It wasn’t easy in the nation’s capital (OK, Maryland technically), but the Patriots were able to come away with a win over the Washington Redskins, winning 34-27. The Skins were able to drive down within striking distance of tying the game with under a minute to play, but a Rex Grossman pass to Santana Moss got bobbled into Jerod Mayo’s hands, sealing the game for New England. The game was highlighted by the offenses of both teams, as neither defense could do much to stop the opposing team from moving the ball and scoring.
The Patriots have to thank their lucky stars that they have Tom Brady as their quarterback.
Tom Brady went 22-for-37 for 357 yards, 3 touchdowns and a pick. He was also the victim of two drops that would have been touchdowns by Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker. TE Rob Gronkowski showed again why he’s such an essential part of New England’s offense, catching 6 passes for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, his first of the day setting a new single-season record among tight ends in touchdown receptions. That touchdown was set up by a 37-yard catch-and-run where he broke several tackles and maintained his balance running up the sideline, and truly remarkable effort.
Brady’s interception came in the fourth quarter in the end zone on a pass intended for WR Tiquan Underwood. Underwood’s route was undercut by CB Josh Wilson. The Pats could have gone up at least by 10 had Brady not thrown the INT. After the play, CBS cameras caught a heated argument between Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, one in which two receivers stepped in to block a seated Brady from O’Brien and Bill Belichick had to break up. It appeared that Brady said that Underwood was open, and obviously O’Brien disagreed. The two were seen moments later sitting next to each other and reviewing photos of the previous drive.
The Patriot defense looked like it forgot to get on the plane to Washington. After an early defensive touchdown where Grossman was hit and fumbled in the end zone, recovered by Vince Wilfork, the Redskins pretty much had their way with the Patriots defense. The Skins piled up 463 yards on the defense and scored 27 points, and nearly had an opportunity to tie the game late. Receivers were often wide open, with former Patriots Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney having good games, combining for 10 catches, 188 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t just the passing game that enjoyed success. Rookie RB Roy Helu ran well, running 27 times for 126 yards (4.7 yards per carry). After last week’s fourth quarter defensive meltdown against the Colts, this was not the performance the Patriots were hoping for.
Next week, the Patriots travel to Denver to take on the Tim Tebow-led Broncos.