FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady knows it will take a while to get in sync with his rookie receivers. Meanwhile, he keeps winning.
The 14-year veteran threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to one of those newcomers, hitting a wide-open Aaron Dobson on the game’s first series before both offenses played as sloppily as the second-half weather, and the New England Patriots got by the New York Jets 13-10 on Thursday night.
Thirteen of Brady’s 19 completions went to veteran Julian Edelman, who knew the offense better than the three rookie wide receivers.
“It’s unrealistic for them to feel like they can do it like 10-year veterans. That’s not what they are,” Brady said, “but they’re trying hard and they work real hard and they have a lot of skill.”
That applies to another rookie, Jets quarterback Geno Smith. But he completed just 15 of 35 passes for 214 yards with three fourth-quarter interceptions and was sacked four times.
“Geno had his (good) moments,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “I don’t know how many balls we dropped today, but it was a bunch.”
The Patriots (2-0) punted 11 times and managed just nine first downs after leading the NFL in points and yards last season. Only two of their 16 possessions gained more than 22 yards, and 81 of their 232 yards — more than a third — came on their opening series.
“We have a long way to go,” said Brady, who completed 19 of 39 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown. “No one is coming to (our) rescue and save the day, so we’ve just got to fight through it.”
The Jets (1-1) cut the lead to 13-10 on Bilal Powell’s 3-yard touchdown run with 5:05 left in the third quarter. But Smith threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, two to Aqib Talib and one to Alfonzo Dennard. Talib’s second with 38 seconds left sealed the victory.
“During that time in the game, you’ve got to be more mindful of the situation,” Smith said. “With the costly mistakes, that was completely on me.”
The only touchdown of the first half came on the first series when Brady hit Dobson down the right side. It was the first reception for the second-round draft choice, who missed the opening 23-21 win over the Buffalo Bills with a hamstring injury.
It marked the 50th straight game in which Brady has thrown a touchdown pass. Drew Brees, whose streak has ended, holds the NFL record of 54.
Stephen Gostkowski’s 21-yard field goal made it 10-0 before Nick Folk kicked a 37-yarder for the Jets after Smith’s 9-yard pass to Clyde Gates, originally ruled a touchdown, was changed to an incompletion after the replay. Gostkowski added a 30-yarder with 5:05 left in the half, but the Patriots didn’t score again.