Saints07010 -- 17Patriots7773 -- 24

After coaching them to a victory that came down to the last play, Bill Belichick finally shared his burden with his players in the locker room: His father had died the night before.

"We're coming off the field all happy, and then you could hear people go, 'Whoa!' " NT Vince Wilfork said. "This game is for Bill and his father."

Steve Belichick, a former assistant coach at the Naval Academy for 33 years, died Saturday night of heart failure at age 86 after attending Navy's win over Temple in Annapolis, then watching more college games on television.

"I'm sure that's the way he would have wanted it to end," his son said, keeping his composure in brief postgame remarks.

The coach watched Tom Brady throw three touchdown passes and lead scoring drives of 98 and 93 yards as the Patriots remained atop the AFC East.

Aaron Brooks had two scoring passes to set a club record with 116, one more than Archie Manning, but the Saints lost their sixth straight game.

FIRST QUARTER

New England: Branch 2 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick), 2:30.

SECOND QUARTER

New England: Vrabel 1 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick), 13:30.

New Orleans: Stallworth 7 pass from Brooks (Carney kick), 1:12.

THIRD QUARTER

New England: A.Davis 60 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick), 4:19.

FOURTH QUARTER

New England: FG Vinatieri 37, 7:52.

New Orleans: Stallworth 12 pass from Brooks (Carney kick), 5:00.

New Orleans: FG Carney 46, 2:20. Drive: 8 plays, 34 yards, 1:08.

Attendance: 68,756.

SaintsPatriotsFirst Downs 2320Total Net Yards 425326Rushes-Yards 21-8730-132Passing 338194Punt Returns 4-281-23Kickoff Returns 4-1143-59Interceptions Ret. 0-01-0Comp-Att-Int 27-50-115-29-0Sacked-Yards Lost 1-53-28Punts 4-32.25-47.4Fumbles-Lost 0-01-1Penalties-Yards 11-995-50Time Of Possession 32:5727:03RUSHING

New Orleans: A.Smith 11-32, Brooks 3-30, Stecker 7-25.

New England: Evans 16-74, Pass 13-53, Brady 1-5.

PASSING

New Orleans: Brooks 27-50-1-343.

New England: Brady 15-29-0-222.

RECEIVING

New Orleans: Horn 6-80, Stallworth 6-76, Hilton 6-72, Stecker 6-72, Hakim 2-41, Karney 1-2.

New England: Branch 5-38, Watson 4-66, Pass 2-36, Evans 2-21, A.Davis 1-60, Vrabel 1-1.

MISSED FIELD GOAL

New Orleans: Carney 30 (WL).