EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Brady threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker on the first play of the second quarter to give the New England Patriots a 7-0 lead over the New York Jets on Thursday night.
The key play on the drive was a 13-yard run by Shane Vereen, compounded by a facemask penalty on the Jets that moved the ball to the 9.
New England missed a chance to open the scoring in the first quarter when Stephen Gostkowski's 39-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left. The Jets took over on their own 30 and drove deep into New England territory, only to turn the ball over when Steve Gregory intercepted Mark Sanchez's pass at 15.
The Patriots played without star tight end Rob Gronkowski. He's expected to miss at least a month because of a broken left forearm.
New England activated tight end Aaron Hernandez. He missed the last three games because of an ankle injury.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick needs a victory to become the eighth NFL coach to reach 200 wins.