FOXBORO, MA (Sports Network) – The Jets defense backed up its boisterous talk Sunday by silencing the league’s best offense, and Mark Sanchez threw for three touchdowns to carry New York to its second straight AFC Championship Game with a 28-21 upset of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
The Jets sacked Tom Brady five times, forced the All-Pro quarterback into his first interception since Week 6 and held the Patriots 11 points below their season average, stunning their AFC East rivals a mere 41 days after getting embarrassed, 45-3, on the same field.
Sanchez was an efficient 16-of-25 passing for 194 yards and tossed TDs to Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson.
Jerricho Cotchery chipped in with 96 yards on five receptions for the sixth- seeded Jets, none bigger than a 58-yard catch-and-run that set up a critical fourth-quarter touchdown after New England cut its deficit to three.
The Jets, winners of four road playoff games the past two seasons, next head to Pittsburgh for a right to play in the Super Bowl. New York has already won at Heinz Field this season, beating the Steelers, 22-17, in Week 15.
The Patriots have not lost in Brady’s last 27 regular season home starts, but have dropped consecutive playoffs games at Gillette Stadium. The Ravens rolled to a 33-14 win against New England in last year’s Wild Card round.
Brady ended 29-of-45 for 299 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Deion Branch with 24 seconds remaining.
However, the Jets recovered their second onside kick of the final two minutes to seal the surprising decision.