Patriots replay: Breaking down Week 6
Kenbrell Thompkins for the win.
Tom Brady hit Kenbrell Thompkins for a 17-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left to win the game. How'd they do it? With just 10 seconds left, the Patriots only had one option: All verticals with their four receivers, and Brandon Bolden running a little checkdown just in case. The Saints are playing well off the ball, since they know what's coming, too.
The Saints have six defenders back near the goal line, but their two safeties are focused on Austin Collie streaking down the seam, leaving Thompkins in one-on-one coverage with Jabari Greer.
Thompkins does an unbelievable job of out-jumping Greer and coming down with the ball for the game-winning score.
Instead: Brady throws behind Amendola, who reaches back to make the catch, but falls down and is tackled at the 1. The Patriots have to settle for a field goal on the drive.
Shutting down Jimmy Graham
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham entered the game as the NFL's leading receiver, but was held without a catch the entire game.
One important maneuver was for 6-foor-1 cornerback Aqib Talib to use his lanky arms to jam Graham at the line of scrimmage and disrupt his timing.
The Patriots didn't double cover Graham too much. Instead they played a lot of Cover-1 Robber, where safety Steve Gregory would patrol the short middle of the field, and Devin McCourty played deep centerfield.
Even when Talib left the game and McCourty slid over in coverage, the Patriots didn't do anything special. McCourty just did a good job of playing tight man-to-man coverage.
But Graham did get open occasionally. On the Saints' first touchdown, Drew Brees had a high-low read and could've easily hit Graham for a touchdown. Instead he settled for the "low" read and found Travaris Cadet for the score.