Day after, Patriots reeling from nightmare 45-7 loss to Jets franchise's 3rd worst


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Uh, about that stadium, Fran, Lowell. Do you think you still want to put the Patriots in it?

Well, maybe by the time Fran Murray can buy the team and move it to the Hartford, Conn., stadium Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. hopes to have built, the Patriots won't be as bad as they were Sunday night at Giants Stadium.

The Patriots were obliterated by the Jets, 45-7, a loss that equaled the third-worst in franchise history.

The game, which was nationally televised by TNT, was over by halftime, with the Patriots trailing, 35-0.

"It was like we weren't even there," Patriots cornerback Maurice Hurst said.

The game was a nightmarish homecoming for Patriots coach Bill Parcells, who coached the Giants for eight years at the Meadowlands.

"We were completely outclassed in every way," Parcells said. "It wasn't even a good scrimmage. We were not prepared. I'll take the responsibility.

"We didn't play well, and they did. They took advantage of every opportunity we gave them."

The outcome left the players hanging their heads.

"It's embarrassing, basically," Patriots running back Leonard Russell said. "It's demoralizing to your team. The way people think of us now -- they don't respect us; they don't think the Patriots are a good team. And to come in and lose 45-7, it just adds on to what they already feel about us."

With the victory, the Jets (2-1) are tied for the AFC East lead with Buffalo and Miami. The Patriots are 0-4.

The Jets were unstoppable in the first half. They scored the first five times they had the ball. When they weren't putting together touchdown drives, they were sacking Drew Bledsoe or forcing turnovers.

"We just played like we were a hot team tonight," Jets coach Bruce Coslet said. "The tendency is to ease up, but we didn't. Bill [Parcells] brought his team in here and just happened to run into a hot team."

No one was hotter than Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason. Esiason completed 12 of 12 passes in the first half, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end James Thornton.

Esiason completed his first 13 passes (for 153 yards). With the five consecutive passes he completed at the end of the Jets game against Miami Sept. 12, he established a team record of 18 consecutive completions -- tying the third-longest streak in NFL history.

"Did he throw an incompletion?" Russell asked. "He had a good game."

Esiason completed 17 of 21 for 215 yards and a touchdown.

The Jets pushed the score to 45-0 in the fourth quarter. The Patriots averted a shutout when Russell ran 5 yards for a touchdown with 2:47 left in the fourth quarter.

The Jets were unstoppable in the first half. They scored on:

* A 1-yard run by fullback Brad Baxter at 8:20 of the first quarter.

* A 6-yard run by Johnny Johnson at 1:42 of the first quarter.

* A 4-yard run by Baxter at 14:17 of the second quarter.

* A 13-yard pass to Thornton with 10:32 left the second quarter.

* A 17-yard run by wide receiver Terance Mathis at 1:55 of the second quarter.

The Jets added to their lead with a 42-yard field goal by Carey Blanchard with 11:40 left in the game and a 37-yard run by Adrian Murrell with 9:26 remaining.

"They didn't do anything we didn't expect," Patriots linebacker Chris Slade said. "We're not playing very well at all now. We're playing terrible. They did everything we prepared for. We just didn't stop them."

Bledsoe tried to carry the Patriots offense. He completed 19 of 42 passes for 195 yards. He was sacked three times and intercepted twice.

In the first half, the Patriots had four first downs. The Jets had 16.

The Jets took the opening kickoff and drove 73 yards for a touchdown.

A sack by defensive end Jeff Lageman halted the Patriots' opening possession, which had started with promise.

The Patriots punted, and the Jets drove 43 yards for another touchdown.

An interception by Lageman led to the Jets' third touchdown. The Jets took over at the Patriots 16-yard line. It took four plays for Baxter to score his second touchdown.

Jets safety Ronnie Lott set up the fourth touchdown by sacking Bledsoe and stripping him of the ball. Linebacker Bobby Houston recovered at the Patriots 26.

Again, it took the Jets four plays to score. The drive was capped by Esiason's pass to Thornton at the back of the end zone.

The Jets topped off the half by driving 71 yards in nine plays. Mathis caught the Patriots flatfooted with a reverse for a 17-yard touchdown to make it 35-0.

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