FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady still has a little magic left in that 36-year-old arm, after all.
With the Patriots trailing by four and looking down and out, Brady led the Patriots offense 70 yards in 1:08 and capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with 5 seconds left to give the Patriots a dramatic 30-27 victory over the previously undefeated Saints.
Things looked grim for the Patriots after Drew Brees tossed a 34-yard touchdown to Kenny Stills with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Patriots offense couldn’t find a groove in the second half, gaining just 74 yards until the last drive after they gained 232 and scored 17 points in the first half. Brady also didn’t have his top weapon for a majority of the second half after receiver Danny Amendola left the game with a head injury.
The Patriots won despite missing several key players by the end of the game.
Already playing without Rob Gronkowski (forearm, back) and defensive tackles Vince Wilfork (season-ending Achilles injury) and Tommy Kelly (knee), the Patriots lost top cornerback Aqib Talib (hip) and top linebacker Jerod Mayo (shoulder) in the second half, in addition to Amendola.
The defense played valiantly for most of the game, particularly Talib, who blanketed Graham and helped keep the Saints’ star tight end without a catch. Drew Brees only completed 17 of 36 passes for 236 yards, although the Saints averaged 5.0 yards per carry, with most of the damage done in the second half.
Brady finished 25 of 43 for 269 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Stevan Ridley, who returned to the lineup after missing last week’s 13-6 loss in Cincinnati, rushed 20 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns.