With Gillette Stadium nearly half-empty after fans assumed that the New England Patriots had thrown away their last chance to win the game, Tom Brady delivered a drive to savor on Sunday.
Taking over at his 30-yard line with 73 seconds remaining, no timeouts left and the Patriots trailing the previously unbeaten New Orleans Saints 27-23, a vintage Brady rallied his team to a 30-27 win.
Brady’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with just 5 seconds left capped the 70-yard drive in which the Patriots marched downfield.
The Saints (5-1) had taken a 24-23 lead with 3 minutes, 29 seconds remaining on Drew Brees’ 34-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills, but could not put away New England.
The Patriots (5-1) survived an interception by New Orleans’ Keenan Lewis on their first snap after Garrett Hartley’s 39-yard field goal made it 27-23.
In Arlington, Texas, Dwayne Harris returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and set up another score with a 90-yard kickoff return, as the Dallas Cowboys handed Robert Griffin III his first loss in his home state with a 31-16 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Dallas’ Tony Romo had just 170 yards passing a week after getting 506 in a wild 51-48 loss to Denver.
In Baltimore, Maryland, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson and Mason Crosby kicked four field goals as the Packers held on to beat the Ravens 19-17.
Eddie Lacy rushed for 120 yards to fuel the Packers’ first road win of the season.
Green Bay (3-2) took a 16-3 lead into the fourth quarter and were up 19-10 with 4 minutes left, but the Ravens (3-3) kept coming back.
In Denver, Colorado, Peyton Manning threw for two scores and Knowshon Moreno ran for three to lead the Broncos to a tougher-than-expected 35-19 home victory over the winless Jacksonville Jaguars.
Manning finished 28 for 42 for 295 yards, but lost two fumbles and threw a pick-6 — a 59-yard interception return by Paul Posluszny that pulled the Jaguars (0-6) within 14-12 at halftime.
Jamaal Charles ran for two touchdowns and the Kansas City defense harassed Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor into throwing three second-half interceptions as the Chiefs remained unbeaten with a 24-7 win over the Raiders in the Missouri state capital.
Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders and Shaun Suisham kicked four field goals, as the Steelers downed the Jets 19-6, while Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score in the Florida Panthers’ 35-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
In other games, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Arizona Cardinals 32-20, the St Louis Rams downed the Houston Texans 38-13, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Tennessee Titans 20-13, the Cincinnati Bengals edged the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in overtime, the Detroit Lions were 31-17 winners over the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-20.