FOXBORO, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- With the injuries mounting for the
New England Patriots
made the most of his opportunity.
Samuel moved from nickel back to cornerback after
was injured and returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown to lead the Patriots to a 23-16 victory over the
New York Jets
in a battle of AFC East rivals.
"When he (Law) went down, I just had to let them know that I had to go out there and step it up," Samuel said.
The Patriots had lost their last five home games against the Jets, including a critical 30-17 defeat last December 22 that cost them the AFC East title.
New England played without injured starting linebackers
(fractured hip) and
(broken hip)and lost defensive tackle
and Law during the game due to injuries. Law returned in the second half.
But the Patriots were still able to keep the Jets out of the end zone for three quarters and were locked in a 9-9 tie.
"There is a lot of depth on this team," said Brady, who has completed 15-of-25 passes for 181 yards. "If one guy isn't out there one week another guy steps up. Whether or not that continues, we'll see."
kicked his third field goal of the game to tie the game for New York with 5:37 left in the third quarter, the Patriots embarked on a seven-play, 74-yard touchdown drive that lasted 3 1/2 minutes.
Brady completed 3-of-3 for 49 yards, including passes of 28 and 12 yards to tight end
, who was starting at cornerback for the injured
, also picked up a critical 19-yard pass interference, giving the Patriots a 1st-and-goal at the 1.
Brady then faded back to the 10 and raced up the middle, diving into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown, giving the Patriots a 16-9 lead with 2:08 left in the third.
Samuel, a fourth-round pick out of Central Florida, increased the lead to 23-9 when he jumped in front of receiver
, intercepted a pass by
at the New England 45 and raced into the end zone 11 seconds into the fourth quarter.
"It was man-to-man coverage," Samuel said. "Chrebet came off the line shaking and shifting. I was just waiting for him to make his break. After he made his break, I made the play. I never had returned a pick for a touchdown."
Testaverde fired a 29-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Chrebet 1:56 later.
But Brien missed a 42-yard field goal with 7:14 left and the Jets managed just one first down on their last two possessions.
Testaverde, who turns 40 in November, passed for 264 yards and moved into eighth on the all-time passing yards list, surpassing Johnny Unitas' total of 40,239 yards.
"It's just irrelevant now with us being 0-3," said Testaverde, who has passed for 40,300 yards. Had we won or we were 3-0 then it'd be great. I'd give it all back right now for a win. I'd feel a lot better."
Joe Montana is seventh on the all-time list with 40,551 yards.
Once again, the Jets struggled to establish a running game. Held to 80 yards in his first two games, former Patriot
had 53 yards on 15 carries. He has rushed for six 100-yard games against his former team.
"I feel like this offense is a ticking time bomb," Martin said. "It just hasn't gone off yet. That's what we gotta do. We know we have the talent and ability to do it."
Meanwhile, the Patriots rushed for 147 yards.
led the way with 79 yards on 17 carries and
added 55 yards on 13 carries.
kicked field goals of 24 and 22 yards in the first half and connected on a 47-yarder in the third quarter for New England.
Brien converted field goals of 41 and 39 yards in the first half.
The Jets attempted a fake field goal in the first half, but punter Dan Stryzinsi's pass went off the oustretched hands of center
Afterwards, Jets coach Herman Edwards became irritated when asked about the fake field goal.
"I'm trying to score a touchdown because that's how you get momentum in your football team, not kicking field goals," Edwards said. "I'm the head coach and if I want to go for it, it's my judgement and I do it. If that means we lost the game, then put it on me.
"Say the head coach lost the game because he went for a fake field goal in the second quarter of a football game when the game is 6-3? Are you freaking kidding me. That's a joke."