FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — New England receiver Wes Welker sat out the Patriots' first offensive series in Sunday's playoff game against the Jets amid reports that he was benched for mocking New York coach Rex Ryan during the week.
Welker received a punt after the Jets' opening drive stalled. But when the Patriots' offense took the field, Julian Edelman was lined up at receiver.
In meeting with reporters Thursday, Welker made more than a dozen references to toes and feet, a not-so-subtle reference to recent foot-fetish reports involving Ryan and his wife. On the CBS television broadcast, the announcers said Welker was being punished for his comments.
Asked about the reports, Patriots spokesman Aaron Salkin said, "I guess we'll see."
New England's opening drive ended when David Harris picked off Tom Brady. Welker was back in the game for the Patriots' second possession.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes, Tom Brady was sacked five times and the trash-talking New York Jets reached their second straight AFC championship game with a stunning 28-21 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday.
The Jets backed up coach Rex Ryan's brash talk, forcing the team with the NFL's best record into rare errors and setting up a date in Pittsburgh next Sunday against the Steelers.
New York led its fierce rival 14-3 at halftime before Brady's 2-yard touchdown pass to Alge Crumpler and Sammy Morris' run for a 2-point conversion made it 14-11 late in the third quarter. But Sanchez came right back with a 7-yard scoring pass to Santonio Holmes and finished the upset with Shonn Greene's 16-yard touchdown run.
The Jets (13-5) kept Ryan's prediction of a Super Bowl appearance alive. The Patriots (14-3) lost their third straight postseason game.