Branch riled up by Jets' antics, says Patriots laugh at Ryan

Tom Brady said earlier this week that he'll never get over the New England Patriots' 28-21 playoff loss to the New York Jets in January. Deion Branch can't forget that game, either, but for different reasons.

Branch returned to New England via trade last year and was a big contributor to a Patriots team that went 14-2 and secured the No. 1 playoff seed. But the underdog Jets came to Foxborough and shocked the Pats, celebrating on the field afterward with backflips, arms-out victory laps and even Bart Scott's "Can't wait!" catchphrase.

That exuberant behavior stuck with Branch.

"Those actions that went down after the game? Well, you know, it wasn't the Super Bowl," he told the *New York Post* on Tuesday, with sarcasm in his tone.

Will the Patriots use the memory as motivation?

"Oh, you remember it," Branch said.

Jets coach Rex Ryan recently invited other teams to beat the Patriots, thereby giving New York a clearer path to the AFC East title. In fact, Ryan and the Jets have been open in talking about knocking New England off its perch this season, winning a division crown that would bring a home playoff game and possibly a bye.

Ryan has said he respects Bill Belichick and what his Patriots teams have accomplished, but Branch owns suspicions about the Jets coach.

"You could take that as a little sarcasm, too," Branch said. "It could be either one. It's funny to us. We sit back and laugh (at his comments about the Patriots). I don't know what he means by it. You just have to expect the unexpected with (Ryan)."

The Jets clearly annoy Branch, but he said the Patriots don't stay awake at night thinking about their rivals.

"They don't sit around (in the front office) and strategically try to base everything off the Jets," Branch said. "It's all about, 'What can we do to better our football team?' Nothing that's done around here is based just on the Jets."

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