Patriots Live Blog: Jerod Mayo’s Interception Seals 34-27 Victory for Patriots


Patriots Live Blog: Jerod Mayo's Interception Seals 34-27 Victory for Patriots

Final, Patriots 34-27: Jerod Mayo jogged into the locker room after the final whistle, so he might be OK after all. The Patriots improved to 10-3 with a tough victory, and they're one win or Jets loss away from clinching the AFC East. As always, plenty more coverage to follow on

Fourth quarter, 0:22, Patriots 34-27: Tracy White and Jerod Mayo sealed the victory for the Patriots, who eeked it out in Washington. White hit Santana Moss as he tried to corral a third-down pass, and he bobbled it. Mayo swooped in and dove to intercept it on the shadow of the goal line, but Mayo had to be helped off the field. Would be a huge sacrifice.

Fourth quarter, 6:30, Patriots 34-27: Tom Brady's third-down pass for Tiquan Underwood was intercepted by Josh Wilson in the end zone. Wilson made a heck of a play to pick it off, but he got away with holding a few steps earlier. Also, Underwood jumped a little too soon and wasn't in position to take the ball away from Wilson.

The bigger story came after the play, when Brian Hoyer and receivers coach Chad O'Shea had to physically separate offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien from Brady as they got into a very heated exchange on the sideline, which lasted for maybe as long as a minute.

Fourth quarter, 10:34, Patriots 34-27: Devin McCourty has been much better on the last two series — breaking up a pair of passes, including a third-down bid for Jabar Gaffney most recently — and it's no coincidence the Patriots' defense has been better during the same stretch. After a 16-yard punt return from Julian Edelman, the Patriots have it at their 49.

Fourth quarter, 12:43, Patriots 34-27: The Patriots only gained one first down, and I didn't like their call on the failed third-and-1. They used a run-heavy set and handed it off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who didn't gain a yard because there weren't any holes. They've had no problem throwing it on third-and-short all game, so the change in philosophy on that play didn't make much sense. Of course, that's all hindsight.

End of third quarter, Patriots 34-27: After the Redskins' punt — the first from either team since the final play of the first quarter — and a seven-yard reception from Wes Welker, the Patriots have a second-and-3 at their own 25 to start the fourth quarter. I'm not sure if one more score is enough for the Patriots to win the game, but they've got an excellent opportunity to really take control.

Third quarter, 4:26, Patriots 34-27: Contrary to popular belief, Rob Gronkowski won't catch all of Tom Brady's touchdown passes from here until eternity. Brady's mobility has been outstanding all game because Washington's pass rush has closed the pocket on so many occasions, and it happened again there. Brady kept the play alive, and Wes Welker ran a perfect scramble drill, coming back to catch Brady's throw to a dead spot in the zone and then ducking in for the score.

First to 50 wins.

Third quarter, 6:58, 27-27: Third tie of the game, and this thing has turned into a shootout. David Anderson benefited from a pick in the secondary that caused Devin McCourty and James Ihedigbo to bump into each other, and Anderson broke free to the right corner of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown on third-and-goal. Anderson, by the way, has an awesome Twitter account.

Earlier in the drive, Vince Wilfork was called for a personal foul for going helmet to helmet with Roy Helu on the ground. It was a very ticky-tack penalty, but it's still a flag by the letter of the law. The problem was that it was avoidable because Wilfork could have simply touched him down.

Third quarter, 12:05, Patriots 27-20: Rob Gronkowski does more things that make people say "wow" and then laugh than anyone I've ever covered. He can be downright impossible to defend, and he showed it there by making a very difficult catch, shaking aside Ryan Kerrigan, who is 6-foot-4 and 263 pounds by the way, and then running in for a touchdown. Oh, and Kerrigan cheated, too. He was called for holding.

Then, after scoring, Gronkowski jumped into the arms of a Patriots fan, who I believe was wearing a Wes Welker T-shirt, and they shared a hug and a moment.

Third quarter, 15:00, 20-20: Ryan Wendell is still at center, and the Patriots open the half at the 20 after a touchback on the kickoff.

Halftime, 20-20: These officials need an anatomy lesson. London Fletcher was called for a personal foul for decking Tom Brady during his slide, and I think the flag was correct during this era of the NFL. However, Fletcher was called for delivering a forearm to the head, which wasn't close to the case.

Anyway, Brady lived dangerously at the end of the half by not using a timeout, and his third-down incompletion hit the ground with one second remaining. Stephen Gostkowski closed the drive with a 24-yard field goal. Interestingly, all four field goals in this game have been from 25 or fewer yards. There have been a lot of points left on the field.

Ryan Wendell replaced Nick McDonald at center during the last drive. I haven't noticed anything poor from McDonald, but it's tough to evaluate offensive linemen on the fly unless there's a huge play in one direction or the other. It's also possible that Wendell has a better understanding of the two-minute offense.

Second quarter, 2:13, Redskins 20-17: The Redskins got three free points after an atrociously bad call against Andre Carter, whose roughing-the-passer penalty negated Devin McCourty's first interception of the season. The referee said Carter hit Rex Grossman below the knees, but Carter clearly got him in the hip. That was a bad, bad call.

The Patriots held up after the penalty, though, and limited the damage to Graham Gano's 25-yard field goal.

Second quarter, 8:54, 17-17: The Patriots' 16-play drive came up short of the end zone, and Stephen Gostkowski's 23-yard field goal tied the score.

That was a strange drive. Wes Welker and Deion Branch ran the wrong route on consecutive passing plays, and Tom Brady overthrew Danny Woodhead by an entire person on a screen to the right. Brady was also nearly picked off in the end zone, and Aaron Hernandez dropped a touchdown pass. How many times do you see an offense make that many mistakes and still come away with points?

Second quarter, 14:49, Redskins 17-14: Heck of a play by the Redskins, who ran a reverse pass for a touchdown. Roy Helu took the handoff for a sweep and gave it to wide receiver Brandon Banks on the reverse. Banks then heaved it up left-handed, which undoubtedly surprised the Patriots, and hit Santana Moss for a 49-yard touchdown. Moss beat James Ihedigbo, who bit on the reverse. And the reason the play worked so well — the Patriots had the reverse covered perfectly, but they fell asleep on the pass option.

End of first quarter, Patriots 14-10: Tom Brady was sacked on third down, as the Redskins' pass rush has been very strong so far. By the way, BenJarvus Green-Ellis' one-yard rush on the last drive was the Patriots' first run of the day.

Washington has the ball at midfield with a chance to take the lead.

First quarter, 1:20, Patriots 14-10: Devin McCourty is having the worst game of his career, and he got beat by Jabar Gaffney for a nine-yard touchdown. Gaffney then jumped into the crowd and no one caught him, which turned out to be a pretty hilarious moment.

McCourty was called for pass interference on the first third down of the drive, collided with Jerod Mayo later in the possession and then gave up the touchdown. He's having a miserable day so far.

Mark Anderson has been lining up as a 3-4 outside linebacker on some snaps, and he was on the same side of the field as Andre Carter for at least one play. That might have happened earlier this season once or twice, but I'm not sure of it.

First quarter, 5:49, Patriots 14-3: Rob Gronkowski has a new record for 14 touchdown receptions by a tight end, and he extended his overall record of 15 touchdowns by a tight end.

Anyway, Gronkowski just Gronk'd the Redskins. He broke about a thousand tackles (give or take) for a 49-yard gain on the first play of the drive, and he caught a jump ball in the end zone on the next play, which was just unfair for an 11-yard touchdown.

Best part, though, was the spike, which actually bounced up and through the goal post. I've never seen that before. That was amazing. He wasn't even trying. This was just a week after he spiked the ball 35 yards. Who is this guy?

First quarter, 6:42, Patriots 7-3: Graham Gano kicked a 24-yard field goal, but the Patriots used a goal-line stand to hang onto their lead. The big play on that drive came on a 51-yard strike to Donte Stallworth, who beat Devin McCourty up the right sideline. Stallworth wanted to return to New England this past offseason, but the Patriots never contacted him. I bet that one felt good for him.

First quarter, 12:06, Patriots 7-0: Nice homecoming for Andre Carter, who sacked Rex Grossman in the end zone and forced the fumble. The ball was dangling in the end zone for a few seconds until Vince Wilfork beat Rob Ninkovich to the recovery and the touchdown. A big statistical year continues for Wilfork, who needed a touchdown a couple weeks back on Monday Night Football to extend that legendary Miami scoring streak.

Anyway, that's Carter's 10th sack of the season, making him the third Patriot of the Bill Belichick era to reach double digits in one season.

And that was terrible pocket awareness by Grossman, who held onto the ball way too long. He killed the Redskins with that mistake.

First quarter, 12:58, 0-0: Aaron Hernandez opened the drive with a 24-yard catch, but the Patriots stalled at the Washington 40 after the Redskins' pass rush got to Tom Brady on third down. London Fletcher broke free up the middle, and Brian Orakpo beat Matt Light around the edge to force Brady to get rid of it early. Someone (it was a trips formation with Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco) was breaking open in the left seam, too, but Brady didn't have the time to see him.

Great job by Matthew Slater and Sergio Brown to down the punt at the 4-yard line. Slater had to find the ball looking into the sun, too.

First quarter, 13:52, 0-0: The Patriots forced a three-and-out, and Devin McCourty was relatively close to his first interception of the season.

Nick McDonald starts at center.

First quarter, 14:54, 0-0: Dane Fletcher made the tackle on the opening kickoff and started on defense. Matthew Slater also started at safety next to James Ihedigbo. Andre Carter, Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love and Mark Anderson were on the defensive line.

1:01 p.m.: Vince Wilfork called heads and lost the toss, and the Redskins elected to receive the opening kickoff.

12:56 p.m.: There were louder cheers and boos for the Patriots as they ran onto the field than cheers for the Redskins during their entrance, and it wasn't even close.

12:50 p.m.: I think I walked by Dan Snyder's owners box earlier, and the place is a palace. And if it's not Snyder's owners box, it's someone else's palace.

12:45 p.m.: Redskins right tackle Jammal limped into the locker room with the help of trainers after injuring himself during pregame warmups. With left tackle Trent Williams out with a suspension, the Redskins might be starting two backup tackles against former teammate Andre Carter. Ouch.

12:32 p.m.: Based on pregame warmups, it looks like Nick McDonald will start at center, which shouldn't be a surprise. If he plays like he did against the Colts, the big story will be who starts when Dan Connolly recovers from his groin injury.

Also, the Patriots are in their blue pants and white jerseys. The Redskins are in their red jerseys and white pants.

11:57 a.m.: Here is my view from the press box.

11:30 a.m.: Gerard Warren is surprisingly inactive, and he's a healthy scratch, too. With the way Bill Belichick has jockeyed his depth chart over the last month, I wonder if he's just giving the veteran a day off late in the season in order to get someone like Ron Brace some more playing time. Warren made the trip and was working out on the field earlier, so I doubt his inactive status has anything to do with discipline.

Also funny, Warren got hugs from Redskins wide receivers Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney. I've said it before, but I seriously think Gerard Warren knows everyone in the NFL. It's hilarious.

11:06 a.m.: Eric Moore is stretching on the field, which makes it look like he could play after officially signing with the Patriots on Saturday. He's only got one walkthrough under his belt, but he did play for the team last year and was in training camp this season.

10:32 a.m.: Linebacker Dane Fletcher is jogging around the field. Wouldn't be shocked to see him start after missing six games with a thumb injury. He had a hard cast on his right hand this week, but it looks like it's gone right now.

10:28 a.m.: Right guard Brian Waters and right tackle Nate Solder are checking out the field conditions with the three specialists, who are always out this early. Newly promoted cornerback Malcolm Williams, who is a special teamer, was working out with strength coach Harold Nash for a few minutes. The team doesn't have to list practice squadders on the injury report, so I'm not sure what injury he's dealing with.

10:14 a.m.: It's an absolutely beautiful day in Landover, Md. with weather in the high 40s and not a cloud in the sky.

The field is equal parts cool and strange, as the Army and Navy letters are still painted in the end zones after Saturday's rivalry game at FedEx Field. And with that, the field is in bad shape. It was resodded at the 50-yard line around the Redskins' logo, as well as the NFL logos at each 25-yard line. The rest of it is flat-out ugly. There's a ton of dirt all over the place, and there are still some noticeable divots.

Bill Belichick made a brief appearance to check out the conditions a few minutes ago. I'll guess he didn't like what he saw.

8:00 a.m. ET: A couple of coaching legends, Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan, will lead their teams to FedEx Field for a Sunday matinee, as the Patriots try to wrap up the AFC East and the Redskins play out the string.

The Patriots would take their ninth division title in 11 years with a win and a Jets loss to the Chiefs. Even if it doesn't happen Sunday, New England knows it's close to wrapping up that crown.

This might not be a high-profile matchup, but it would be surprising if the Patriots rolled through the Redskins without breaking a sweat. Washington is well-coached, plays a physical brand of football and has an aggressive defense. The Patriots will certainly have to show up to leave with a victory.

Stay with's live blog throughout the day, as we'll keep you up to speed on everything happening in Landover, Md.

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