The New England Patriots condemned the Washington Redskins to a fourth straight losing season as the visitors walked away with a 34-27 victory at FedEx Field Sunday afternoon.
The Redskins (4-9) thought they had tied the game with 1:15 remaining in regulation, but Rex Grossman's 5-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss was wiped out by an offensive pass interference call against Moss. Two plays later, another Grossman pass deflected off the hands of Moss and was intercepted by Jerod Mayo to seal Washington's defeat.
It was a wild end to a wild game that featured 894 total yards of offense and 47 first down, as well as six combined passing touchdowns from Tom Brady, Grossman, and Brandon Banks.
The winning score came with four-and-a-half minutes left to play in the third quarter as Brady found Wes Welker with a 24-yard pass to break a 27-27 tie. Brady had a chance to seal the win long before Mayo's interception as the Patriots drove to the Washington 4-yard line in the fourth quarter, but his pass was intercepted in the back of the end zone by Josh Wilson with 6:30 to play.
The scoring started on Washington's second possession, as quarterback Rex Grossman was sacked and fumbled the ball in the end zone after Zoltan Mesko's punt had pinned Washington back at its own 4-yard line. Vince Wilfork recovered the ball in the end zone to give New England (10-3) a 7-0 lead.
Washington cut their deficit to 7-3 with a 24-yard Graham Gano field goal on the ensuing possession, but Tom Brady needed only two plays to move the Patriots 60 yards in response.
First, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a 49-yard catch-and-run that brought the ball to the Washington 11. Then, Brady found Gronkowski again from 11 yards out to make the score 14-3.
However, the Redskins were quick to respond. First, Grossman found Jabar Gaffney with a 9-yard touchdown pass to cap an eight-play, 84-yard drive that was kept alive by a defensive pass interference penalty called on Devin McCourty on a third-down-and-18 play.
After the Patriots went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, the Redskins took a 17-14 lead on the first play of the second quarter with the help of some trickery. After Grossman handed the ball off to Roy Helu on a run to the right, the running back gave the ball to Brandon Banks, who ran back to the left sideline before rearing back and throwing a 49-yard touchdown strike to Moss.
The rest of the half saw an exchange of field goals, as Stephen Gostkowski tied the game at 17-17 from 23 yards away. The Redskins answered with a 25-yard Graham Gano field goal to re-take the lead before Gostkowski tied the game at the first-half gun with a 24-yard three-pointer.
The Redskins' last field goal drive was kept alive by a controversial roughing-the-passer call that wiped out a potential McCourty interception. Brady was the beneficiary of a similarly marginal call against London Fletcher on New England's last scoring drive of the half.
New England took the second-half kickoff and drove 80 yards in seven plays. Brady hooked up with Gronkowski for the second time on the day, this time from 37 yards away to make the score 27-20.
But once again, the Redskins came storming back as Grossman led them 72 yards in 10 plays. The drive was boosted by another unnecessary roughness penalty, this time against Wilfork, and Grossman found David Anderson in the flat for a six-yard touchdown pass to tie the game once again at 27-27.
Brady was not quite at his metronomic best, but still completed 22 of his 37 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns as well as the interception. Grossman also have a very good account of himself, completing 19 of his 32 passes for 252 yards and two scores in addition to the game-ending pick.
Both offenses boasted 100-yard performers as well, as Helu gained 126 yards on 27 carries, while Gronkowski finished the afternoon with 160 yards on just six receptions.