The New England Patriots defeat the New Orleans Saints 30 – 27 on a beautiful Tom Brady throw to Kenbrell Thompkins with 5 seconds left in the game.
The Patriots won in dramatic fashion, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. The Patriots had a good day, scoring 23 points and holding the Saints explosive offense in check for the most part. However, Tom Brady was unable to connect with Danny Amendola on a clear touchdown play when Amendola got way behind the Saints defense, Tom Brady under threw Kenbrell Thompkins for a touch down in the end zone when he had at least a step on the defender, and the Patriots settled for a field goal after Kyle Arrington intercepted Drew Brees on the Saints 20 yard line.
When a team leaves that many points on the field, especially against a Drew Bress led explosive Saints offense, it usually ends up in a loss. And that is what appeared to be the case this week. The Patriots, who led the game most of the way, and who shut own superstar tight end Jimmy Graham with 0 catches, and who held Marcus Colston to just a couple catches throughout most of the game, gave up a touch down drive late in the game to fall behind 24 – 23.
Drew Brees, who was basically held in check, at least by his standards, all day, hit a deep throw to rookie wideout Kenny Stills for the go ahead score with about 3:30 left in the game. Stills was tightly covered by Alfonzo Dennard, but Dennard missed the ball as he reached for it. As usual, Steve Gregory was a bit late getting over to help, and on a third down and 20, Brees did it again and put his team in the lead.
It looked bleak for the Patriots. The defense held up well after losing shut down corner Aqib Talib. Talib came up lame on a simple coverage without any contact. It appeared it could be a hamstring, but it was later reported he had a hip injury. Talib was visibly upset as he smashed his helmet to the ground as he went to the bench to sit down for the night.
The Patriots injury bug continued beyond that as well. Jerod Mayo went out with what will hopefully be a minor injury to his shoulder. His arm, while extended, got jarred, and he grabbed his shoulder in pain, and was seen getting attention on the sideline. It appeared that it could be a minor strain, however, it just as easily could be a muscle tear of some sort based on how his body was impacted. Danny Amendola was all but knocked out on the sideline after a big collision. He laid face down with his arms underneath him. He staggered to his feet with some help, and was clearly dazed and confused as he stumbled repeatedly while trying to make his way back to the bench. He almost certainly has a concussion, and he did not return. He probably thought he was in St. Louis because he definitely looked lost after getting up.
The New Orleans Saints also may have some cause for concern. Jimmy Graham, later in the game, came up lame. His ankle was seen getting taped up on the sideline, and he eventually limped into the locker room. There was no contact when he seemed to get hurt. Hopefully its nothing serious.
The amazing finish by the Patriots took a while to materialize. With 3:29 left, down 24 – 23, the Patriots went 3 and out on a weird series. A drop by the ‘Hooman’, which was called a completion, and then a drop by Brandon Bolden, a what would have been a tough catch on a ball that bounced off Edleman’s hands, left New England with a 4th down and 6 from their own 24 yard line. A perfect soft pass on a slant to Dobson that hit him in stride would have been an easy first down, but it was simply dropped!
The game surely appeared over at this point. However, the Saints were unable to pick up a first down. They kicked a field goal to make it 27 – 23. However, there was still 2:25 left on the clock and the Patriots had a time out. So on comes Brady. Yet on the very first play he went deep to Edelman and the ball was easily picked off by Lewis on the 30 yard line.
Now the game was definitely over, right? The Saints ran it on first down, and the Patriots burned their final time out. So it was third and 7 two plays later at the 2 minute warning. A designed boot leg to Brees’ left, left him vulnerable to a disciplined play by Chandler Jones who sacked Brees in the open field. The clock ran down to 1:13 after a punt landed out of bounds preventing Edelman from a return. So with 1:13 left and no time outs, the Patriots had yet another shot. Tom Brady did what you expect Tom Brady to do in this situation. Edelman held on after a vicious hit for a completion out past the 50. Then Austin Collie got his first catch as a Patriot, and with the clock ticking, a quick sideline pass to Dobson stopped the clock. On 2nd and 4, Edelmen was open in the end zone, but pressure forced and under throw by Brady. On 3rd and 4 from the 28 yard line, a pass to the 1 yard line was jarred lose from Edelman’s hands. On 4th and 4, a quick pass to Collie picked up the first down, and Brady spiked the ball with 10 seconds left from the 17 yard line.
On the next play, Kenbrell Thomkins went to the corner of the end zone, and on a pretty pass from Brady, Thompkins was able to out leap the defender, Jabari Greer, and pull it down for the go ahead score.
Wow! What a crazy 3:29 seconds. Even after failing to make it on 4th down from deep in their own end, the Patriots were able to rally to a victory.
A great win for the team. Edleman played a tough game. Talib before getting hurt was outstanding. Ridley had a strong day running the ball. Alfonzo Dennard, in spite of giving up a touchdown on which he had very good coverage, played a great game defending and tackling. Dan Connelly was lost for the day early in the game and Marcus Cannon filled in at right guard. He had a few blown coverages that ended in Brady sacks, but overall played well.
A lot of Patriots fans left the stadium too early and missed a fantastic finish.