Official website of the New England Patriots

replay
Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed Apr 14 | 12:00 AM - 11:55 PM

Patriots a touchdown better than Saints, 24-17

evans_112005.jpg

]()A 20-yard run and 15-yard catch by Evans wasn't enough to allow the Patriots a quick end of half score and the Patriots went to the locker room with its 7-point lead.

Ever since the Brady fumble in the first half, the New England offense had gone cold. The trend continued with its first try of the second half that included the third sack of Brady on the day.

Meanwhile, the Patriots defense was having trouble getting off the field and that trend also continued. On their first drive of the second half, the Saints converted a third and 3 with a scrambling 5-yard pass from Brooks to Horn. Worse, after two penalties, New Orleans was first and 30 and then second and 26 and still managed to get within a third and 1 situation. Stecker was stopped for no gain at the Patriots 43 and the Saints elected to punt on fourth down.

The Saints would immediately regret that decision.

After taking over at its 7, Pass caught the Saints defense off guard with an off-tackle run on third and 9 for 31 yards. Before they could catch their breath, Brady went over the Saints defense to Andre Davis with a 60-yard touchdown pass.

The third quarter ended with the Saints second and 3 from the Patriots 20. This time, the Saints were driving without having to convert third downs going 8 plays from their own 29. A 9-yard completion to Stecker again avoided third down and gave new Orleans first and 10 from the 11.

[

wilfork1.jpg

]()Vince Wilfork batted down the first down attempt by Brooks and Stecker ran for 4 yards on second down, finally bringing up a third down from the 7. Brooks was chased out of the pocket by Willie McGinest and threw incomplete bringing up fourth and 6. Amazingly, John Carney was off on a 32-yard field goal attempt, wide left.

New England followed the miss by going 61 yards and 11 plays for a 37-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal to make the score 24-7. No big plays were needed by the Patriots on this one. The Saints Mike McKenzie was flagged for roughing early in the drive and then Will Smith completely self-destructed later, kneeing Christian Fauria during a pile-up and then carrying on after the flag in protest. He drew three flags in all with only one being enforced to the Saints 14.

Brooks pulled his team within 10 with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Stallworth with five minutes left to play. Stallworth also converted a third and 6 earlier in the drive with another 12-yarder.

Brady looked long twice to Davis on New England's next possession but just missed both times. The Saints took over and managed a 46-yard Carney field goal to make things interesting at 24-17.

Another shot play to Davis missed and the Saints held, forcing New England to punt. New Orleans had the ball back with 1:36 and a timeout at their 22.

Brooks started the drive with a 23-yard completion to Stallworth and then a 9-yarder to Hilton. He kept for a run of 20 yards but on third and 10 from the 22 he looked to Horn in the end zone with time running out and Eugene Wilson came up with the interception to end the game.

Notes: Inactives for the Patriots: Corey Dillon; Kevin Faulk; Monty Beisel; Tom Ashworth; Matt Light; Bethel Johnson; David Givens; Matt Cassel (3rd QB). Saints inactives: Lance Moore; Anthony Thomas; Joey Thomas; Courtney Watson; Ben Archibald; Rodney Leisle; Ernie Conwell; Adrian McPherson (3rd QB). ... Both Daniel Graham and Troy Brown suited up but didn't play. ... All of the Patriots pregame inactives were due to injury. ... Bill Belichick's father died the night before the game of heart failure. Steve Belichick was 86 years old.

[

mcginiest_brooks.jpg

]()Just when this one looked like it was well in the Patriots control, the Saints came marching back, within a touchdown and with the ball with around a minute and half to play. But a Eugene Wilson interception of an Aaron Brooks pass to Joe Horn in the end zone with no time left gave the Patriots the win.

Brooks finished with 343 yards passing (27 of 50), two touchdowns and the pick.

His counterpart had three touchdowns with 222 yards passing (15 of 29). Several of Tom Brady's imcompletions came on long passes intended for Andre Davis that just missed.

In the end, a healthy mix of pass and run kept the Saints defense guessing.

Heath Evans had his second solid game in a row, running for 74 yards on 16 carries and catching two balls for another 21 yards. Between Evans and Patrick Pass, back from his hamstring injury, New England rushed for 132 yards.

Benjamin Watson came up big on the Patriots first scoring drive with three receptions.

The Saints Mitch Berger punted from Patriots territory on his team's first possession and pinned the Patriots at their own two but New England managed to drive into Saints land thanks in large part to a 29-yard Brady to Watson hook-up on third and 10 from the 15. Later in the drive, New England went for a fourth and 2 and again it was Watson with a 4-yard catch. On the very next play, Brady hit the big tight end down the seam for 23-yards to the Saints 5. On third and goal from the 2, Branch slipped behind the Saints linebackers and Brady found him wide open in the end zone to complete the 98-yard drive. It was a 16-play, 8:05 defense back-breaker that included three third down conversions and a fourth down.

[

pass_112005_2.jpg

]()Brady and crew made it two for two early in the second quarter. After the defense held New Orleans to three and out following the Patriots score, last week's hero, Heath Evans, caught a 6-yard pass and then knocked off an 11-yard run. Brady next hit Patrick Pass on a well executed screen for 29 yards to the Saints 2. After an Evans run for 1, Brady went to linebacker/tight end Mike Vrabel for the score.

A Will Smith strip-sack kept New England from really piling on the points still in the second quarter. Brady was second and 10 on the Saints 20, poised to add to the Patriots 14-0 lead. Smith got around Nick Kaczur and hit Brady on his blindside. Colby Bockwoldt of the Saints recovered.

Brooks took advantage of the turnover with a 28-yard bullet to Joe Horn who evaded both Mike Stone and Vrabel until he was pulled down at the Patriots 32. But on fourth and 5 from the 27, the Saints went for it and Brooks' pass to Horn fell incomplete with Ellis Hobbs in coverage. New England took over on downs.

After its quick start, the New England offense slowed down and at the two-minute warning, it was New Orleans that was threatening. After converting a third and 11 with a 32-yard completion to Az-Zahir Hakim, the Saints faced another long third down situation, this time third and 20 from midfield. Running back Aaron Stecker ran a crossing pattern and blew by Tedy Bruschi after the catch, racing to the 28 where Stone took him down. On the next play, Brooks hit Stecker again for 21 yards to the 7. Donte Stallworth was on the receiving end of Brooks' touchdown pass from the 7 and with 1:12 left in the first half, the Saints had pulled within 7 at 14-7.

[

evans_112005.jpg

]()A 20-yard run and 15-yard catch by Evans wasn't enough to allow the Patriots a quick end of half score and the Patriots went to the locker room with its 7-point lead.

Ever since the Brady fumble in the first half, the New England offense had gone cold. The trend continued with its first try of the second half that included the third sack of Brady on the day.

Meanwhile, the Patriots defense was having trouble getting off the field and that trend also continued. On their first drive of the second half, the Saints converted a third and 3 with a scrambling 5-yard pass from Brooks to Horn. Worse, after two penalties, New Orleans was first and 30 and then second and 26 and still managed to get within a third and 1 situation. Stecker was stopped for no gain at the Patriots 43 and the Saints elected to punt on fourth down.

The Saints would immediately regret that decision.

After taking over at its 7, Pass caught the Saints defense off guard with an off-tackle run on third and 9 for 31 yards. Before they could catch their breath, Brady went over the Saints defense to Andre Davis with a 60-yard touchdown pass.

The third quarter ended with the Saints second and 3 from the Patriots 20. This time, the Saints were driving without having to convert third downs going 8 plays from their own 29. A 9-yard completion to Stecker again avoided third down and gave new Orleans first and 10 from the 11.

[

wilfork1.jpg

]()Vince Wilfork batted down the first down attempt by Brooks and Stecker ran for 4 yards on second down, finally bringing up a third down from the 7. Brooks was chased out of the pocket by Willie McGinest and threw incomplete bringing up fourth and 6. Amazingly, John Carney was off on a 32-yard field goal attempt, wide left.

New England followed the miss by going 61 yards and 11 plays for a 37-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal to make the score 24-7. No big plays were needed by the Patriots on this one. The Saints Mike McKenzie was flagged for roughing early in the drive and then Will Smith completely self-destructed later, kneeing Christian Fauria during a pile-up and then carrying on after the flag in protest. He drew three flags in all with only one being enforced to the Saints 14.

Brooks pulled his team within 10 with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Stallworth with five minutes left to play. Stallworth also converted a third and 6 earlier in the drive with another 12-yarder.

Brady looked long twice to Davis on New England's next possession but just missed both times. The Saints took over and managed a 46-yard Carney field goal to make things interesting at 24-17.

Another shot play to Davis missed and the Saints held, forcing New England to punt. New Orleans had the ball back with 1:36 and a timeout at their 22.

Brooks started the drive with a 23-yard completion to Stallworth and then a 9-yarder to Hilton. He kept for a run of 20 yards but on third and 10 from the 22 he looked to Horn in the end zone with time running out and Eugene Wilson came up with the interception to end the game.

Notes: Inactives for the Patriots: Corey Dillon; Kevin Faulk; Monty Beisel; Tom Ashworth; Matt Light; Bethel Johnson; David Givens; Matt Cassel (3rd QB). Saints inactives: Lance Moore; Anthony Thomas; Joey Thomas; Courtney Watson; Ben Archibald; Rodney Leisle; Ernie Conwell; Adrian McPherson (3rd QB). ... Both Daniel Graham and Troy Brown suited up but didn't play. ... All of the Patriots pregame inactives were due to injury. ... Bill Belichick's father died the night before the game of heart failure. Steve Belichick was 86 years old.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising