While there was nothing during the day that showed the New England Patriots could mount a comeback with dropped passes and interceptions plaguing their last two drives, the team still at 1:13 left to work with and 70 yards to travel.
Like Jim Carey said in Dumb and Dumber, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
Seven plays later and with only five seconds left on the clock, the Patriots were celebrating a Kenbrell Thompkins touchdown in the back of the end zone to cap off a 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints.
“We had everybody going to the end zone and he (Thompkins) kind of snuck into the corner and I put it up there for him and he came down and made a great catch,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said.
The Pats improve to 5-1 with the win and face the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 20
Stevan Ridley led the Patriots with his best performance of the season, rushing for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
The first one came on second and goal during the second quarter on a one yard blast up the middle to put the Patriots up 10-7 with 13:04 left in the half.
After forcing a three and out, the Patriots switched to the no huddle for a 12-play, 66-yard drive that resulted in a four-yard score by Ridley with 7:39 remaining.
For Saints’ tight end Jimmy Graham, it was a day of frustration that resulted in no catches for the league’s leader in reception yards. With Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington defending Graham all day, the tight end struggled to get open with Arrington intercepting a ball aimed at him with 12:20 left in the game. The resulting drive would produce a 23-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski and put the Patriots up 23-20.
“One thing they do a good job with, is they disrupt you at the line of scrimmage better than anyone. They do a really good job of getting hands on receivers and tight ends,” Saints head coach Sean Peyton said.
New Orleans would respond with an 81-yard drive that would be capped off with a 34-yard pass to Kenny Stills in the right corner of the end zone with 3:35 left in the game. The extra point would put the Saints up 24-23 with time ticking away.
The lead would extend to four after the Patriots lost the ball on downs but the third time was the charm as quarterback Tom Brady completed a pass to Julian Edelman for 23 yards and followed that up with a pass for Austin Collie for another 15.
With 39 seconds left, Brady picked up another six yards with a completion to Aaron Dobson before a pair of incomplete passes. Brady found Collie again for a nine-yard gain at the New Orleans 17-yard line with 24 seconds remaining.
After spiking the ball with 11 seconds remaining, Brady was able to get the ball to Thompkins in the back of the end zone for the winning touchdown.
The following game notes are courtesy of Patriots Media Relations:
BRADY TURNS IN 38th CAREER GAME-WINNNG PERFORMANCE
Tom Brady led the Patriots on an 8-play, 70-yard game-winning drive, ending in a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kembrell Thompkins with five seconds left that gave New England a 30-27 win. The victory marked the 38th time that Brady has led his team to victory following a fourth-quarter deficit or tie. He has accomplished the feat 31 times in the regular season and seven times in the playoffs. Brady also led New England to a fourth-quarter comeback in the 2013 regular-season opener at Buffalo. Against the Saints, New England got the ball on its own 30-yard line with 1:13 remaining, trailing 27-23, and with no timeouts. Brady proceeded to complete five-of-seven passes for 70 yards to lead New England to the win. On the drive, Brady completed three quick passes in a row (to three different receivers) to put the Patriots in position to win, firing off a 23-yard completion to Julian Edelman, a 15-yard completion to Austin Collie and a 6-yard pass to Aaron Dobson to set New England up at the New Orleans 26-yard line with 35 seconds left. Following two incompletions, Brady completed a 9-yard pass on fourth down to Collie, and then following a clock-killing spike, Brady tossed the game-winning 17-yard touchdown to Thompkins with 5 seconds remaining.
PATRIOTS SCORE THE MOST POINTS IN 2013 AGAINST THE SAINTS
The Patriots offense put up 30 points against New Orleans today, tying New England’s highest point total of the season. The New Orleans defense entered the game fourth in the NFL in points allowed with 14.6 points per game. Before today, the most points the Saints gave up in a game in 2013 was 18 at Chicago on Oct. 6.
THOMPKINS SNARES GAME-WINNING SCORE; LEADS TEAM WITH 4 TD CATCHES
Kembrell Thompkins had three catches for 45 yards, including the game-winning 17-yard touchdown reception with five seconds left. The touchdown was Thompkins’s team-high fourth scoring catch of the season.
GOSTKOWSKI KICKS A CAREER-LONG 54-YARD FIELD GOAL IN THE THIRD QUARTER
K Stephen Gostkowski connected on a career-long 54-yard field goal in the third quarter. His previous best was a 53-yard field goal, which he did three times – vs. Tampa Bay (9-22-13), vs. Arizona (9-16-12) and at Denver (10-11-09). Gostkowski was three-for-three on field goals against New Orleans, and has now hit 11 straight field goals dating back to Week Two.
GOSTKOWSKI HAS MOST 50-YARD FIELD GOALS IN TEAM HISTORY
Gostkowski connected on a career-long 54-yard field goal in the third quarter and is now 9-of-12 from 50 yards or more as a member of the Patriots. The nine 50-yard field goals are the most in team history.
PATRIOTS FORCE A TURNOVER FOR THE 33rd STRAIGHT GAME
The Patriots have now forced a turnover in 33 straight games dating back to 2011 after Kyle Arrington intercepted a Drew Brees pass in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a first down at the New Orleans 20-yard line. It is the longest active streak in the NFL. The NFL record for most consecutive games with a turnover since the merger in 1970 is 71 by Philadelphia from 1985-1990. The last time the Patriots did not register at least one turnover was on Oct. 9, 2011 vs. the New York Jets.
BRADY PASSES FRAN TARKENTON FOR FOURTH PLACE ON NFL TD LIST
Tom Brady threw his 342nd career touchdown pass in the final minute of the game to tie Fran Tarkenton for fourth on the NFL’s all-time touchdown pass list. Dan Marino is third with 420 touchdowns.
Brady (46,286) moved past Vinny Testaverde (46,233) for eighth place on the NFL’s all-time passing list. Fran Tarkenton is in seventh place with 47,003 passing yards.
EDELMAN SURPASSES SINGLE-SEASON CAREER BESTS
Julian Edelman had five catches for 57 yards, raising his season totals to 41 receptions for 411 yards. The 41 catches and 411 receiving yards represent single-season career highs for Edelman, topping his previous career bests of 37 catches for 359 yards as a rookie in 2009.
EDLEMAN ON GOOD PACE
Julian Edelman now has 41 receptions and is on pace to finish with 109 receptions. He would become the third Patriots player to finish with 100 receptions, joining Wes Welker and Troy Brown.
TE MICHAEL HOOMANAWANUI SETS SINGLE GAME HIGH
Michael Hoomanawanui had a career high 57 receiving yards on four catches, besting his previous mark of 46 receiving yards, achieved twice, most recently on Dec. 23, 2012 at Jacksonville. Hoomanawanui’s longest catch was for a 19-yard gain on third-and-18 in the second quarter. That reception was Hoomanawanui’s longest of the 2013 season.
JEROD MAYO ON 100-TACKLE PACE
LB Jerod Mayo finished with six tackles and now has a team-leading 61 total tackles. He is on pace to finish with 163 total tackles. Mayo has registered 100 or more tackles in five straight seasons and needs one more 100-tackle season to tie Fred Marion (6) for the all-time lead in team history.
PATRIOTS ARE 5-1 OR BETTER FOR THE NINTH TIME IN TEAM HISTORY
The Patriots have won five of their first six games of the 2013 season, marking the ninth time in team history that New England has won at least five of its first six games. In addition to this year, New England was also 5-1 in 2011, 2010, 2006, 1997, 1980, and 1974, and was 6-0 in 2007 and 2004. The Patriots have made the playoffs in each of the last six seasons in which they have started 5-1 or better.