The New Orleans Saints lost a 30-27 heartbreaker to the New England Patriots on Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium as Tom Brady connected with Kenbrell Thompkins on a 17-yard touchdown pass with five seconds to play.
It was the Saints' first loss of the season and they will be 5-1 heading into next week's bye weekend. The Patriots improved to 5-1 with the improbable win.
The Saints appeared to have the game won when quarterback Drew Brees connected with Kenny Stills on a 34-yard touchdown to take a 24-23 lead. The Saints' defense then stopped the Patriots on four downs leading to a 39-yard Garrett Hartley field goal and a 27-23 lead with 2:24 to play.
Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis then intercepted Brady but the Saints were forced to punt and the Patriots took over at their 30 with 1:13 to play. Brady moved his team down the field until facing a fourth-and-4 on the Saints' 26-yard line. He converted by hitting Austin Collie for nine yards. After spiking the ball Brady connected with Thompkins for the touchdown.
Brady was 25 of 43 for 269 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Patriots led 17-7 at halftime as they controlled the action and took the lead behind two touchdown runs in the second quarter, one from a yard out and the other from four yards by Stevan Ridley. The former LSU star finished with 96 yards on 20 carries.
Brees was 17 of 36 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and one interception which came when he was trying to connect with star tight Jimmy Graham. New England's Kyle Arrington made the pick at the Saints' 20 but the defense held New England to a field goal, which made it 23-17 New England.
Stills made his touchdown grab over two defenders. He finished with three catches for 64 yards. Tight end Ben Watson had a good outing with three catches for 61 yards. All of the Saints' running backs had strong performances as Pierre Thomas carried 11 times for 51 yards and had a reception for 29 yards. Darren Sproles had six receptions for 58 yards and carried five times for 15 yards. In addition to the touchdown, Robinson had seven carries for 53 yards.
Graham didn't have a catch, the first time that has happened since his rookie season. He left the game briefly with some type of injury but returned to the field. Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan also left the game with an apparent injury.
The Patriots lost cornerback Aqib Talib to an apparent hip injury. He shadowed Graham for most of the game. Wide receiver Danny Amendola was also forced out of the game after taking a big hit.