It was about the rarest of events for the Patriots.

First-and-10, 14 seconds on the first-half clock, Tom Brady commanding the offense in the red zone.

He dropped back, found his man ... and saw the ball end up in the hands of a defender.

Antonio Cromartie’s pick of a Brady pass off Aaron Hernandez’s hands was the first time the QB has ever been intercepted in the red zone at home.

 

The half was over, and what should have been a sure scoring opportunity had ended up in disaster.

Some passers would have folded shop then. Many more would have tuned out mentally after Deion Branch’s apparent fumble on the 2-yard-line after a desperation throw during New England’s next drive.

Not Brady. Moments after the fumble call was reversed, the QB went right back to Branch for a short score. He kept right on throwing, too, totaling 321 yards on 24-for-33 passing.

In all, it represented a nice closing act for Brady, whose so-so first half featured three sacks and the interception.

Next week’s foe, Dallas, held Matthew Stafford to 240 passing yards last week.

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