Patriots 34

(10-3, 5-2 away)

Redskins 27

(4-9, 2-5 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 11, 2011

FedEx Field, Landover, MD 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 14 6 14 034
WSH 10 10 7 027

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brady (NE) - 357 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Helu (WSH) - 27 CAR, 126 YDS

Receiving: R. Gronkowski (NE) - 6 REC, 160 YDS, 2 TD

Pats survive pesky Redskins as Rob Gronkowski sets tight end TD record

Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. -- Tom Brady's first interception in more than a month led to a screaming match on the sideline.

That's how perfection-driven the New England Patriots are. On a day when tight end Rob Gronkowski is simultaneously strong and nimble while setting an NFL record, on a day when the defense again makes just enough plays to compensate for all the yards it allowed, on a day when a 34-27 score vs. the Washington Redskins meant a fifth straight victory, it was Brady who had to be calmed down after a rare fourth-quarter mistake.

With the Patriots leading by seven, Brady tried to find Tiquan Underwood at the back of the end zone and was instead picked off by Josh Wilson with 6:30 remaining. The Redskins then began a march downfield that could have sent Sunday's game to overtime -- even as Brady sat on the bench and exchanged words with offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.

"I threw a pretty bad interception, so he wasn't happy about it," said Brady, who completed 22 of 37 passes for 357 yards with three touchdowns and his first interception since Nov. 6. "And there was probably a long line of coaches and players that were pretty (upset) at me after that, but Billy got to me first. He let me have it; I deserved it."

And yet Brady had a 107.6 rating and upped his career touchdown pass total to 294, moving ahead of Warren Moon (291) into sole possession of sixth place all-time. Brady also surpassed the 4,000-yard mark for the fourth time in his career.

But the Patriots (10-3) have such high expectations that a miscue in a close win over a struggling team like the Redskins (4-9) gets the juices flowing between player and coach.

"We're both pretty emotional guys," Brady said.

Gronkowski, meanwhile, caught six passes for a career-high 160 yards and set the NFL single-season mark for touchdown receptions by a tight end. His 14th was an 11-yard grab that moved him ahead of Antonio Gates (2004) and Vernon Davis (2009), and No. 15 was a 24-yard scoring strike in the second half.

But it was the play immediately before No. 14 that everyone will remember.

Gronkowski made a diving catch, got up, dragged DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty a few yards and escaped while tiptoeing along the sidelines. Gronkowski tiptoed again when hit by Wilson and stumbled ahead to complete the 49-yard gain.

"That play was right in front of us," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "He did a great job there, getting the ball off the ground, breaking a couple tackles, staying in bounds -- he had almost no room to work with on the sideline. ... He's a tough guy to cover, a tough guy to match up on."

But the Patriots didn't have the game won until they caught a couple of breaks at the end of Washington's final possession. The Redskins drove from their own 20 to New England's 5, but Santana Moss' catch at the goal line was negated by a pass interference call on the receiver, and then Moss tipped a pass into the hands of linebacker Jerod Mayo to save the day for a New England defense that ranks last in the league in yards allowed -- and one that can't keep cutting it this close come playoff time.

"You kind of don't want to give up those yards in the first place," Patriots safety James Ihedigbo said. "But at the same time, we're going to bow our necks once we get down there, and say, 'Hey, they're not getting in the end zone.' "

The Redskins (4-9) amassed a season-high 463 yards but lost for the eighth time in nine games. Already playing without tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams -- both suspended for the rest of the season last week for violating the NFL's drugs policy -- Washington lost another offensive starter during pregame warm-ups when right tackle Jammal Brown injured his right groin.

But it was the officiating that had the Redskins steamed. In addition to the crucial flag on Moss, linebacker London Fletcher was whistled in the second quarter for a personal foul call that appeared particularly egregious. The referee announced that Fletcher hit a late-sliding Brady with a forearm to the head, but Fletcher's arm clearly hit the quarterback in the chest.

Coach Mike Shanahan said he thought the call against Fletcher was "horrible."

"We don't get no calls around here, man," Moss said. "You guys have been covering us for a long time. Y'all see what goes on out there. We blow our breath on one of the doggone guys over there and it's a penalty. Our quarterback gets killed -- and you just almost hit somebody that's a quarterback and we get flagged. So a lot of stuff goes on. But I guess we've got to play against a team and the ref."

Game notes

The Redskins were the only current NFL franchise New England had never beaten on the road. ... Roy Helu (126) became the first Washington rookie to run for 100 yards in three straight games. ... Patriots WR Wes Welker became one of three players in NFL history with four 100-catch seasons, joining Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison. ... Redskins FB Mike Sellers hyperextended his right elbow. ... The end zones were marked "Army" and "Navy," leftovers from the game the stadium hosted a day earlier.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2225
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5869
Total Yards431463
Yards per play7.46.7
Total Drives1110
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-42-5
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

neTD12:17Vince Wilfork Fumble Recovery (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, -4 yds, 0:52
wshFG6:46Graham Gano 24 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yds, 5:24
neTD5:54Rob Gronkowski 11 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 60 yds, 0:53
wshTD1:26Jabar Gaffney 9 Yard Pass From Rex Grossman (Graham Gano Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 84 yds, 4:29
wshTD15:00Santana Moss 49 Yard Pass From Brandon Banks (Graham Gano Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 49 yds, 0:00
neFG8:58Stephen Gostkowski 23 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 16 plays, 72 yds, 5:55
wshFG2:18Graham Gano 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 71 yds, 6:41
neFG0:03Stephen Gostkowski 24 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 75 yds, 2:13
neTD12:14Rob Gronkowski 37 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 2:55
wshTD7:05David Anderson 6 Yard Pass From Rex Grossman (Graham Gano Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 72 yds, 5:07
neTD4:37Wes Welker 24 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 2:32

Research Notes

The Patriots won at the Redskins on Sunday. It was the first time the Patriots have ever won at the Redskins. The Redskins were the only NFL franchise the Patriots had never beaten on the road. The Patriots have now defeated all 32 NFL franchises at least once on the road.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had quite the day today. In fact, it's the fifth-most receiving yards for a tight end since 1998. Shannon Sharpe set the all-time mark for a tight end in 2002 with 214 receiving yards in a game.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had quite the day today. In fact, it's the fifth-most receiving yards for a tight end since 1998. Shannon Sharpe set the all-time mark for a tight end in 2002 with 214 receiving yards in a game.
New England improves to 10-3 this season, their 9th straight 10-win season which matches the Colts (2002-10) for the 2nd-longest such streak in NFL history.

WelkerWes Welker had seven receptions Sunday to reach 100 for the season. He now has four seasons with 100-plus receptions, tied with some legendary figures.


GrossmanRedskins quarterback Rex Grossman threw hise fourth red zone interception of the season Sunday, tying him for the league lead in that category.

Rob Gronkowski: 3rd player in Patriots history to score at least 15 TD in a season. Curtis Martin did it twice, Randy Moss did it once (with a record 23 TD catches in 2007)
Brandon Banks: 1st player listed as a WR to throw a TD pass this season. Last to do so was Mohamed Massaquoi of the Browns last season. Last Redskins player with one was Antwaan Randle El in 2008.

ESPN Stats & Information