EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New England Patriots are right where they always expect to be: in first place in the AFC East.
"It's very sweet," Brady said, "getting this win."
"Yeah, we got no chance."
It was also the first home loss for the Jets (5-4) after opening 4-0, but they can't dwell on it because they play again at Denver on Thursday night.
Brady finished 26 of 39 for 329 yards, the 40th time he reached the 300-yard mark in a regular-season game, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Joe Montana for eighth on the NFL's list. He also joined New Orleans' Drew Brees as the only players to throw for 3,000 yards in their team's first nine games. Brees also accomplished the feat this season.
Brady and Bill Belichick broke a tie with Miami's Dan Marino and Don Shula as the winningest quarterback-coach duo since 1966 with 117 victories.
Sanchez was 20 of 39 for 306 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice and sacked five times.
LaDainian Tomlinson passed Hall of Famer Barry Sanders for fifth place on the NFL's career list for yards from scrimmage, but left the game with an injured left leg which was tightly wrapped in the locker room. He said he would have "some tests" on Monday.
But Brady went right back to work, leading the Patriots on a typically efficient drive, going 84 yards on 13 plays using a no-huddle offense that kept the Jets' defense off balance. Mixing in some solid runs by Danny Woodhead, Brady calmly spread the ball around to his receivers before connecting with Branch with 8:04 remaining.
The score sent many in the crowd at MetLife Stadium headed for the exits.
Many of those who remained didn't stick around much longer once Ninkovich returned an errant pass by Sanchez 12 yards to make it 37-16 with 7:45 left.
Three Jets bobbled a muffed punt by Joe McKnight to set up Gostkowski's short field goal for a 16-9 lead. Isaiah Trufant had two shots at recovering the loose ball and Donald Strickland one -- it squirted out of his hands -- before Niko Koutouvides came up with it at the Jets 13 early in the third quarter.
Gronkowski appeared to catch his second TD pass of the night, but video replay showed he stepped out of bounds. Gostkowski then booted his third field goal, from 27 yards.
New York took the free kick and moved 65 yards on seven plays, including a 21-yard run by LaDainian Tomlinson and a 22-yard grab by Patrick Turner, his first catch of the season. Sanchez ran in from the 2 on a quarterback draw for a 9-6 lead.
But the Jets quarterback made a mistake on the play right before his score, calling a timeout with 1:24 left in the half. Ryan was so angry, he told NBC at halftime that the timeout was the "stupidest play in NFL history."
Adding to the frustration was New York not opting to try a pooch kickoff following a 15-yard penalty on New England's Vince Wilfork, and Nick Folk kicked the ball through the end zone. Brady hit five passes on an 80-yard drive, with Gronkowski getting open over the middle for the 18-yard score with 9 seconds left in the half that made it 13-9.
New England took advantage by taking a 3-0 lead on Gostkowski's 50-yard field goal that squeezed over the crossbar. The Patriots appeared to be on their way to an impressive drive after a 12-yard catch by a wide-open Chad Ochocinco -- his first reception since the last time these teams played, on Oct. 9 -- and he could've had more but stepped out of bounds.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press