we played better as the game went on," said Brady, who was 34 of 54 for 355 yards to become the fifth player in history to reach 55,000 passing yards.
His numbers that would have been even better if not for the 11 drops by his receivers, six by newly activated Brandon LaFell.
"We made the plays when we needed to make them," Brady added. "I think that was the important thing."
The Jets rallied in the final minute, kicking a field goal on first down with 23 seconds left to get within one score before Brandon Marshall recovered the onside kick. But after a short pass over the middle to Eric Decker left the Jets 37 yards from tying the score, Marshall failed to get set on Ryan Fitzpatrick's spike to stop the clock; the false-start penalty ended it.
"I feel like we had them," Jets offensive lineman Willie Colon said. "I feel like we were the better team out there, but obviously we were not. … They beat us fair and square."
Fitzpatrick completed 22 of 39 for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Ivory, who entered as the AFC's leading rusher, had 41 yards on 17 carries while dealing with a sore hamstring.
Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski had a career-high 11 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown and Danny Amendola had eight for 86.
Brady scored on a keeper from the 1 and had an 11-yard scramble on a third and 10. With 15 rushing yards he was the Patriots' leading runner for the first time in his career.
"I should enjoy this, because it will probably never happen again," said Brady, 38, who threw the ball on all but nine plays — tying the NFL record for the fewest rushes in a win.