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A History: Jets vs. Patriots, Part One

Nick Laham

Every week this season I'll be taking a look at past match-ups between the New York Jets and their upcoming opponents. There will be two parts for each division rival, since they play twice a year. In Part One, we'll take a look at classic Jets-Patriots match-ups.

The Patriots lead the all-time series 55-52-1, outscoring the Jets 2,466-2,278 in the process.

September 17, 1960: The first ever meeting between--at the time--the Titans of New York (1-0) and Boston Patriots (0-1). Playing on a Saturday afternoon in the Polo Grounds, it seemed as if the Titans would start their historical rivalry with the Patriots 1-0. After a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Walt Livingston gave Boston a quick 7-0, New York would rally for 24 unanswered points coming on a Bill Shockey field goal and three passing touchdowns from quarterback Al Dorrow. After a Tom Greene touchdown pass late in the third, the Patriots cut the Titan lead to 24-14 entering the fourth quarter. However the tides would turn after a Jim Colclough touchdown reception made it a three-point game, the Titans would lose their third fumble of the game--except this time it was picked up by Chuck Shonta and returned 52 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The Patriots would take Game 1 of the series by a final score of 28-24.

September 9, 1961: The Titans (1-0) and Patriots (0-1) would face off against each other in Week 2 for the second consecutive year. New York, now 0-2 to start their history against Boston, traveled up to Nickerson Field in Massachusetts in search for their first win over their new division rivals. After quarterbacks Al Dorrow and Babe Parilli traded multiple touchdowns, it was a Gino Cappelletti field goal that gave Boston a 17-14 lead heading into the final quarter. The Titans, who had committed three turnovers in the game, were within striking distance when Dorrow found his favorite receiver Don Maynard from 37-yards out to give New York a 21-17 lead. After Boston kicked a field goal to cut to lead to one, the Titans were able to hang on for the 21-20 victory--their first over Boston. Al Dorrow finished 15-26 with 183 yards, three touchdowns (one rushing) and an interception. Don Maynard caught 7 passes resulting in 86 yards and the game-winning touchdown.

October 14, 1973: The Jets (1-3) and Patriots (1-3), in a year where both teams would finish under .500, match-up in New England. While there was often a great deal of scoring in past meetings between these two teams, that was not the case on this day. Jets kicker Bobby Howfield kicked a field goal giving New York an early 3-0 lead in the first, and that's exactly what the halftime score would be. The Jets went on to rush for 211 yards in this game which would be more than enough in this day in age, however, quarterback Bill Demory went 1-7 passing with just 11 total yards in this game. Now with a 6-0 lead in the third, the Jets defense continued to stymy New England, who appeared to have no answer. It was late in the third quarter when the Jets offense made a critical mistake by fumbling in their own end zone. New England recovered and lead 7-6 after the extra point. In a defensive slugfest, all seemed lost for the Jets, until, lead by a strong running game and assisted by a pair of Patriots turnovers, Bobby Howfield was in position to kick them into victory. From only 22 yards away and with favorable weather, Howfield drilled the field goal, giving the Jets a 9-7 lead that they would never relinquish.

November 24, 1985: The Jets (8-3) and Patriots (8-3), both vying for potential a playoff spot, faced off with identical records late in the '85 season. After losing to New England 20-13 a month prior, New York was 3.5 point favorites entering this game (Vegas). After a low-scoring first half (6-3 Jets lead at halftime), the pace picked up after the break when quarterback Ken O'Brien completed an 88-yard touchdown strike to Wesley Walker, giving the Jets a 10-point lead. But, as many Jets-Patriots games do, this one still had life in the final act. New England would rally from a 13-3 fourth quarter deficit with a touchdown from QB Tony Eason and the eventual game-tying field goal by Tony Franklin. It was in overtime, however, where the Jets would finally finish off the Patriots, with Pat Leahy's game-winning, 32-yard field goal.

It was one month later that the Jets and Patriots would face off one final time, this time in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. New York turned the ball over four times, including a fumbled kickoff returned for a touchdown, lost 26-14 and were eliminated from the playoffs. The Patriots went on to play in Super Bowl XX against a dominant '85 Chicago Bears squad, where they got pounded in a 46-10 loss.

The Jets face a tough task heading up to New England on a short week. However with the Patriots facing injuries to Rob Gronkowksi, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen and Zach Sudfield, the Jets may be getting New England at the perfect time.