The New England Patriots were cruising along in the Meadowlands yesterday, holding a 24-0 lead over the New York Jets, when all of sudden things started to go wrong. In the end, the Patriots had to hold on for a 24-17 win over the charging Jets, who showed spark and a refusal to give up. For the media however, most of their focus was on frothing over their storyline of the Bill Belichick/Eric Mangini coaching matchup and all the subplots which may or may not be true regarding it.

Mike Reiss has the Patriots disappointed with the way that the game unfolded over the final quarter and a half. John Tomase reports on the Patriots escaping with the win. Shalise Manza Young says that all the principals in this soap opera made it into the final plot as the Patriots hung on for the win. Alan Greenberg says that Tom Brady was better in this one, but then the whole team got lazy and might not be so fortunate the next time. Rich Garven says that the Patriots accept that they still have a long way to go. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots getting off to a fast start, and managing to hold on in the end. Mike Lowe looks at the Patriots getting the win in spite of themselves. Dave Kraska has the quick version of the Patriots squeaking by the Jets.

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Ron Borges says that these are hard times for the Patriots, who were just as good as they needed to be to beat the Jets yesterday. Michael Felger says that the Patriots remain a very good clutch team, putting together a clock killing drive to hold off the Jets in the fourth quarter. Bob Ryan suggests that this Patriots team might need some “tough love” from the New England faithful, whom he says is up to the task. Is he saying that the fans need to get on this team and boo them? Albert Breer says that the Patriots continue to have problems with the fundamentals. Turnovers. Missed assignments. Bad tackling.

Jeff Jacobs says that Bill Belichick has iced Mangini, and been unnecessarily cold to him. Steve Buckley is all over the coaching matchup, and whether the handshake after the game qualified as one “According to Hoyle”, and the coaches refusing to discuss the issue. Amalie Benjamin says that the handshake left a lot to be desired, as did the post game comments from both.

Tony Massarotti says Tom Brady has resigned himself to the fact that the running game is now secondary to the passing game, as Massarotti says the Patriots don’t have anyone who can get open. Young has more on Brady adjusting to what he has to work with. Greenberg looks at Brady attempting to break in his new receivers during regular season game action. Ian Clark says that it was another erratic game for Brady as he adjusts to his new teammates.

Christopher L. Gasper looks at Chad Jackson making his debut for the Patriots, and says that the rookie was worth the wait. Breer also looks at Jackson making an impact on the field in his first NFL game. Joe McDonald offers some game analysis from both sides of the ball. Greenberg also has some sideline notes from various aspects of the game. Felger says that the Patriots managed to handle the Jets no-huddle offense pretty well when New York chose to try it.

Matt Gagne has a quick look at the final drive, which sealed the game for the Patriots. Breer says that the running backs wore down the Jet defense over of the course of the game, leading in part to that final drive. McDonald says a fourth quarter sack of Pennington was the key play of the game for the Patriots. Lowe says that the Patriots will take the win at this point of the season. Gagne looks at the Patriots secondary getting burned with a couple of big plays on the afternoon.

Tomase’s notebook looks at Tedy Bruschi’s return to the field, which was capped off with an interception in the closing seconds. Reiss’ notebook has more on Bruschi, who gave the whole team a lift with his return. Young offers up a few talking points for the afternoon’s action, in a notebook-style column. Garven’s notebook has the Patriots welcoming several reinforcements back to their ranks. Parente’s notebook looks at Jackson’s debut, as well as the “handshake” and Bruschi’s return. Lowe’s notebook has Jackson and Bruschi making an immediate impact.

Red Sox Playing For Pride

The Red Sox swept a doubleheader from the Yankees yesterday, 6-3 and 5-4, taking 3 out of 4 overall in the weekend down in Yankee Stadium It was of course, too little, too late for Boston, but some of the young kids on the Red Sox, such as David Murphy were able to get their first taste of Yankee stadium and did quite well for themselves.

Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox putting the Yankees plans for clinching at home on hold for a little bit. Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox getting their first Yankee Stadium doubleheader sweep since 1976 thanks to a pair of rookies. Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox merely postponed the inevitable, but kept their pride intact. Dom Amore looks at the Red Sox getting the sweep and ending Derek Jeter’s hitting streak at 25. Bill Ballou looks at rookies shining in September and leading the Sox to victory. David Borges says that the present is bleak, but the future is looking bright in some aspects for the Red Sox.

Nick Cafardo looks at David Murphy as a late bloomer showing promise, but needing to deliver on that promise pretty quickly. David Heuschkel looks at how much Johnny Damon has meant to the Yankees this season. Sean McAdam looks at David Ortiz’s pursuit of 50 home runs, which has been about the only reason to watch the Red Sox lately. Michael Silverman appears to be ready to get that sideshow over with. Ballou’s notebook looks at Ortiz’s magic number getting reduced to one. Edes’ notebook has Ortiz inching closer to the Red Sox record book. Horrigan’s notebook has the Red Sox adding two more names to their injury report.

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Karen Guregian says that the Bruins made a mistake in not playing Zdeno Chara in their preseason opener last night in Lowell. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the Bruins getting smoked 5-0 by the Devils in the opener. Guregian’s notebook has Hannu Toivonen returning to the ice for the first time in nine months.

Dan Shaughnessy on NASCAR? Yup.

ESPN has Jaguars/Steelers at 8:30. TBS has Braves/Nationals at 7:30.