FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Another game was slipping away from the New England Patriots down the stretch. This time, their opponent made the biggest mistakes.
For the fourth time this season, a Patriots game was decided in the final two minutes. And, for the first time, they won.
"The whole time I'm thinking, 'Hey, this can't happen again. We've just got to fight all four quarters, hold them to a field goal at the end,' " Ninkovich said. "In overtime, we said, 'Hey, it's overtime. We know we're going to get a chance, so let's go out there and finish this game.' "
"There's a lot of football left to be played," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "I don't think anybody clinched anything today."
The game might not have reached overtime had they capitalized on their chances late in regulation.
"We made too many mistakes, but we had our opportunities," New York coach Rex Ryan said. "It just stinks, being on this end of it."
"I think he was trying to make a big play," Ryan said. "You've got to catch the ball first then worry about making the run."
"Our emotions were high and everyone was full of energy," Allen said, "but they took it right back."
Sanchez was sacked for a 10-yard loss on third down and Folk kicked another 43-yarder for a 26-23 lead with 1:37 to go in the fourth quarter.
So all the Patriots needed to force overtime was a field goal, not a touchdown, and Gostkowski kicked a 43-yarder on the final play of regulation.
"In overtime, Bill came to us and said we're going to need the rush," defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "We all understood that we had to get after it."
Said Sanchez: "We got pressure inside and I didn't feel Ninkovich on the outside."
After a required replay, the ruling was upheld and the Patriots escaped with a win after blowing a 10-point lead in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter.
In previous weeks, Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt on the next-to-last play of a 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Justin Tucker kicked a 27-yarder on the last play of a 31-30 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and Sidney Rice caught a 46-yard touchdown pass with 1:18 left in a 24-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
But Brady marched the Patriots downfield after starting at his 21-yard line to put Gostkowski in position to force overtime.
Brady completed 26 of 42 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski. Sanchez was 28 for 41 for 328 yards and one touchdown.
Then, the offense came through on Brady's 17-yard scoring pass to Gronkowski. And the defense followed with a safety two minutes into the second quarter when Sanchez deliberately kicked a loose ball beyond the back of the end zone after Greene's fumble.
Folk kicked a 54-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the first half and a 21-yarder on the first series of the third quarter.
Brady then threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Gronkowski for a 23-13 lead late in the third quarter.
"We did a good job of it when we needed to," Brady said. "It's nice to pull out a close one."
Notes: The Patriots gained at least 350 yards for the 16th straight regular-season game, tying the St. Louis Rams of 1999-2000 for the most in NFL history. ... Sanchez's 328 yards passing were the fourth-most of his career. ... Gronkowski scored two touchdowns in a game for the first time this season and the 10th time in his career.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press