Rex Ryan: 'I think we're going to beat them'

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Rex Ryan: 'I think we're going to beat them'

What happens when the Jets beat Indianapolis 35-9 and New England falls 24-23 to Seattle on the same Sunday?

Not to mention, one week before New York plays the Patriots?

Rex Ryan moves a chess piece.

"I want them to know, and they know that I think we're going to beat them," the Jets coach said Monday. "I don't buy into all that other stuff. I recognize they're a great football team. And Bill Belichick's a great coach. I never once said that he wasn't.

"But we're not going to back down or concede anything. They're going to get our best shot. We know we're going to get theirs. It really doesn't matter who says what. We're coming up there to take our swing. And we'll see if we land that punch to win a game."

Ryan -- by his own standard -- has been more subdued in boasting this season. Both his team and Belichick's are 3-3 in the AFC East's logjam of a division.

But it sounds like New York's win on Sunday, with its revitalized ground game (252 rushing yards), did something to bolster the coach's confidence.

And he seems to have noticed the Patriots impotence in close-out situations this season.

"Are they more vulnerable? I don't know. They've lost three games, that's probably more than they normally lose in a season," Ryan said. "We need to worry about ourselves."

A slight motion, perhaps, to tap the breaks.

The Jets are 3-4 against the Patriots during Ryan's New York tenure and there has been plenty of jawing in that span. You can believe he knows well enough now that the rivalry can only decided on the field.

He just likes to start the games a little early.

"We always get their best, and they always get ours," he said. "We'll see if our best is better than their best on that particular day. They've been the dominant team in our division. We've been second every year since I've been here. For us to get to where we want to get to or anybody in our conference they have to beat New England."

First impressions: Mitchell sees season-high in targets with Gronkowski out

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First impressions: Mitchell sees season-high in targets with Gronkowski out

FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hit impressions from Sunday's matchup between the Patriots and Rams . . . 

* How will the Patriots offense look without Rob Gronkowski? With a week to prepare for life post-Gronk, the Patriots leaned heavily on their three-receiver sets. That meant plenty of work for rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who saw a season-high in targets with 10. Tom Brady seemed more than happy to throw to Mitchell at the line of scrimmage with the Rams playing off-coverage, leading to relatively short-but-productive gains. 

* Brady seemed to take exception with something he saw from Mitchell during a drive mid-way through the fourth quarter. On the sideline, Brady looked heated while looking over pictures of the drive with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Brady was later caught on the Fox broadcast speaking to Mitchell on the bench. As well as Brady's young lockermate has performed, it was a moment that indicated he isn't doing everything perfectly just yet. 

* McDaniels got creative early with Gronkowski gone. He used the two-back pony set to start the game and handed off to Dion Lewis for four yards. He also found success with LeGarrette Blount and the Patriots running game, using four running plays on the first five snaps of the game. McDaniels then had his offense go five-wide and he sent Julian Edelman in motion. On the subsequent drive, McDaniels turned to the screen game to try to catch Los Angeles' aggressive front off-guard. 

* The Patriots offense stalled at points thanks in part to the Rams' front: Aaron Donald blew up a run play in the second quarter and on the same drive Brady was pressured on back-to-back snaps, leading to a punt. It wasn't an immaculate day from the Patriots offense, but against a talented defensive line, and without their most dynamic offensive player, they'll take it. 

* The Patriots locked things down defensively in what was an all-around dominant performance. Malcolm Butler bounced back after a difficult game versus the Jets, allowing just two catches for 12 yards on five targets until allowing a 66-yarder to Kenny Britt. He broke up two passes and picked off a gift when tight end Lance Kendricks let a pass bounce off of his hands and into the air. Devin McCourty was sound in coverage, breaking up two passes to Britt, a fellow Rutgers product. Britt later got him back for a one-yard garbage-time touchdown. Eric Rowe appeared to play well until suffering a hamstring injury that knocked him from the game. 

* Up front, Alan Branch played with abandon fresh off of finding out that he will not be suspended four games this weekend. He had three hurries, a quarterback hit and a stuffed run to continue his strong season. Rob Ninkovich (two hurries, a hit and a sack), Trey Flowers (four hurries and a hit) and Chris Long (one hurry, three hits and a sack) were pains for rookie quarterback Jared Goff. 

* Stephen Gostkowski was a perfect four-for-four on his field goals, knocking down a 48-yarder and a 45-yarder from the right hash mark and a 45-yarder from the left hash on consecutive drives. He also made both of his extra-point attempts. 

* Some special teams notes . . . Cyrus Jones muffed a punt from "weapon," as Bill Belichick called him this week, Johnny Hekker. The punt-return job was Danny Amendola's until Amendola suffered an ankle injury that knocked him from the game. That could be a critical injury to the Patriots in the kicking game. Amendola has also been a key part of the offense on third downs and in red-zone situations. Jonathan Jones was flagged twice on special teams.