Patriots: 25 Days celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1996 AFC title – Day 14

Two weeks to go in our look back at the 1996 AFC championship season for the Patriots.

Before we take a look at a dominant win over the Jets late in the season, a quick reminder that if you missed our live show on Monday night with Drew Bledsoe and Todd Rucci, do yourself a favor and find an hour to listen to it. Both of them were incredibly generous with their time and shared some amazing insight and stories into not just that season, but the early days of the Bill Parcells era.

On December 8, 1996, the Patriots hammered the Jets in Foxboro 34-10 a week after embarrassing the Chargers on national television. Only 54,621 were three to see it, which tells you just how terrible the Jets were back then and also how different the market is for Patriots tickets was 25 years ago.

win got New England to 10-4 while the hapless jets dropped to 1-13. Of course, a year later the Jets’ fortunes would change as Parcells would jump ship and bring them to an AFC title game.

That day, Curtis Martin carried the rock 21 times for 94 yards and a touchdown. Martin would join Parcells in New York after the 97 season. Bledsoe was 24-of-42 for 251 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Terry Glenn was targeted a ridiculous 16 times and he hauled in seven of them for 67 yards. Shawn Jefferson caught five balls for 91 yards and Ben Coates had just two catches for 18 yards but did add a touchdown. Adam Vinatieri went 4-4 kicking extra points and added two field goals as well.

Defensively, Ty Law had a 48-yard pick-six and Jerome Henderson also had an interception. As a unit, the Patriots held Glenn Foley, Keyshawn Johnson, Wayne Chrebet and Kyle Brady to just 244 yards of total offense.  New England also held the Jets to just 42 yards on the ground.

It was actually a slow start as Bledsoe hit Coates for a 2-yard TD in the first, but those were the only points scored in the first 15 minutes. After Vinatieri made it 10-0 on a short field goal in the second the Jets cut it to 10-3 with one of their own before a 19-yard TD rush from Martin pushed it to 17-3. Vinatieri booted a 41-yard field goal late in the half for a 20-3 halftime lead.

Johnson grabbed a 4-yard TD pass from Foley in the third for the Jets’ only touchdown. Ty Law’s interception return for a touchdown came in the third and Marrio Grier added a short TD in the fourth to cap the ass-kicking.

We’ll be continuing our 25 days celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1996 AFC championship tomorrow with a look at the final loss of the season (before the Super Bowl) against the big, bad Dallas Cowboys. Don’t forget to check out the New England Football Show from Monday night too!