Wide receiver Andre' Davis hauled in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady with 4:19 left in the third quarter, giving the Patriots a 21-7 lead. The touchdown catch was Davis' first as a Patriot and was the 14th scoring grab of his NFL career. The 60-yard reception was the second-longest catch of Davis' career, following his 99-yard scoring reception for the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 17, 2004. Davis' touchdown catch was the longest scoring reception by a Patriot this season and the longest scoring grab for a New England player since Deion Branch hauled in a 66-yard touchdown at Denver on Nov. 3, 2003.
Eugene Wilson thwarted the Saints' final attempt to tie the game when he intercepted an Aaron Brooks pass on the final play of the game. On third-and-10 from the New England 22-yard line, Brooks attempted a pass to the end zone to Joe Horn with nine seconds left in the game. Wilson jumped in front of Horn and intercepted the pass as time expired. It was Wilson's first interception of the 2005 season and his ninth career regular-season interception. Wilson grabbed four interceptions in both 2003 and 2004 regular seasons, and his four picks in 2004 led the team. He also added two interceptions in the 2004 playoffs, both against Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game.
Tom Brady's 60-yard touchdown completion to Andre' Davis was his longest scoring pass of the season and his second longest completion of 2005, trailing only his 71-yard pass to Troy Brown at Carolina on Sept. 18. The pass was the fourth-longest touchdown of Brady's regular-season career, following a 91-yarder to David Patten (10/21/01), an 82-yarder to Troy Brown (10/19/03) and a 66-yarder to Deion Branch (11/03/03). Brady has now thrown seven touchdown passes of 30 yards or longer this season, and Davis becomes the sixth different receiver to join that club (Bethel Johnson, Daniel Graham (2), Benjamin Watson, Deion Branch, Tim Dwight).
IT'S ADAM'S HOUSE
Gillette Stadium has been a happy home for Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, but has consistently been a house of horrors for visiting kickers. Including his successful 37-yard boot in the fourth quarter today, Vinatieri has converted 56-of-67 career boots (83.6 percent) at Gillette Stadium since it opened in 2002, including 32-of-42 (76.2 percent) from 30 yards or more. In contrast, Patriots opponents have not been nearly as successful. Following John Carney's 1-for-2 performance today, Patriots opponents have been successful on just 22 of 41 field goal attempts (53.7 percent) from 30 yards or longer in the history of Gillette Stadium and have his just 37-of-56 (66.1 percent) overall. Since 2002, Gillette Stadium has been the hardest place in the NFL for opposing kickers to convert field goals of 30 yards or more.
With his 53 rushing yards on the day, Patrick Pass has now run 34 times for 179 yards on the season, surpassing his previous career high for rushing yards in a season. His previous career high for rushing yards in a season was 141 in 2004. In addition, the 31-yard run by Pass in the third quarter marked a career long for the running back. His previous career-long run was a 19-yard rush at St. Louis on Nov. 7, 2004.
In just two games with the Patriots, Heath Evans has surpassed his four-year career rushing total. Evans, who rushed for 84 yards against Miami last week and 74 yards today, has now amassed 158 yards on 33 carries in the past two games. Prior to Evans joining the Patriots, including four years with the Seattle Seahawks and the first five games of the 2005 season with the Miami Dolphins, he had rushed 34 times for 108 yards.
The Patriots began their first possession at their own 2-yard line, but broke onto the scoreboard with a 16-play, 98-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Deion Branch and a 7-0 Patriots lead. The 98-yard drive was the longest for the Patriots since Nov. 3, 1996, when they drove 98 yards on three plays in a 42-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Foxboro Stadium. That drive ended with an 84-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe to Ben Coates. Today, New England's game-opening drive covered 98 net yards (103 yards gained, minus five penalty yards). The Patriots converted three third downs and one fourth down (at the Saints' 32-yard line) to keep the drive alive. On today's drive, Tom Brady completed seven of 10 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, while Patrick Pass handled all of the rushing chores, notching 21 yards on six carries. Benjamin Watson led all receivers on the drive with 56 yards on three receptions, while Branch totaled 19 yards on three receptions and Pass added a catch for seven yards.
TOUCHDOWN FOR VRABEL
Linebacker Mike Vrabel lined up at tight end and grabbed a 1-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the second quarter, scoring his second touchdown of the season - and his first on offense - to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead. Today's score was Vrabel's fourth career regular-season touchdown reception and his sixth career receiving touchdown including playoffs. He now has five career regular-season touchdowns, including his 24-yard interception return for a score at Carolina on Sept. 18, 2005. Every one of Vrabel's receptions in the regular-season and playoffs have resulted in a touchdown catch. The ninth-year linebacker out of Ohio State has recorded two touchdown receptions in Super Bowl play (XXXVIII and XXXIX).
Tom Brady's three passing touchdowns today marked his 17th career game in which he has thrown three or more touchdowns, including the playoffs. In those games, Brady boasts a stellar 16-1 record, with his only loss coming against Indianapolis on Nov. 7, 2005. In his career, Brady has thrown for multiple touchdowns (2 or more) 41 times, and has amassed a 36-5 record in those games, including the playoffs.
* With his next catch, wide receiver Troy Brown will become just the second player in Patriots history to record 500 career receptions. The 13th-year veteran currently owns 499 career catches, a total that ranks second on the team's all-time receiving list. Stanley Morgan holds the Patriots all-time record with 534 receptions.
- Adam Vinatieri needs just 10 points to surpass Gino Cappelletti on the Patriots all-time scoring list. Following today's game, Vinatieri has 1,121 career points, trailing Gino Cappelletti's team-record of 1,130 points.
BRANCH FROM BRADY
Deion Branch caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady with 2:30 left in the first quarter, giving the Patriots a 7-0 lead. The touchdown catch was Branch's third in the last four weeks and his fourth of the season. The fourth-year wide receiver and Super Bowl XXXIX MVP has now caught 13 career touchdown passes. For Brady, the touchdown was his 15th scoring pass of the season and the 112th of his career.
WATSON SETS CAREER MARKS
Tight end Benjamin Watson set single-game career highs today with four receptions for 66 yards. Watson's previous career marks were 55 yards (vs. Oakland 09/08/05) and three receptions (set in each of the last two weeks). Last week at Miami, Watson recorded his first career two-touchdown game, including catching the game-winning scoring grab with 2:16 left in the game. In his last three games, Watson has caught 10 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
WILLIE MAC ATTACK
Willie McGinest sacked Aaron Brooks for a 5-yard loss in the second quarter, giving him a team-leading 3.5 sacks this season. McGinest raised his career total to 75.5 career sacks and ranks third on the Patriots' all-time sacks list, trailing only Andre Tippett (100.0 career sacks) and Julius Adams (79.5 career sacks). Additionally, McGinest's 75.5 career sacks rank second among all active NFL linebackers, trailing only teammate Chad Brown's career total of 78.0 career sacks.
* Ellis Hobbs broke up a third-down pass from Aaron Brooks to Joe Horn to end the Saints' first offensive possession and force a New Orleans punt.
- Tom Brady completed a 29-yard pass to Benjamin Watson on third-and-10 to extend the Patriots' first drive of the game. Including his 23-yard grab later in the drive, Watson has seven catches of 20 yards or more this season.
- Brady completed a 4-yard pass to Watson on fourth-and-two in the first quarter, extending the Patriots' first touchdown drive.
- Patrick Pass grabbed a 29-yard pass in the second quarter, marking his third catch of more than 20 yards this season.
- Running back Heath Evans accounted for 60 yards from scrimmage in the first half (6-39 rushing, 2-21 receiving).
SELLOUT STREAK AT 122; LOCAL TV STREAK AT 253
Today's game is the 122nd consecutive home sellout for the Patriots, including regular-season, preseason and playoff games. The sellout streak dates back to the 1994 season opener and is now in its 12th season. The streak began on Sept. 11, 1994 - Robert Kraft's first regular-season game as owner of the Patriots. Additionally, today's game is the 253rd straight Patriots game to be televised locally. New England fans have not been faced with a blacked-out game since Dec. 26, 1993 against Indianapolis at Foxboro Stadium