FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - And you thought the yapping would end after the game? Heck, these guys were already throwing word punches Sunday night that will linger until next season's meetings.
The Patriots, who aside from Wes Welker's not-so-subtle stabs at Rex Ryan maintained all week that they would do their talking on Sunday, did not disappoint. Receiver Deion Branch in particular volleyed the verbal action by calling many of the Jets "classless."
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He was referring to their on-field celebration that included a backflip by Braylon Edwards, numerous players apparently giving obscene gestures to the Foxborough fans, and many from the Jets sideline rushing the turf at the final whistle as if it were Caddie Day at Bushwood Country Club.
"The embarrassing part came after the game with some of the classless guys they have on that football team," Branch said. "There was a lot of classless play on the football field after the game. But you have to expect that from some of the guys over there."
Branch said there were some Jets veterans who displayed class. And he did shake their hands after the game, he said.
"The other ones, I didn't," he said. "They don't deserve my nor my teammates' congratulations for them to act like that. You can tell they're not used to being in this position."
Edwards the Acrobat said he understands Branch's point of view, but he also made sure to point out that the Jets aren't the only ones who can act that way.
"What it stems from is the New England Patriots get away with a lot of the subliminal things they say, the subliminal things they do," Edwards said. "They did the 'flight boys' last game when they played us, but nobody said anything about it. It kind of went under the radar. They get away with stuff.
"We were showing emotion. We're excited we move on to the AFC Championship. At the same time, we're excited that we beat these guys. It's a heated rivalry. It was emotion. So what? We did backflips. I can understand where he's coming from, but at the same time, it's emotion for us."
The week leading up to the game was especially testy as Rex Ryan tried to turn the game into a personal confrontation with Bill Belichick, and Antonio Cromartie raised the bar with obscene terms to describe Tom Brady.
Not everyone from the Patriots was so antagonized. Welker, who made 10 references to feet or toes in his news conference Thursday, a clear shot at the videos that surfaced on the Internet during the season that appear to star Ryan's wife's feet, said after the game that he would not address those comments. (Welker sat out the first offensive series of the game for the Patriots, benched for his smack talk.)
"We've always respected them," Welker said. "I respect the Jets and Rex Ryan. They did a great job [Sunday]."
Belichick said he didn't think any of the trash-talking during the week was a distraction. But judging from Branch's comments, the Jets are clearly under the Patriots' skin.