New Orleans -- Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a game-winning touchdown with five seconds left to cap off an improbable rally and hand the New Orleans Saints (5-1) their first loss of the season.
It appeared the Saints were headed for 6-0 after making their late fourth quarter drives count, scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 3:29 left and then adding a field goal to lead 27-23.
Trailing 23-17, and facing a 3rd-and-20, Drew Brees found rookie receiver Kenny Stills in the endzone on a 34-yard touchdown strike to put the Black-and-Gold up by one.
The Saints defense held on the Patriots' ensuing drive, with the Pats failing on their fourth down attempt. New Orleans worked the clock before settling for a 39-yard Garrett Hartley field goal to increase their lead to 27-23.
Keenan Lewis then intercepted a Tom Brady pass on New England's next possession, appearing to lock up the win.
However, the Saints were unable to fully run out the clock, and Brady quickly moved the Patriots 80 yards on seven plays in the final minute for the win. Brady found Kenbrell Thompkins, who beat Jabari Greer in the endzone.
Brees finished the game 17-of-36 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Khiry Robinson led the ground game with 53 yards on seven carries. The Saints totaled 136 rushing yards.
In the first half, the Patriots dominated the time of possession and built a 10-point halftime lead at 17-7. The Pats ran 22 more plays than the Saints through two quarters and had 18 first downs compared to just six for New Orleans.
The Patriots received the ball to open the game and marched 60 yards on 14 plays. Cam Jordan sacked Tom Brady on third down in the redzone thanks to great coverage in the secondary to force a field goal.
Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 35-yarder to put New England on top 3-0. The Saints went three-and-out on their opening drive.
The Saints would force a New England punt and then put together a nine-play, 73 yard scoring drive. Drew Brees found seldom-used running back Travaris Cadet on 3rd-and-goal for a three-yard touchdown to give New Orleans a 7-3 lead.
However, the Patriots immediately responded with a touchdown drive of their own, moving 80 yards on nine plays. Running back Stevan Ridley scored on a one-yard plunge up the middle to put New England back on top 10-7.
Following another three-and-out from the Saints, the Patriots increased their lead with another Ridley touchdown from four yards out to make it a 17-7 game. It capped off another long drive of 12 plays and 66 yards.
Ridley tallied 61 yards on 11 carries in the first half and finished with 96 yards for the game on 20 carries.
Drew Brees was 9-of-19 for 111 yards through two quarters. Jimmy Graham did not have a reception in the first half.
Defensively, the Saints tallied four sacks but the Patriots still gained 232 total yards before the break.
New Orleans received the ball to start the third quarter and drove 70 yards on eight plays but had to settle for a 28-yard Garrett Hartley field goal to make it a 17-10 game.
On their next possession, the Saints found the endzone, moving 67 yards on nine plays, thanks in large part to the running game. Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson ripped off runs of 13 and 16 yards to spark the drive. Then Robinson ran in for a touchdown from three yards out to tie the game at 17-17.
At the end of the third quarter, the Patriots went back on top with a 54-yard field goal by Gostkowski.
Then following an interception of Drew Brees, the Saints defense held tough in the redzone and limited the Pats to another field goal. Gostkowski's 23-yarder was good and increased the lead to 23-17.
But then Brees and the Saints offense marched the ball down the field late in the fourth quarter, and on the 3rd-and-20, Brees found rookie Kenny Stills for the 34-yard touchdown. It capped off a 10-play, 81-yard scoring drive.
For the first time since his rookie season in 2010, tight end Jimmy Graham was held to zero receptions.
The Saints now enter their open date and will return to action on October 27th, hosting the Buffalo Bills.
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