FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Broken play. Quarterback scrambles away from the rush, spins to elude another defender and chucks it downfield.
Not Brett Favre: Tom Brady.
The Patriots quarterback showed he can sling it like the ol’ gunslinger, connecting with Brandon Tate for a 65-yard touchdown on a broken play as New England beat the Minnesota Vikings 28-18 on Sunday and knocked Favre out of the game in the process.
“I really can’t complain, although I probably should,” said Favre, who left in the fourth quarter with a cut on his chin that he said needed eight stitches. “I have a broken foot. I have eight stitches in my chin. I’ve had tendinitis in my elbow, but I threw it as well as I have all season.”
Backup Tarvaris Jackson threw for a touchdown on his first play and a 2-point conversion on his second, but he didn’t get the ball back until the two-minute warning had sounded and the Vikings trailed by 10. Favre was 22 for 32 for 259 yards, throwing an interception on a tipped ball and taking two intentional grounding penalties when he tried to avoid sacks.
Favre, who has started an NFL-record 292 consecutive game, said he expected to play next week against Arizona.
“I hope Favre’s OK,” Brady said.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored two touchdowns — the first multi-touchdown game of his career — getting his first on a 13-yard run to make it 21-10. Favre then drove Minnesota (2-5) to the New England 3 yard-line before he was flattened by defensive lineman Myron Pryor.
Jackson relieved him and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Naufahu Tahi on the first play, then hit Percy Harvin for the 2-point conversion that made it 21-18. But Brady engineered a 13-play, 80-yard drive, with Green-Ellis getting cartwheeled into the end zone to make it 28-18 with just 1:56 left.
Green-Ellis ran 17 times for 112 yards to give the Patriots (6-1) their fifth straight victory. Brady completed 16 of 27 passes for 240 yards, including an ad-libbed touchdown pass to Tate that gave New England the lead for good with 8 minutes left in the third quarter.
It was the first TD catch of Tate’s career.
“That’s a pretty basic scramble situation,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “It really was not a very well-run play. But (we) made the best of a bad situation.”
Adrian Peterson carried 25 times for 92 yards, and Harvin caught six passes for 104 yards for the Vikings despite missing about a quarter with an ankle injury.
Former Patriot Randy Moss had just one catch for 8 yards in his first trip back to Foxborough since he talked himself out of town on Oct. 6. After the game, he talked with Belichick on the field and the two shared a long hug.
“I miss every last helmet in that locker room,” he said. “Coach Belichick gave me a chance to be a part of something special, and I take that to heart.”
A week after a hit left him with two fractures in his left foot, the 41-year-old Favre started against the Patriots but couldn’t finish.
Pryor slammed him to the turf, and Favre was slow to get up. He was eventually taken from the field by trainers who held a towel to his face, then driven to the locker room on a cart.
Favre, who also faces a league investigation into whether he sent sexual text messages to a former New York Jets employee, took another hard hit at the end of the first quarter, when he rolled to his right and threw for Greg Lewis in the end zone. The pass was incomplete, but Favre was hit in the head from Patriots linebacker Gary Guyton, a penalty that gave the Vikings a first-and-goal from the 6.
Peterson ran 5 yards, and then gained a bruising yard on the first play of the second quarter to make it 7-7. The Vikings brought it to the Patriots’ 1 yard-line in the final minutes of the half, but Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham stuffed Peterson for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1 to keep the game tied at the half.
But it was the usually immobile Brady who made plays with his feet, high-stepping away from one diving pass-rusher and then spinning away from another before seeing Tate streaking down the left sideline behind the defense. Brady lofted it to him, and Tate cut across the field to outrun two defenders to the end zone for his first career touchdown reception.
“I just caught a glimpse of him as I spinned out of it and he was open,” said Brady, who has 237 career TD passes, tying him with Jim Kelly for 17th on the NFL career list. “It was great to see the back of his jersey, running. That was pretty sweet.”
Favre, who threw three interceptions in a loss to Green Bay last week, had his only interception on a short pass that bounced out of Harvin’s gut and into the arms of Devin McCourty, who ran 37 yards before he was brought down at the Vikings’ 37. Four plays later, Green-Ellis ran it in from 13-yards out to give New England a 21-10 lead.
Notes: New England’s first touchdown came on a direct snap to running back Danny Woodhead, who ran it from 3 yards out to make it 7-7. … Moss only had one catch, but he drew a pass interference call near the end zone in the fourth quarter. He appeared to have a chance to catch the ball anyway, but didn’t try. … Brady won his 25th consecutive home game as a starter, tying him with Favre for the record. … The Patriots improved to 3-5 on Halloween, and 1-0 against the NFC this year. The Vikings are 0-3 against the AFC this season. … Harvin limped off in the first quarter with a member of the training staff under each arm. The team said he had an ankle injury; he returned later in the half. … Nine different Vikings caught passes. … Green-Ellis scored for the fifth straight game. … Peterson has six of Minnesota’s seven rushing TDs this season.