Patriots seem to have plenty of respect for Jets' defense

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up before the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens. (Jan. 20, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Tom Brady didn't have one of his better games in the Patriots' rain-drenched 13-10 victory over the Jets last month.

He completed only 19 of 39 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. Brady, however, was throwing to a pair of rookie wide receivers and was missing two of his best targets -- wide receiver Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski -- because of injuries.

Rex Ryan believes the Jets had something to do with Brady's performance and indicated Wednesday that his defense didn't get enough credit for shutting down the usually potent Patriots.

"I don't know," Ryan said when asked about Brady's struggles during his news conference. "It has nothing to do with us. I understand we [the defense] were just out there. Certainly that was well-reported and all that.

"So we'll get to see. We'll see if there are some of those issues that exist this week."

When asked about Ryan's comments, Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins didn't understand where any disrespect for the Jets' defense had come from.

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"I thought they did a good job," Thompkins said Thursday. "We obviously dealt with bad weather as well in the second half of the game, so I think that pretty much slowed both teams up."

The undrafted rookie out of Cincinnati finished with only two catches for 47 yards against the Jets. Fellow rookie Aaron Dobson caught a 39-yard touchdown pass on his first NFL snap but finished with only three receptions.

The Jets held the Patriots to nine first downs, New England's lowest total in the Bill Belichick era.

"They're a very good defense," Brady said Wednesday. "I think Coach said they were fourth rated in the league and one of the best first-down defenses in the league, which leads to second-and-longs, which leads to third-and-longs and then they get their blitz packages going.

"You can't really fall asleep at any point against this defense because they have a lot of negative plays in the run game and they create disruption in the pass game, too."

The Jets are allowing only 75.7 rushing yards per game, second best in the league. The Patriots rushed for 54 yards on 24 attempts in the first game.

In anticipation of Sunday's rematch, Thompkins said the focus is on exploiting the Jets' defense, not worrying about the struggles from the first game.

"We're just executing and preparing for this week," Thompkins said. "Last game don't even matter right now. We're looking forward to this week."

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