NFL Team Report - New Orleans Saints - INSIDE SLANT
In the end, the New Orleans Saints gave New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady too many chances to be Tom Brady.
Brady, struggling with his new receivers most of the season, led his team down the field and hit rookie Kenbrell Thompkins with a 17-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left, giving the Patriots a 30-27 victory over the previously undefeated Saints.
"I just tried to put it back there where he could make a play," Brady said after Thompkins beat Saints cornerback Jabari Greer. "That was pretty sweet."
The loss by New Orleans (5-1) left the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos as the only unbeaten teams in the NFL.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, quiet in the first half, led his team back from two deficits. He hit Kenny Stills with a 34-yard touchdown pass with 3:29 remaining left to put New Orleans ahead 24-23.
After taking the lead, the Saints took advantage of two Patriots dropped passes -- and New England's decision to go for it on fourth-and-6 with all three timeouts left -- to take over on downs at the New England 24. New Orleans didn't eat up much time before Garrett Hartley's second field goal.
The Patriots got the ball back at their 20 with 2:24 left, but Brady's first pass was picked by Keenan Lewis. However, New England got the ball back again following a New Orleans punt.
Brady, sacked five times, finished 25-for-43 for 269 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception.
New Orleans nearly won even though tight end Jimmy Graham was shut out, much of the work done by cornerback Aqib Talib before Talib left with a hip injury. Graham suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury in the fourth quarter, came back and left again.
Brees, 9-for-19 in the first half, finished 17-for-36 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Both star quarterbacks were dreary at best until late.
"I know this -- you can't give Tom Brady and that offense three chances at a two-minute drill," Brees said. "This one's difficult because you certainly felt like you had a chance."
NFL Team Report - New Orleans Saints - NOTES, QUOTES
In addition to TE Jimmy Graham getting blanked, Saints WR Marcus Colston had only one catch for 11 yards.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That was a tough play. Jabari (Greer) makes that play all the time. We'll rally back." -- Safety Kenny Vaccaro, after his teammate was beaten for the winning touchdown.
NFL Team Report - New Orleans Saints - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
What we learned:
New Orleans can get production from others when the main guys are shut down. Running backs Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson both scored their first career touchdown, and with Jimmy Graham and Maruc Colston held to a combined one catch, the Saints were in position to win the game.
--The Saints probably were a tad overrated with their 5-0 record. Yes, 5-0 is 5-0, but the Patriots were ripe for the picking and should have been picked. Truly outstanding teams don't give away games like this one.