EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rex Ryan sent a message to the fans. His New York Jets delivered one of their own.
Rookie Mark Sanchez outplayed a Super Bowl champion quarterback, and the Jets backed up their big talk, shutting down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 16-9 on Sunday.
"We believe that we are the better team today," Ryan said. "We went out and showed it. I think our fans are huge in this victory."
So huge, in fact, that Ryan said he was giving the fans a game ball that would be placed in the team's trophy case.
"I thought they were the difference," Ryan said.
The victory was the first for the Jets (2-0) over Brady at home, and the first over the Patriots (1-1) at the Meadowlands since 2000.
And it came after a week during which Ryan reiterated his offseason comments that he didn't come to "kiss Bill Belichick's rings" and sent a voicemail to season ticket holders, urging them to be loud.
The fans clearly answered the call, causing a tough time for the Patriots' offense all game. Brady was forced into consecutive delay of game penalties in the third quarter.
"I've got to do a better job," Brady said. "They don't come up very often, but when they do, they hurt. And they hurt us today."
Sanchez came out throwing in the second half after a quiet first two quarters and connected with Dustin Keller on a go-ahead touchdown, and the Jets' defense clamped down on the Patriots.
"It's a major win for us," Ellis said. "To close that out and put an end to that, it's great."
Brady had a chance to tie it for the Patriots, getting the ball at the Pats 10 with 1:48 left, but the Jets' defense stopped him as Dwight Lowery knocked away a fourth-down pass to Joey Galloway.
"Honestly, I was thinking interception," Lowery said, "but the angle I was at, I couldn't really get a pick. Knocking it down was the second thought and I just got it out of there."
"We had a chance there," Brady said. "We just didn't execute in that 2-minute possession. It's something we've been good at, but the Jets were better at it today. It's frustrating. I think we had really high expectations for this game. We just didn't put it together very well."
Sanchez finished 14 of 22 for 163 yards and the touchdown to Keller, while Brady was 23 of 47 for 216 yards and an interception.