Final

Patriots 31

(3-2, 2-1 away)

Falcons 28

(3-2, 2-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 9, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 14 0 14 331
ATL 0 13 0 1528

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brady (NE) - 350 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Dillon (NE) - 23 CAR, 106 YDS

Receiving: D. Graham (NE) - 5 REC, 119 YDS, 1 TD

Vinatieri's FG sends Patriots over Falcons, 31-28

ATLANTA (AP) -- The New England Patriots squandered a couple big leads. That was merely a setup for Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri, who pulled out one of their typical last-minute wins.

It was over when ...
The Patriots, facing second-and-20 at their own 26, gained 30 yards on a pass interference call with 3:29 remaining. Giving Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri 30 free yards to set up a game-winning field goal almost isn't fair.
Game ball goes to ...
Brady, who completed 22-of-27 for 350 yards for three touchdowns and another game-winning fourth-quarter drive.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen The Patriots have once again come up with a win that not many people thought they'd pull off because they have the ability to fight through adversity. They have three main ingredients who are the substance of the football team. The coach has a great knowledge of defensive football and knows what he needs to win personnel-wise. Offensively Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the league because he's calm, cool and collected. He always seems to give his team a chance to win and he has a great knowledge of his players, the offense as well as what the defense gives them. The third ingredient is Adam Vinateri because when he ran out to kick the game-winning field goal everyone knew the game was over.
-- Eric Allen

Brady threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns before Vinatieri kicked a 29-yard field goal with 17 seconds left to lead injury-plagued New England past the Atlanta Falcons 31-28 on Sunday.

The Patriots (3-2) avoided their first losing streak since 2002 despite blowing leads of 14-0 and 28-13 to a team that didn't have Michael Vick.

"We put a lot into this one," said Brady, who spouted off in defense of his teammates after a 41-17 loss to San Diego last week. "We've had doubters for a long time. We're just going to keep coming out and doing the hard things every week."

Matt Schaub filled in admirably for the injured Vick, matching Brady's three TD passes, including a tying score with 3:52 remaining. Schaub threw a 14-yard TD to Dez White and then went to Brian Finneran for a two-point conversion.

The Falcons (3-2) had all the momentum, but Brady wasn't concerned.

"We came into a tough environment against an excellent team and had a chance to win the game with three minutes left," he said. "I would take that any day of the week."

With Patriots backed up at their 26 on second-and-20, Atlanta cornerback Allen Rossum was called for a blatant pass interference on Deion Branch -- the last of a four-penalties-in-four-plays stretch that gave New England a first down at the Falcons' 44.

Patrick Pass, replacing the injured Corey Dillon, broke off a 15-yard gain that set up the 19th game-winning kick of Vinatieri's career -- two of those, of course, winning Super Bowls.

"The offense did a good job in the two-minute drill to get down there and use up all the clock," Vinatieri said. "We found a way to get it done. We've had some ups and downs this year, but this team has a lot of heart."

Vick went out the previous week with a strained ligament in his right knee. In a questionable use of the NFL injury report, he barely practiced all week but was listed as probable until Saturday, when the Falcons downgraded him to questionable.

On Sunday, Vick wasn't active, watching from the sideline, dressed out in a visor and gray sweatshirt.

"He wasn't ready to play," coach Jim Mora said. "It was an easy decision. When a player is not ready to play, you are not going to put him out there in harm's way. This team felt confident we could perform with Matt Schaub, and I think we proved that to be true."

Schaub, a second-year player from Virginia, completed 18-of-34 for 298 yards and didn't have any turnovers. Finneran caught five passes for 103 yards.

"I'm happy with the way I performed," Schaub said. "I thought I came out and made some good decisions and gave us a chance."

But the Falcons' defense couldn't slow Brady, who completed 22-of-27 to lead a 483-yard performance by the Patriots.

"He certainly was making some incredible passes today," defensive end Patrick Kerney said. "When you hit a guy square on his shirt and he's still hitting the receiver, it's frustrating."

Branch, MVP of the last Super Bowl, had eight catches for 107 yards. Tight end Daniel Graham piled up 119 yards on five receptions, including a 45-yard TD. Bethel Johnson hauled in a 55-yard touchdown catch, and Ben Watson went 33 yards with Brady's other scoring play.

Dillon rushed for 106 yards before he went to the locker room with an undisclosed injury late in the game, though he returned to watch Vinatieri's winning kick and wouldn't disclose the nature of his problem.

Pass had the first TD rushing of his career in the opening period.

The Falcons were hurt by potentially season-ending injuries to linebacker Edgerton Hartwell (Achilles tendon) and cornerback Chris Cash (arm). Also, Kerney was limited to passing situations after hurting his oblique (side).

Of course, the Patriots aren't sympathetic about injuries. They lost safety Rodney Harrison for the season and had 14 players on their injury report, including defensive end Richard Seymour, who didn't play.

Graham scored on a brilliant play, taking a simple screen for a long TD. Stephen Neal put a crushing block on Falcons linebacker Demorrio Williams, and then Graham bounced off Bryan Scott and dived into the end zone.

But Atlanta pulled to 14-13 at halftime with two field goals in the final 1:25. The first was expected, Todd Peterson punching through a 33-yarder.

Then, rookie punter Michael Koenen came out with six seconds left to try a 58-yarder, far beyond Peterson's range. The first was wide right, but New England called timeout to give Koenen another try.

This one went through with plenty to spare for the first field goal of his career and second-longest in Falcons history.

Game notes


Pass rushed for 34 yards on six carries in relief of Dillon. ... The Patriots' last losing streak -- a 24-7 defeat at Tennessee on Dec. 16, 2002, followed a week later by a 30-17 setback at home to the Jets. ... Morten Andersen has the longest field goal in Atlanta history, a 59-yarder in 1995.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NE
ATL
1st Downs2022
Passing 1st downs
1114
Rushing 1st downs
85
1st downs from penalties
13
3rd down efficiency
3-105-13
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays5863
Total Yards483400
Yards per play8.36.3
Total Drives1213
Passing342284
Comp-Att
22-2718-34
Yards per pass
12.27.7
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-83-14
Rushing141116
Rushing Attempts
3026
Yards per rush
4.74.5
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-20-3
Penalties11-838-84
Turnovers10
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession32:2527:35

Passing Leaders

NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady22/2735013.0311-8
ATLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Schaub18/342988.8303-14

Rushing Leaders

NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Dillon231064.6012
Pass6345.7115
ATLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Dunn19834.4013
Duckett5306.0018

Receiving Leaders

NERECYDSAVGTDLG
Graham511923.8145
Branch810713.4051
ATLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Finneran510320.6053
Crumpler69916.5128

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEATL
neTD5:10Patrick Pass, 6 yd run (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 82 yds, 3:46
70
neTD1:16Daniel Graham, 45 yd pass from Tom Brady (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 73 yds, 2:12
140
SECOND QUARTERNEATL
atlTD13:28Justin Griffith, 2 yd pass from Matt Schaub (Todd Peterson kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 72 yds, 12:31
147
atlFG1:29Todd Peterson 25 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 17 plays, 81 yds, 7:44
1410
atlFG0:06Michael Koenen 50 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 35 yds, 0:39
1413
THIRD QUARTERNEATL
neTD14:06Benjamin Watson, 33 yd pass from Tom Brady (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 78 yds, 0:49
2113
neTD5:58Bethel Johnson, 55 yd pass from Tom Brady (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 74 yds, 3:01
2813
FOURTH QUARTERNEATL
atlTD14:29Alge Crumpler, 25 yd pass from Matt Schaub (Todd Peterson kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 53 yds, 13:54
2820
atlTD3:57Dez White, 14 yd pass from Matt Schaub( for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 8 plays, 62 yds, 2:07
2828
neFG0:20Adam Vinatieri 21 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 53 yds, 3:27
3128