After a week of intense media scrutiny over the relationship between Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini, with ESPN getting into the act with a ridiculous NFL Sunday segment and discussion on the topic, the Patriots turned things on in the fourth quarter yesterday and squashed Mangini and the upstart Jets 37-16 at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots now move on to play the San Diego Chargers next Sunday at 4:30 pm.

Mike Reiss has the Patriots coming out on top in a chess match with the Jets, a game that was as mentally taxing as it was physically. Shalise Manza Young says that this game followed a very familiar script for the Patriots…and a successful one. Alan Greenberg says that Bill Belichick and the Patriots avoided the unthinkable yesterday – a loss to his protégé Eric Mangini in the first round of the playoffs. John Tomase has the Patriots already looking forward to the matchup with the Chargers. Ben Rohrbach has more on the Patriots win over the Jets. Jennifer Toland says that the Jets gave it a nice try yesterday, but couldn’t repeat their magic of November.

Scott Benson has the coverage on BSMW Game Day, and feels good going into next week. Chris Ryan notes that playoff football was back at Gillette yesterday. David Brown has the Patriots showing the stuff of champions yesterday. Michael Parente has the Patriots record setting defense coming through again. Mark Farinella has the Patriots teaching Mangini and the Jets a lesson about playoff football. Mike Lowe has the Patriots providing a perfect ending on a spring-like January afternoon.

Ron Borges gives the Jets credit for staying in the game for 3 1/2 quarters – until the Patriots realized the game was on the line and put it away decisively. Michael Felger says that the Patriots will be going to San Diego playing their best football of the season…and will need to continue that. Christopher Price has 10 more things we learned yesterday. Albert Breer says that once again the Patriots had their nasty side dialed up for this one. Rich Garven looks at the Patriots defensive line again coming up big against the Jets. Dan Pires says that for three quarters, the teams looked like mirror images of each other.

Ian Clark says that the Patriots were prepared for everything the Jets threw at them this time. Jackie MacMullan notes that the Patriots beat the Jets at their own game by playing the hurry-up game to great effectiveness. Tim Weisberg has Brady able to stand tall and deliver in this one. Lenny Megliola says that the Chargers present the biggest challenge yet for the Patriots. Jeff Jacobs notes that Bill Belichick was not going to be denied yesterday…during or after the game. Steve Solloway has more on the post game greetings from the coaches. Tom King has Belichick winning the rematch of coaching wits.

My wishes that Dan Shaughnessy be kept away from the Patriots have apparently fallen on deaf ears. I’d toss Jim Donaldson into that pile as well. They offer nothing. I could do without Steve Buckley’s analysis of The Hug as well.

Joe McDonald has Vince Wilfork getting a smile out of his teammates with his recovery and runback of the Chad Pennington lateral that was batted down by Rosevelt Colvin. Greenberg has Wilfork simply doing what he was coached to do on the play – pick it up and run. Shawn Courchesne says that the Jets failed on one of the most basic cornerstones of disciplined football during that play. Jim McCabe has Wilfork simply following instinct on that play and jumping on the ball and running with it. Tony Massarotti apparently found little to whine about yesterday, so he also writes about the play. Garven labels the play one of the most memorable in franchise history. Mike Rocha has Wilfork playing sneaky on this one. Price also has a look at this play in the Metro.

Amalie Benjamin looks at things all coming together for Gaffney yesterday. McDonald has more on Gaffney’s big day, as the receiver registered his first 100 yard receiving game with the Patriots. Dan Ventura has more on the big day from Gaffney, who joined the Patriots on Oct 10th – taking the roster spot of Hank Poteat who was on the field for the Jets yesterday. David Brown has Gaffney getting involved early and often yesterday. Toland also has Gaffney coming up big in his playoff debut.

Julian Benbow has Asante Samuel watching his price tag go up again yesterday as the cornerback picked off a fourth quarter Pennington pass and took it to the house. Mike Rocha has more on Samuel’s big play, which buried the Jets. Farinella also heard the cash registers ring as Samuel picked off the pass. Breer looks at the Patriots three-headed running attack grinding the Jets down yesterday. Lowe says things only get tougher from here for the Patriots. Monique Walker has Stephen Gostkowski taking a step towards answering the concerns the media has about his ability to perform in the postseason. Breer also has a look at the rookie kicker handling the pressure of the postseason just fine. Dan Ventura has a look at Brady picking up the pace in yesterday’s win.

Art Martone offers up game analysis from all sides of the ball. Alan Greenberg has his Turning Point analysis. Martone tabs the Kevin Faulk TD reception as the play of the game. He has Brady as his player of the game for yesterday. Meanwhile, Massarotti tabs Wilfork’s rumble as his play of the game. Felger notes what a difference two months can make, and Buckley gives us the best & worst from yesterday. Pires offers up a quick report card from yesterday.

Christopher L Gasper has the Jets beaten but unbowed yesterday as they came up short in round three of this season’s rivalry with the Patriots. Karen Guregian instructs us to forget the last 10 minutes of the game, for the Jets are a factor now in the AFC East. While I do believe that, wasn’t everyone saying that about the Dolphins after last season?

Get the entertaining New York side of things in the New York Sports Pages.

Guregian also has Chad Pennington feeling frustrated after coming up short in the red zone yesterday. Weisberg has more on the Jets’ lack of success in the red zone. Peter Gobis has more on the Jets feeling blue in the red zone. Gasper’s Jets notebook has a look at the afternoon from Pennington, including his thoughts on the lateral pass that was deflected by Colvin and picked up by Wilfork.

Reiss’s notebook has the Patriots players already in a San Diego state of mind. Tomase’s notebook has more on Samuel and his focus on a payday. Young’s squib kicks offers the usual bevy of informational tidbits. Garven’s notebook has more on the postgame greeting between Belichick and Mangini. Parente’s notebook keys in on the Wilfork recovery. Lowe’s notebook has more on that key play.

Getting a jump on next week’s game here’s some links for the Chargers:

Celtics

The Celtics fell in Orlando last night, 87-79 to the Magic. The combination of Grant Hill and Dwight Howard proved to be too much for the Celtics, who fell behind by as many at 17 in the first half.

Shira Springer has the Celtics playing a selfish brand of basketball in that first half before getting themselves straightened out a little bit in the second. Steve Bulpett has the Magic putting a halt to any Celtics notions of fast breaking their way to victory.

Scott Souza has Delonte West answering some of his critics with his recent play. Mike Fine wonders how much longer Celtics fans will be patient.

Springer’s notebook has the former St Joseph’s backcourt of West and Jameer Nelson representing their school quite well in the NBA. Bulpett’s notebook has Doc Rivers talking about buying a house in Boston after this season.

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