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Patriots romp turns lights out on MNF
Published December 27, 2005
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New England Patriots came up with a headline-grabber for ABC's final Monday night football game: Mike Vrabel, star receiver.
A linebacker who has made frequent productive appearances on offense for New England, Vrabel had two short touchdown catches, lifting the two-time NFL champions past the befuddled Jets.
Vrabel provided a unique touch to a game with little distinction other than its standing as the network's final Monday night broadcast, ending a 36-year run that began with a 31-21 Jets loss.
Otherwise, it was a routine performance by the AFC East champion Patriots as they tune up for the playoffs. Even Vrabel making like Jerry Rice wasn't entirely out of character: He has eight TD catches, three this season, which is tied for second on the Pats.
Not that the Jets seemed to know how dangerous Vrabel can be as he slipped behind David Barrett for scores of 1 and 2 yards in New England's fourth straight victory and sixth in a row over the Jets. Vrabel also had a sack, making him the first player with two TDs and a sack in a game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Patriots have won 18 of their past 19 games after Dec.1 and are hitting their stride while seeking an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl crown.
In brisk winds, Tom Brady, the league's leading passer, guided a ball-control offense that had absurd edges in yardage (321-171) and time of possession (43:21). He went over 4,000 yards passing for the first time in his superb six-year career.