New England Patriots defeat New York Jets, 31-21

In the absence of real competition, amusing little subplots are what make evenings like this tolerable, or even fun.

Who didn't expect the outcome we had? It was Patriots 31, Jets 21, and that's not exactly a shockah. Their season having been ruined by injury long ago, the battered Jets were fulfilling a schedule requirement. Their true season just beginning, the Patriots were dotting their I's and crossing their T's as they prepare for a proper defense of their title.

The Patriots didn't run the ball well last night, but they did the next-best thing. They ran it often.

The Patriots came out clearly intending to pound the football and dominate the clock, and they did in the first half of their 31-21 victory over the sad-sack New York Jets at Giants Stadium. They piled up 101 yards rushing by halftime and controlled the ball for 23 minutes and 34 seconds. This meant their defense was well-rested every time it went on the field, and tha...

To prevent an ugly scene from developing, they decided not to serve alcohol to the fans at the Meadowlands last night.

So they served them the New York Jets instead?

Or, more accurately, the Patriots served the Jets, pounding their AFC East rivals, 31-21, in the final ''Monday Night Football" game on ABC.

There may not have been much of the country tuned in by the time Doug Flutie relieved Tom Brady for the final five minutes of garbage time. Only a handful of Jet...

From Gifford, Cosell, and Meredith to Michaels and Madden, the Patriots have had plenty of history on ''Monday Night Football."

Last night's game against the Jets was the final Monday night telecast on ABC, ending a 36-year run for the network with the history-making series.

Coach Bill Belichick said he was humbled to be part of the final chapter.

''I'm fortunate and honored to be a part of this game in the National Football League with the New England Patriots," ...