FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Brett Favre and the New York Jets stand alone atop the tight AFC East standings - barely.
Jay Feely kicked a 34-yard field goal on the only series of overtime after New England tied the game on Matt Cassel's pass to Randy Moss with one second left in regulation and the Jets survived a Tom Brady-like comeback with a 34-31 victory Thursday night.
The win broke a tie for the division lead between the teams and gave the Jets (7-3) sole possession of first place for the first time since Nov. 19, 2001, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Patriots (6-4) have won the AFC East the last five seasons and six of the last seven.
New England "had all the momentum,'' said Brett Favre, who threw two touchdown passes and directed the winning drive. "Based on history, you would have bet against us. This says a lot about our team.''
The Jets, who led 24-6 in the first half, extended their winning streak to four with their sixth victory in seven games and are 1 1/2 games ahead of Buffalo and Miami in the division. They beat the Patriots for only the second time in 13 games.
"It's a great, great feeling for us,'' Jets coach Eric Mangini said. "Everybody understands that this game was extremely important, and it's important because it allows us to make the next game (against Tennessee) extremely important. It's a really positive step for our team.''
The loss wasted a brilliant performance by Cassel, whose first pro start after Brady's season-ending knee injury in the opener came in a 19-10 win over the Jets. Cassel completed 30 of 51 passes for 400 yards, all career highs, and three touchdowns. He ran eight times for 62 yards, sixth-most in team history for a quarterback and the most since Steve Grogan ran for 65 in consecutive games in 1978.
"It's not enough,'' Cassel said.
The Patriots got the tying touchdown on Cassel's 16-yard pass on fourth down. Randy Moss' diving sideline catch was reviewed when he was pushed out of bounds by cornerback Ty Law, but the touchdown stood.
New England had marched to Randy Moss' touchdown from its 38-yard line with no timeouts and 1:04 left
Stephen Gostkowski's extra point tied it and erased a 31-24 lead the Jets had taken on Thomas Jones' 1-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left.
"I don't know what their record was in overtime,'' Mangini said, "but I'm sure they've been pretty successful.''
Brett Favre made his 263rd consecutive regular-season start, an NFL record, and went 26-of-33 for 258 yards and, on the only drive of overtime, marched the Jets 64 yards on 14 plays in 7:50. His 16-yard pass to Laveranues Coles brought the ball to the Patriots' 24-yard line, three running plays moved it to the 16 and Feely connected for his second field goal of the game - giving Brett Favre his 42nd win in games his team trailed or were tied in the fourth quarter.
"I was nervous as heck'' heading into overtime, he said. "I said, `Why can't we make this easy?' But it's what I'm capable of doing.
"This one ranks right up there near the top'' of all his wins.
The Jets scored on their first three series, plus a 92-yard kickoff return by Leon Washington, four days after scoring on all seven of their first-half possessions in a 47-3 rout of the St. Louis Rams.
Washington scored on a 7-yard pass play before the Patriots cut the lead to 7-3 on their first series on the first of Gostkowski's three field goals, a 42-yarder.
Feely kicked a 22-yarder for the Jets before Gostkowski connected again, from 31 yards to cap a 12-play drive.
New York needed just one play - Washington's return - to score on the ensuing kickoff. It was his first kickoff return for a touchdown this season after he tied a team record last year with three.
And when Brett Favre threw a 15-yard scoring pass to Jerricho Cotchery, the Jets led 24-6 with 4:57 left in the first half and the outlook was very bleak for the Patriots.
"We dug ourselves a hole,'' New England coach Bill Belichick said. "We made some plays to get back in there.''
Cassel threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Jabar Gaffney with 15 seconds left in the half and a 10-yarder to Benjamin Watson on the final play from scrimmage of the third quarter. Then New England made it 24-21 on Cassel's 2-point conversion pass to Gaffney.
"Anytime you can come back from a 24-6 deficit, it's a building block,'' Cassel said. "That was great for the team.''
The Patriots tied it on Gostkowski's 47-yard field goal with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter.
But they never led and never got the chance after the Jets won the overtime coin toss.
"We usually win those type of games,'' Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour said, "but there's still a lot of football left.''
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