Patriots beat Redskins 34-27
LANDOVER, Md. (AP/ABC7) - Tom Brady threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns, and Rob Gronkowski set an NFL single-season record for most touchdown catches by a tight end Sunday as the New England Patriots won their fifth straight, beating the Washington Redskins 34-27.
Gronkowski snagged his 14th and 15th scoring receptions, moving him past Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis. Gates had 13 in 2004, and Davis matched that total in 2009.
The Patriots (10-3) again overcame their bend-but-don't-break defense.
The Redskins drove to the New England 5-yard line late before Rex Grossman's pass went off Santana Moss' hands and was intercepted by Jerod Mayo with 22 seconds to play.
Washington (4-9) has lost eight of its last nine.
0:22 4th quarter: With the Redskins threatening to score and tie the game, the Patriots grab an interception at Patriots six-yard line when Santana Moss couldn't hold onto a Grossman pass and deflected the ball to a Patriot. After a review, the interception was confirmed. Game over.
6:30 4th quarter: Redskins' Josh Wilson made a leaping interception in the end zone to prevent a Patriots TD.
4:26 3rd quarter: Patriots TD. Patriots 34, Redskins 27.
6:58 3rd quarter: Redskins score, game tied 27-27.
At the start of the second quarter, the Redskins were leading 17 to 14 Patriots after a 49 yard touchdown pass from Banks to Moss.
It didn't begin as well. Less than 20 minutes into the game the score was already 7 Patriots, 0 Redskins.
The touchdown occurred when Rex Grossman was hit when he dropped back and the Patriots retrieved the ball.
But the Redskins earned three points when Gano made a field goal from the 24 yard line.
Next, a kickoff went out of bounds allowing the Patriots to take over. Tom Brady threw to Gronkowski for a touchdown bringing the score to 14 Patriots.
The Redskins gained back points when Grossman threw to Gaffney for a touchdown bringing the score to Redskins 10 in the last minutes of the first quarter.
Redskins play Patriots
Washington's London Fletcher says it's not difficult to name the best quarterback he's ever faced: Tom Brady.
The Redskins linebacker is speaking from experience. He has never missed a game in 14 NFL seasons, has started two Super Bowls and played in two Pro Bowls. He has dueled top quarterbacks from Dan Marino to Aaron Rodgers.
"Tom Brady is better than all those guys," Fletcher said of the New England Patriots' three-time Super Bowl winner and two-time NFL MVP who visits FedEx Field for just the second time on Sunday. "Look at what he has done: three rings, all those wins. It doesn't matter who his weapons are, he just keeps rolling."
Redskins receiver Donte Stallworth was one of those weapons during New England's perfect 16-0 regular season in 2007.
"It was always easy with him controlling everything," Stallworth said. "He's always the first one there early in the morning and he's usually one of the last guys to leave. He's very smart back there, very calm in the pocket. He makes a lot of plays."
Fletcher and Stallworth weren't the only Redskins with high praise for Brady.
Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield started on the only team to beat Brady and the Patriots in a Super Bowl, the 2007 New York Giants, but he, too, raved about the man.
"You gotta hit him, you gotta harass him, you gotta bat balls, hopefully get an interception or two, maybe strip the ball," Cofield said. "He's a very tough guy. I've seen him take a lot of shots and he would pick himself up the next play and make a great throw on the very next play. The only way you can hurt Tom Brady is win."
Fletcher has only beaten Brady twice in 13 meetings. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive end Stephen Bowen have yet to do so.
"The key is not letting him sit in the pocket," said Bowen, part of a pass rush that's tied for third in the league in sacks per attempt. "If he's able to do that, he's going to be able to tear us apart."
Brady did that when he last faced the Redskins in 2007, directing a 52-7 dismantling of a defense that wound up ranked eighth and that led Washington to the playoffs.
"If he's not the greatest, he's gotta be in the top three," Haslett said. "He's poised, big, got an unbelievable arm, makes all the throws, can move enough to stay alive in the pocket, (his) leadership, understanding of the offense is outstanding. And he does it day-in and day-out."
Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker said he's looking forward to the challenge of facing one of the game's best quarterbacks for the first time.
Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is taking a more cautious approach to facing Brady.
"He's a very smart quarterback," Orakpo said. "All of a sudden, he's calling out audibles. He's great in preparation, great at attacking defenses. We have to be good with our pressure. We have to be tight in our coverages. Regardless if someone's on a receiver, he's throwing as if (the defender's) not even there."
Strong safety LaRon Landry remained sidelined Thursday with the groin he injured at Seattle and is unlikely to play against New England. Newly signed defensive lineman Chris Baker also missed a second straight day with an injured quadriceps.
Washington is without TE Fred Davis and OT Trent Williams, both suspended for the rest of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
In addition, safety LaRon Landry will miss his second straight game because of a groin injury.
It will be the fifth game Landry has missed this year and the third in four weeks.
He sat out the first two games of the season with a sore hamstring and was later sidelined when he aggravated the left Achilles tendon injury that hampered him most of last year.