EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Bill Belichick's defensive scheme claimed
as the latest victim.
New England Patriots
intercepted Pennington five times and
on a pair of touchdowns to lead the
New England Patriots
to their 11th straight win, a 21-16 victory over the
New York Jets
The Patriots (13-2) moved one game ahead of Kansas City, which lost earlier in the day, and clinched a first-round bye in the postseason. They can clinch home-field throughout the playoffs with a win next Saturday against Buffalo.
New England's winning streak is the longest in the NFL since Indianapolis and Jacksonville also won 11 in a row in 1999.
Known as a defensive mastermind with his assortment of blitzes and disguised coverages, coach Belichick has been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. He has baffled the likes of
and did the same to Pennington, who entered the game with seven interceptions and nearly doubled that total. He was also sacked four times.
"Our defense made some big plays against a tough quarterback," Belichick said. "Pennington beat us last year at Foxboro so we know how good he is."
"It was a rough day at the office," said Pennington, who was 24-of-43 for 229 yards and ran for two touchdowns. "That was the most interceptions I've thrown in a game since my first start as a true freshman in college (at Marshall)."
On the second play from scrimmage, Pennington was picked off by linebacker
, who returned the interception three yards to the New York 35. Brady immediately capitalized on the turnover, hitting Givens with a 35-yard touchdown down the left sideline 48 seconds into the game. Givens also caught a five-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.
made the defensive play of the game, batting a short pass by Pennington up into the air before cradling it into his arms and racing 15 yards for a touchdown with 13:24 left in the second quarter.
"We tried to time his (Pennington's) three-step drops by jumping as he threw," McGinest said. "Fortunately, I was able to deflect that ball straight up and I just waited for it to fall into my hands."
"They had the passing lanes cut off early in our slant game and their linebackers tipped some balls up," said Jets coach Herman Edwards.
Pro Bowl cornerback
had second-half interceptions for New England. Law picked off a pass intended for
in the right corner of the end zone with 6:35 left in the third quarter to preserve a 21-10 lead.
After the Jets pulled within 21-16, Harrison picked off a long pass by Pennington at the New England 27 with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter. Wilson sealed the win with the Patriots' fifth interception, catching a pass over the middle and returning it 10 yards to the New England 46 with 35 seconds left.
"The first two interceptions were great plays by their linebackers, but the ones in the second half were poor decisions on my part," said Pennington, who scored on runs of 1 and 10 yards.
The loss assured the Jets (6-9) of their first losing season since 1996.
Brady threw for just 138 yards, but
rushed for a season-high 121 yards on just 18 carries against the NFL's 31st-ranked run defense.
had two of New England's four sacks.