CINCINNATI — Tom Brady couldn't get into the end zone against a defense that's developing a reputation for taking down the league's top quarterbacks.
The Bengals ended Brady's long streak of games with a touchdown pass in defeating the previously unbeaten Patriots 13-6 on Sunday.
Cincinnati's defense was so impressive, coordinator Mike Zimmer got a rain-drenched game ball. "I don't normally give out game balls," coach Marvin Lewis said. "They were tight in coverage most of the day. Up front, they got after it."
The Bengals held the Packers' Aaron Rodgers to one touchdown pass and intercepted him twice in a 34-30 win Sept. 22. Sunday, tackle Geno Atkins sacked Brady on his first pass attempt. Cincinnati sacked him four times overall.
"All week long, all you guys were talking about was Tom Brady," Bengals safety Chris Crocker said to reporters. "We wanted them to be talking about us."
New England, down 13-3 in the fourth quarter, failed to get into the end zone after first and goal from the 1-yard line. LeGarrette Blount ran for no gain, and Brady threw two incompletions, leading to a field goal.
Brady's 52 straight games with a touchdown pass, a streak that began with the 2010 season opener, were two off Drew Brees' record. The Patriots didn't score a touchdown for the first time since a 16-9 loss to the Jets on Sept. 20, 2009. "I'm bummed that we lost," Brady said. "I think that's all that really matters. It was just a poor performance all around. We had too many silly execution errors and mental mistakes. It is hard to drive the ball down the field if you keep making those mistakes."
A driving rain began just before New England's final shot at winning. Cornerback Adam Jones ended it with a juggling interception inside the Cincinnati 5.
"We knew we were going to have our hands full, but we were able to get to Brady on the second play," said defensive tackle Domata Peko, who was the lead blocker on BenJarvus Green-Ellis's 1-yard touchdown run.
"After that, you could see (Brady) was a little shaky. If you hit somebody enough, they're going to make mistakes."