EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Brady’s record-setting victory was hardly smooth and easy. It also wasn’t the prettiest of his 187 regular-season wins.
Brady, who broke a tie with Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, had to rally the New England Patriots from a two-touchdown deficit in the first half before holding on for a 24-17 win over the New York Jets on Sunday to claim first place in the AFC East.
“I wish we had done better, but we won,” said Brady, who was limited early in the week with a sore left shoulder. “Probably a lot to learn from it. I wish we could have played better offensively. We got down early and came back. A good series before the half. We hung in there at the end.”
The Patriots (4-2) were playing their first game in 10 days after beating Tampa Bay 19-14 on Oct. 5, and appeared a bit rusty early as they fell behind 14-0 in the second quarter against the surprising Jets (3-3).
“This was something we needed,” said safety Devin McCourty, who had an interception. “We haven’t played particularly well in the fourth quarter. I thought this was big for us as a team to win when we had to play well in the fourth quarter.”
New York had a chance to tie the game after getting the ball back with 1:53 remaining, but the Patriots’ 32nd-ranked overall defense held on — forcing Josh McCown to throw incomplete on a desperation heave on fourth-and-16 from the Patriots 49, and ending the Jets’ three-game winning streak.
“The mood in this locker room,” running back Matt Forte said, “is we gave the game away.”
Brady, who already had the NFL mark for total victories, was visibly frustrated early, but got going in this one just before halftime as the Patriots tied it at 14 with 9 seconds left in the second quarter on a 2-yard TD catch by Rob Gronkowski .
Brady then marched the Patriots down the field on their opening drive of the second half, going eight plays and 75 yards to give New England its first lead at 21-14 with a 33-yard pass to Gronkowski .
Brady finished 20 of 38 for 257 yards with two touchdowns to Gronkowski and an interception. Dion Lewis also had a 1-yard TD run.
“Every time he gets mad, you know he’s in the game,” said Gronkowski, who missed the last game with a thigh injury. “It gets you fired up. Sometimes you get scared you got him fired up.”
After Stephen Gostkowski’s 28-yard field goal made it 24-14 50 seconds into the fourth quarter, New York appeared to make it a one-score game again on its next possession as Austin Seferian-Jenkins took a short pass from McCown and reached over the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown .
But officials reviewed the score and said the video replay showed that Seferian-Jenkins slightly lost control of the ball when Malcolm Butler nudged it loose as the tight end was crossing the plane of the goal line. Seferian-Jenkins didn’t regain control until after he had stepped out of bounds, resulting in a touchback — despite the ball never hitting the ground. That gave the Patriots back the ball, with the Jets’ sideline irate.
“I feel like I scored,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “But at the end of the day, that’s what the refs called. I’m going to go with what the refs said. But I’ve got to have better ball security.”
Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was less diplomatic: “I’m pretty sure everybody’s going to look back and say that was a B.S. call.”
Added McCourty: “We felt the ball was juggled a little bit, but I didn’t know which way it was going to go. As a defense, we’ll take it any day.”
But after the Patriots went three-and-out, the Jets were able to cut it to a one-score game on Chandler Catanzaro’s 28-yard field goal with 3:40 left. But their last-minute comeback attempt fell short.
The Jets talked all week about starting faster and McCown got things going right away in this one, capping a 13-play, 88-yard opening drive with a 1-yard TD pass to Seferian-Jenkins. They converted three third-down situations on the drive.
The Patriots’ second possession ended on a fumble by Mike Gillislee, and New York turned that into another score. McCown floated a pass over the outstretched arms of Butler and right to Jeremy Kerley, who leaped over the cornerback to snatch the ball and then skipped into the end zone untouched to make it 14-0.
It marked the first time New England trailed by 14 or more in the first half since Week 4 of the 2014 season at Kansas City.
Gostkowski was wide right on a 47-yard attempt in the second quarter — his first miss after making 12 straight. … McCown finished 31 of 47 for 354 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. … Seferian-Jenkins had a career-high eight catches for 46 yards.
The Patriots have won six of the last seven meetings with the Jets and 11 of the last 13. They have also won 11 straight road games, the second-best streak in team history since they won 12 in a row from 2006-08.
Patriots: home vs. Atlanta in a rematch of last season’s Super Bowl.
Jets: at Miami next Sunday.
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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister says he intends to establish a parliamentary committee to investigate the funding Israeli NGOs receive from foreign governments.
Benjamin Netanyahu told a gathering of Christian journalists in Jerusalem that the committee will probe “organizations that operate against” Israeli soldiers.
Such committees mostly serve as a way to shed light on a pressing public issue and tend not to have much bite. Israel already has a law, passed last year, which increases the regulation of many Israeli human rights organizations who receive foreign funding.
But Netanyahu’s announcement Sunday highlights the hostility against those groups from Israeli hard-liners. It comes after Israel convicted an Israeli soldier this year for shooting to death a wounded Palestinian attacker. That incident was caught on video by a human rights group.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Stephen Fincher hasn’t yet joined the Republican field running for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee, but that’s not keeping him from drawing a stark contrast to a former congressional colleague who wasted little time jumping into the race to succeed retiring Sen. Bob Corker.
Fincher, a gospel-singing farmer from the rural West Tennessee community of Frog Jump, is wrapping up a statewide tour to discuss whether he should run for Senate. A decision is expected as soon as Tuesday.
If he runs, Fincher will face Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a suburban Nashville Republican who jumped into the race with a polished campaign video within an hour of Gov. Bill Haslam’s announcement that he would not to run.
Fincher said in an interview that he didn’t feel the same kind of pressure to immediately get into the race.
“This is not the kind of decision you can make in 15 minutes,” he said. “The way I’m looking at this is: I’m a Tennessean and I want somebody that’s going to go stand up for me and fight for me, and not get in the trenches of this is just another wrung in the ladder or a notch in the belt to finish a 25 to 30-year career.”
Fincher was a political novice when he was elected to the House in 2010. He served three two-year terms before surprising many observers by announcing his retirement in 2016. Blackburn was elected to the state Senate in 1998 and has served in Congress since 2003.
Fincher said he decided to leave the House before a self-imposed six-term limit because he had to attend to a family cotton farm while his brother was struggling with an illness.
“The good Lord has taken care of my brother and he’s doing great now, or I couldn’t even think about this,” he said.
Fincher said he’s ready to hit the ground running if he decides to join the race that he likened to a sprint to the August 2018 primary. And he said he’s prepared for the inevitable attacks that he expects from outside groups supporting Blackburn.
“Marsha’s very conservative, and so am I. Our records are very similar,” Fincher said. “But our style of governing — if we decide to do this, people will be able to see a big difference in what we accomplish and what we go to Washington to do.”
Fincher already has quick answers at the ready for issues on which he has faced criticism from the tea party wing of his party, such as his work to renew the charter of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, a credit agency that helps overseas buyers get financing to purchase American exports.
Fincher said the criticism is unwarranted because the more than 100 Tennessee companies have used the bank, and that thousands of jobs have been created or protected in the process.
“President Trump is for it and President Reagan was for it, and it creates jobs and doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime and returns money to the Treasury?” he said. “Wow, really?”
Fincher said voters are frustrated by the dysfunction in Washington even though Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress.
“Instead of making the decisions that’s right for the country and the state, they’re worried about what Fox News is going to say or how they’re going to get on CNN,” Fincher said.
Blackburn is a regular fixture on cable and television news shows.
Fincher declined to say whether he would support current Republican leadership in the Senate, and said that that’s not something that regular voters care about.
“It’s not rocket science, but we’ve allowed too many career people to get into that bubble and don’t listen to average normal people out here that are electing them,” he said. “They’ve lost touch.”
Fincher said he supports Trump’s goals of lower taxes, job creation and more affordable health care. The challenge will be putting those initiatives into motion, he said.
“We need adults up there that are going to stand up for Tennessee and govern,” he said “President Trump has hit a nerve with a lot of people. They want something accomplished.”
SUBIC BAY, Philippines (AP) — Filipino and Australian naval forces darted across the sea and landed on a Philippine wharf in a disaster-response drill Sunday that reflects their deepening security ties in a region prone to calamities, piracy and territorial rifts.
Lt. Col. Daniel Turner of the Australian Defence Force said the naval maneuvers in Subic Bay, northwest of Manila, will strengthen the two countries’ ability to jointly respond to typhoons and other disasters when roads, bridges and ports are damaged or destroyed.
The drills reflect the strengthening security relations between the two U.S. allies despite Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s often antagonistic stance toward American security policy. Australia and the United States have deployed surveillance aircraft to help Filipino troops quell a disastrous siege by pro-Islamic State group militants in southern Marawi city.
During the maneuvers, more than 100 Philippine marines and Australian naval personnel took off from an Australian navy ship, the HMAS Adelaide, on board troop carriers then rushed to a port at Subic Bay, a former U.S. naval base. Two Associated Press journalists were allowed to witness the exercises from a helicopter.
When typhoons and floods happen, “traditional infrastructure is damaged and the only way we could get to the affected area is through helicopters and landing craft,” Turner said. “Our militaries can operate together, support those affected people.”
Australia signed a 2007 accord that allows its forces to train in the Philippines. Australia is the only country aside from the United States with which Manila has forged such a defense pact, commonly known as a status of forces agreement.
Subic Bay faces the South China Sea, where China, the Philippines and four other governments have long-unresolved territorial disputes, but Australian officials stressed that Sunday’s exercises were aimed only at improving the ability of Australian and Philippine forces to deal jointly with natural catastrophes.
Australia does not take sides in the disputes, but Captain Jonathan Earley, commanding officer of the Adelaide, said his government has an interest in keeping regional stability and the rule of law.
“What that includes is our ability to conduct freedom of trade, so trade is unimpeded, and that countries do have that ability to exercise freedom of navigation,” Earley said.
Associated Press videojournalist Iya Forbes contributed to this report.
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joe Maddon was ejected by the umpires Saturday night, but his real beef is with Major League Baseball’s rules.
Maddon was tossed for arguing an overturned call at home plate in the Chicago Cubs’ 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the NL Championship Series opener, then let loose on baseball’s rule governing potential collisions with catchers.
In the seventh inning, the Dodgers’ Charlie Culberson was originally called out at home after a single by Justin Turner. After a video review that took 2 minutes, 45 seconds, Culberson was ruled safe because of the way catcher Willson Contreras blocked the plate.
Contreras extended his left leg as he caught the ball, preventing Culberson from touching home as he slid past. MLB instituted a rule prior to the 2014 season banning catchers from blocking home plate until they have possession of the ball.
After the replay, Maddon stormed out of the dugout and began to argue, first with plate umpire Lance Barksdale and then crew chief Mike Winters.
Winters let him make a brief case before tossing him.
Maddon said he got ejected to make a point.
“I’m not arguing against the umpires. I thought the umpires did a great job,” Maddon said. “I thought the game was well-officiated. I thought whoever had to make that decision, you put them in a bad decision in a replay booth in New York City.”
Maddon called it “a great baseball play” and said he thought the throw from left fielder Kyle Schwarber took Contreras toward the baseline.
“He catches the ball and his technique was absolutely 100 percent perfect,” Maddon said.
Maddon reiterated that he “could not disagree more with the interpretation” of the rule.
“The umpires did everything according to what they’ve been told, but I, from Day One, have totally disagreed with the context of that rule. I think it’s wrong. I think anybody that’s played major league or even minor league baseball will agree with me 100 percent on that,” he said.
The defending World Series champions had their manager’s back.
“I made a basic play,” Contreras said. “The ball drove me to that position. I can’t do more. I did what I needed to do.”
John Lackey, who pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief, agreed.
“It’s sad the direction our game has gone. That’s a textbook play by the kid and he got penalized for it,” Lackey said.
Maddon said the home plate collision rule “gets interpreted kind of like tantamount to the soda tax in Chicago, for me.”
Cook County repealed its unpopular tax on sugary drinks this week.
Asked to explain, Maddon said: “Suddenly we’re taxing soda back there. My point is, all rules that are created, or laws, aren’t necessarily good ones. That’s my point.”
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball