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Game Notes: Patriots vs. Saints

Posted Oct 13, 2013

The following are game notes from the New England Patriots regular season game vs. the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, October 13, 2013.

BOUNCING BACK AFTER A LOSS
Since the beginning of 2003, the Patriots are 31-4 (.886) in regular season games following a loss, dropping back-to-back regular season games just four times over that span.

BELICHICK MOVES PAST HALL OF FAMER CHUCK NOLL IN WINS
Bill Belichick won his 210th career game to move past Hall of Famer Chuck Noll for 5th place all-time on the NFL wins list. Curly Lambeau is in fourth place with 229 career wins.

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.

PATRIOTS DEFENSE LIMITS JIMMY GRAHAM
New England’s defense held New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham without a catch. Graham entered the game averaging 188.6 yards per game. Patriots defensive backs made plays on passes from Drew Brees that were intended for Graham. Aqib Talib broke up a pass intended for Graham on second down in the first quarter, forcing a third-and-nine that the Saints did not convert as New England forced New Orleans into a three-and-out on its first possession of the game. Talib broke up another pass intended for Graham on third-and-ten in the second quarter, forcing the Saints’ second punt of the game. Kyle Arrington broke up a Brees pass intended for Jimmy Graham on second-and-10 in the second quarter, and later intercepted a pass intended for Graham in the fourth quarter.

JONES HAS A PAIR OF SACKS IN THE FOURTH-QUARTER
Chandler Jones had two sacks in the fourth quarter, raising his team-high total to 5.5 sacks. Both of Jones’s sacks helped lead to fourth-quarter scoring drives. Jones sacked Drew Brees for a 5-yard loss on third-and-seven in the fourth quarter, forcing a New Orleans punt on the next play and giving the Patriots the ball back with 1:13 left in the game and setting up New England’s game-winning drive. Jones also sacked Brees on second down in the fourth quarter, setting up a third-and-12 – the play on which Kyle Arrington intercepted Brees to give the Patriots the ball at the Saints’ 20-yard line, setting up a field goal and a 23-17 Patriots lead.

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 MOVES PAST VINNY TESTAVERDE FOR 8th PLACE ON THE NFL PASSING LIST
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.

COLLIE SEES FIRST ACTION WITH PATRIOTS; CONTRIBUTES ON WINNING DRIVE
Newly acquired WR Austin Collie played in his first game with the Patriots and finished with two catches for 24 yards. Both of Collie’s catches came in the final minute of the game on the Patriots’ game-winning drive, snaring a 15-yard reception to bring the Patriots to the Saints’ 32-yard line and then a 9-yard reception on fourth-and-four to set the Patriots up on the 17-yard line and set the stage for the game-winning touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Kembrell Thompkins following a clock-stopping spike.

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.

RB STEVAN RIDLEY RUSHES FOR TWO TOUCHDOWNS
Stevan Ridley scored two rushing touchdowns with a 1-yard run in the first quarter and a 4-yard run in the second quarter. It is the third time in his career that he has rushed for two touchdowns in a single game. He had two at Buffalo (9/30/12) and vs. Miami (12/30/12). Last season, Ridley finished tied for third in the NFL with 12 rushing touchdowns. The 12 rushing touchdowns are tied with Corey Dillon (2005 and 2004), Antowain Smith (2001) and Steve Grogan (1976) for fifth all-time in team history.

RIDLEY TOTALS SEASON-HIGH 96 RUSH YARDS
Stevan Ridley had 96 rushing yards on 20 carries to lead the Patriots’ rushing attack. The 96 rushing yards were Ridley’s highest single-game total since he had 97 rushing yards on Nov. 22, 2012 at the New York Jets.

DENNARD HAS A PAIR OF PASS BREAKUPS
Alfonzo Dennard provided tight coverage on Robert Meachem along the sidelines on third-and-10 in the third quarter, forcing a Saints punt on the next play. Dennard also broke up a Drew Brees pass intended for Marcus Colston on third-and-seven in the fourth quarter, holding the Saints to a field goal that resulted in a 27-23 New Orleans lead and kept the Patriots in the game.

ARRINGTON INTERCEPTION SETS UP POINTS
Kyle Arrington intercepted a Drew Brees pass intended for Jimmy Graham in the fourth quarter, giving the Patriots possession at the Saints’ 20-yard line and setting up a Stephen Gostkowski field goal that gave the Patriots a 23-17 lead. The interception was Arrington’s eighth since the beginning of the 2011 season, the most by a Patriot over that span (McCourty, 7).

PATRIOTS WICKED GOOD IN OCTOBER
The Patriots improved to 36-8 in the month of October since the 2003 season. The Patriots are 21-1 (.955) at home during that time in October. The only home loss since 2003 was a 41-17 victory by the visiting San Diego Chargers on October 2, 2005.

BRADY IS GOOD AGAINST THE NFC
Tom Brady improved his record to 38-9 record against the NFC overall as starter and 19-5 at home.

ROOKIE DL CHRIS JONES MAJES FIRST NFL START
Rookie DL Chris Jones made his first NFL start.

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 CONTINUE 2013 LATE-GAME HEROICS
Today’s game was the second game in 2013 where the Patriots have had a game-winning score with five seconds left in a game New England was trailing. Against the Saints today, the Patriots trailed 27-23, before Tom Brady hit Kembrell Thompkins on a 17-yard scoring pass to give the Patriots a 30-27 lead with five seconds left. In the season opener at Buffalo on Sept. 8, Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35-yard field goal with five seconds left to turn a 21-20 Buffalo lead into a 23-21 Patriots victory.

PATRIOTS DEFENSE FORCES KEY THREE-AND-OUT
The Patriots defense had a key three-and-out in the fourth quarter to set the New England offense up for the game-winning drive against New Orleans. After a Saints interception set New Orleans up at its own 30-yard line with 2:16 left and a 27-23 lead, Steve Gregory stopped New Orleans’s Khiry Robinson for a 2-yard gain on first down and the Patriots then took their final timeout. Gregory and Joe Vellano stopped Pierre Thomas for a 1-yard gain on second down, leading into the two-minute warning. Chandler Jones then sacked Drew Brees on third down, setting up a New Orleans punt that gave the Patriots the ball back with 1:13 remaining and setting up the game-winning drive.

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.

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