Final: Patriots win 34-27
The Redskins somehow extended the Patriots into the final drive, but lost for the eighth time in nine outings, a 34-27 decision to New England.
The Redskins entered the fourth quarter trailing by a touchdown, but after trading punts with the Patriots to open the final frame, they seemed sure to fall further behind. New England quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots into the red zone. On second and goal from the 4, he looked for receiver Wes Welker over the middle, but the ball was slightly behind him, and Welker couldn’t hang on.
On third down, Brady looked for receiver Tiquan Underwood in the back of the end zone, but Underwood was well covered by Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson. Wilson came up with his first interception of the season – his first as a Redskin – and prevented a game-clinching New England touchdown.
That led to a strange sight: Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien screaming at each other on the sideline. O’Brien, a former assistant at Maryland, had to be pulled away from Brady by another Patriots’ assistant.
The turnover gave the Redskins the ball at their own 20, and quarterback Rex Grossman converted an important third-and-8 play with a 13-yard completion to Donte Stallworth. On third and 2 from the New England 44, Grossman found Jabar Gaffney for 23 yards to keep the drive alive again.
On second and goal from the 5, the Redskins appeared to have a touchdown when Grossman hit Santana Moss near the right pylon. Moss, though, was called for pushing off on a New England defensive back, a 10-yard penalty for offensive pass interference. Two plays later, Grossman looked for Moss again. But the veteran receiver bobbled the ball into the arms of Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, who came up with the game-clinching interception with 22 seconds remaining.
The Redskins and Patriots traded touchdowns in the third quarter as New England carried a 34-27 lead into the final quarter of player.
New England opened the second half with a quick 80-yard drive that took less than three minutes On third-and-12 from the 37-yard line, Tom Brady lobbed a pass over the shoulder of tight end Rob Gronskowski. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was flagged for holding Gronkowski, but it didn’t matter. Gronkowski ran the final 22 yards into the end zone, giving New England a 27-20 lead. With the game barely half over, Gronkowski already had 155 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Not to be outdone, the Redskins tied the score again on their ensuing drive. Rex Grossman hit receiver David Anderson for a six-yard touchdown, knotting the score at 27 apiece. The touchdown strike marked the most points the Washington offense has put on the scoreboard this season.
Making sure neither punter would break a sweat, the Patriots marched down and scored on their next possession. On first-and-10 from the 24-yard line, Brady escaped pressure, froze linebacker London Fletcher with a slight pump and then hit Wes Welker with a 24-yard touchdown pass, which gave the Patriots a 34-27 advantage.
Through three quarters, Roy Helu had tallied 105 yards on 21 carries, becoming the first Redskins rookie to post three straight 100-yard games.
The Redskins and Patriots entered halftime tied 20-20 after a first half that featured plenty of scoring, one big trick play and some questionable flags.
The Redskins did manage to post their highet-scoring half of football since a 2010 contest against Dallas. Washington took the lead over New England on the first play of the second quarter, when offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan dipped deep into his playbook and pulled out a trick play.
Kick returner Brandon Banks lined up in the slot, and Rex Grossman was in the shotgun. Grossman handed the ball to running back Roy Helu, who quickly pitched to Banks. Banks kept running across the field, giving receiver Santana Moss time to sprint downfield. By time the left-handed Banks finally flung the ball in the air, Moss was wide open. He caught the ball at the 16-yard line and ran untouched into the end zone to give Washington a 17-14 lead.
The Patriots answered with a 16-play, 72-yard drive but couldn’t get in the end zone. On third-and-two from the Redskins’ five-yard line, tight end Aaron Hernandez dropped a possible touchdown in the end zone, and New England had to settle for a 23-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to tie the game.
The Redskins responded with a 71-yard scoring drive of their own, one that was aided significantly by a yellow flag. On third and nine from the Patriots’ 22-yard line, Grossman was under pressure and threw an interception into the arms of cornerback Devin McCourty. But New England defensive end Andre Carer was flagged for a personal foul for hitting Grossman below the knees.
The penalty gave Washington first-and-10 from the 11-yard line, but the Redskins failed to get in the end zone. Graham Gano’s 25-yard field gave Washington a 20-17 lead.
New England would benefit from a close call by the officials on their ensuing possession. On second-and-four, Brady scrambled and as he started to slide, he was greeted by Washington linebacker London Fletcher -- and a penalty flag.
Much to his dismay, Fletcher was called for unnecessary roughness for his hit on Brady, giving the Patriots first and 10 from the Washington 10-yard line. They were unable to get in the end zone, though, and Gostkowski kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired to tie the game 20-apiece.
Also in the half, the Redskins lost Mike Sellers for the game with an elbow injury. He returned to the sidelines with his right arm in a sling.
The Washington Redskins and New England Patriots got off to a high-scoring start as the first quarter ended with New England up 14-10.
The Redskins opened the game without starting right tackle Jammal Brown, who suffered a right groin injury during pre-game warm-ups. Without him, Tyler Polumbus started at right tackle while Sean Locklear started at left tackle in place of the suspended Trent Williams.
Washington went three-and-out on its first possession, and New England took over at its own 36. Tom Brady completed a 24-yard catch-and-run to Deion Branch on their team’s first play from scrimmage. But Washington’s defense buckled down, and Brady threw three incompletions to set up a Patriots punt.
Washington was pinned at its own 4-yard line, and that set up former Redskin Andre Carter for the play of the quarter. On third-and-9 from the 5, Carter blew past left tackle Willie Smith (who took Locklear’s place on that series) and hit Grossman hard, forcing him to fumble in the end zone. New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork recovered the ball for the touchdown.
On the next possession, Washington threatened to score a touchdown, but ended up having to settle for a field goal. Grossman completed a 51-yard bomb to Donte Stallworth – the longest completion of the season for Washington – down to the New England 14-yard line.
After a nine-yard completion to Stallworth two plays later, Grossman moved the Redskins to the 2-yard line, but they came no closer, and Graham Gano made a 24-yard field goal to put the Redskins on the board.
The Patriots’ offense struck quickly following Gano’s kickoff (which went out of bounds and set up New England to take over at their own 40), using a two-play, 60-yard scoring drive to score. Tom Brady completed a short pass to a diving tight end Rob Gronkowski at the 50, and he got up and started darting downfield. Safeties Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes tried to wrestle the 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end to the ground, but he broke the tackles and rumbled down to the 11-yard line. Washington challenged the play to determine whether he had stepped out of bounds, but lost. On the next play, Brady completed a touchdown pass to Gronkowski, and New England went up 14-3.
The Redskins’ offense fired back, however, putting together an eight-play, 84-yard drive that was capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney from Grossman.
Washington trailed 14-10 heading into the second quarter.
A down-note for the end of the quarter was the loss of fullback Mike Sellers, who injured his elbow on the ensuing kickoff. He headed to the locker room and appeared unlikely to return.