Jartavius Martin's late interception helps Commanders stun Patriots 20-17

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Sam Howell was kicking himself.

The Commanders quarterback was leaving the field minutes after throwing a red-zone interception to Patriots safety Kyle Dugger that negated his team’s chance to take a lead into halftime.

“That’s probably one of the worst plays I’ve made in my football career,” Howell said of the pick.

Coach Ron Rivera noticed the agitation on Howell's face and had a quick word with him in the team's tunnel.

“He’s resilient," Rivera said. “I knew he was going to get over it quickly and come out and play.”

He was right. And with a little help from their defense, the Commanders picked up one of their biggest victories of the season.

Howell passed for 325 yards and a game-tying touchdown and Jartavius Martin had a late interception to help Washington hold off New England 20-17 on Sunday.

It marked the first time in Howell's career he eclipsed 300 yards passing in consecutive games and gave the Commanders their first victory in New England since 1996. It also snapped a four-game overall losing streak to the Patriots.

Washington (4-5) turned it over twice, but wore down the Patriots’ defense by going 9 of 17 on third down. Brian Robinson added a rushing touchdown to help the Commanders end a two-game skid.

New England dropped to 2-7 for the first time since Bill Belichick’s first season as coach in 2000. The Patriots are now 0-5 in non-division games, the only team in the NFL without a win outside of their division.

“The results aren’t there right now. It stinks. And there’s no excuses," Jones said.

Trailing 20-17, New England had a chance. The Patriots inched down the field and converted a fourth-and-4 to keep their hopes alive. But two plays later with the ball on the Commanders 41, Mac Jones’ pass intended for JuJu-Smith Schuster was intercepted by Martin — sealing the win for Washington.

The Patriots entered the day thin at receiver with Kendrick Bourne out with a season-ending knee injury and DeVante Parker sidelined with a concussion. Mac Jones did his best to make it work, completing 24 of 44 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown.

It helped erase an early 10-0 lead by the Commanders, who were playing in their first game since trading top pass rushers Montez Sweat and Chase Young.

New England got back into the game thanks to a 35-second span that included a forced fumble and a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Hunter Henry.

The Patriots took a 14-10 lead a series later via a 64-yard TD run by Rhamondre Stevenson.

New England added a field goal early in the third, but Washington responded with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Howell to Jahan Dotson to tie the game.

“We knew it would be 1-on-1. Cover 0 there’s nobody behind him,” Howell said. "So I just tried to throw it out there and let him go get it. He did.”

Washington then took a 20-17 lead in the third quarter on Joey Slye's 30-yard field goal.

That remained the score in the fourth quarter when the Commanders took over on their own 5-yard line with 5:04 left following a Patriots punt.

The Commanders picked up a first down and burned some clock before punting it back with 2:29 remaining. But New England’s Mack Wilson offsides on the play, resulting in a first down for Washington.

The Commanders ran three more plays before punting again, pinning the Patriots at their 10 to start their final drive following a holding penalty.


Commanders DE James Smith-Williams walked off on his own power following collision in the fourth quarter.


Washington defensive end KJ Henry was called for roughing the passer for a third-down sack on Jones in the third quarter for what appeared to be a clean hit on the quarterback. The play kept alive the drive and led to a field goal that increased New England's lead to 17-10.

Referee Adrian Hill said afterward that the hit was clean, but that the flag was thrown because of how Henry landed on Jones.

“The ruling on the field was that the defender came down with forcible contact, chest-to-chest,” Hill said in a pool report. "He didn’t perform one of those acts to remove most of that body weight – a gator roll or a clear to the side when he was coming in. He came down directly with that force on the player, so the category was full body weight.”


Commanders: Visit the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.

Patriots: New England is the designated home team against the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany


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