FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Aqib Talib had two interceptions and a forced fumble as the Patriots beat the Jets 13-10 Thursday.
New England has won 12 consecutive games against AFC East opponents. But like a 23-21 win at Buffalo on Sunday, when it needed a last-minute field goal, Thursday was close.
The Patriots managed just nine first downs and 234 yards of offense. But it sacked Geno Smith four times, twice by end Chandler Jones.
Trailing 13-3 at halftime, when rain began to fall, Smith led New York on a third-quarter touchdown drive. Starting again for Mark Sanchez (the Jets declined to comment on reports he needs season-ending right shoulder surgery), Smith ran for 16 yards to reach New England territory. That helped set up Bilal Powell's 3-yard touchdown run that made it 13-10 with 5:05 left in the third.
Still down 13-10, the Jets got the ball at their 20 with 6:07 left. But cornerback Alfonzo Dennard intercepted Smith's wobbly third-and-4 pass. The Pats, 3-of-16 on third downs before the drive, converted one, Julian Edelman's 9-yard catch but not another.
New York got the ball at its 29 with 56 seconds left. But Talib's second interception two plays later sealed it.
The Patriots took a 7-0 lead on the game's first series. With receiver Danny Amendola out with a groin injury (nfl.com reported he will miss 2-6 weeks), Tom Brady found rookie Aaron Dobson alone downfield for a 39-yard score. It was Brady's 50th consecutive game with a touchdown pass, four short of Drew Brees' NFL record.
Soon after, Smith found Stephen Hill across the middle for a 33-yard gain. But Talib, a former Bucs cornerback, popped the ball loose. Devin McCourty returned the fumble 44 yards to the Jets 8. New England couldn't punch it in, settling for Stephen Gostkowski's field goal.
Broncos helping Miller
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver coach John Fox said the team is helping linebacker Von Miller stay out of trouble.
Miller, serving a six-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, was arrested when he tried to purchase a weapon last month and a background check revealed an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court on traffic charges from last year. He also was pulled over near his suburban Denver home last week and cited for speeding and driving with a suspended license.
A third citation surfaced in California late Wednesday, but his agent disputed a Dallas TV report that there was an open warrant stemming from the 2012 speeding ticket in Orange County.
Fox didn't go into specifics on how the team is helping Miller.
"I'm not going to get into all of our operations," he said. "But it'd be fair to say that we have a lot of great resources here."
More Broncos: Cornerback Champ Bailey, who last week said he would make his season debut in Week 2, remained absent from practice because of the sprained foot sustained during camp. The team did not disclose his status.
Chargers: Rookie linebacker Manti Te'o, out since spraining his right foot in the preseason opener, was declared out for Sunday.
Chiefs: Running back Jamaal Charles, who bruised a quad Sunday, was a full participant at practice a day after participating in only a walkthrough.
Falcons: Receiver Julio Jones was a limited participant in practice a day after sitting out with an undisclosed knee injury.
Giants: Starting linebacker Dan Connor went on season-ending injured reserve with a neck injury. He sustained a stinger in the final preseason game and re-injured it Sunday against the Cowboys. Also, an MRI exam on backup running back Da'rel Scott's knee showed no structural damage. He practiced a day after injuring it, but his status for Sunday hasn't been determined.
Jaguars: Starting cornerback Alan Ball left practice with a injured groin. Fellow starter Dwayne Gratz is out Sunday with a sprained right ankle.
Texans: Safety Ed Reed, out since offseason hip surgery, will be a game-time decision Sunday.
Obituary: Frank Tripucka, the Broncos' inaugural quarterback, died in Woodland Park, N.J., the team said. He was 85 and had Alzheimer's. Mr. Tripucka, father of NBA star Kelly, threw the first touchdown in AFL history. Last year, he told the Broncos they could unretire his No. 18 so Peyton Manning could wear it.