England led by seven points with six minutes remaining in Santa Fe when fly-half Ford, who moves to Leicester Tigers this summer, kicked them more than a score ahead to settle a see-saw Test match.
England scored three tries through Charlie Ewels, Piers Francis and Danny Care but scores for Joaquin Tuculet, former Tigers back-rower Pablo Matera and Emiliano Boffelli left it at 25-25.
But Will Collier's try and Ford's drop goal in a personal haul of 15 points secured victory for England, for whom Ellis Genge started at prop for his third international cap.
Tigers prop Dan Cole, meanwhile, will start for the British & Irish Lions in their tour match against Chiefs in Waikato on Tuesday. See below for team news.
The game follows the Lions' 32-10 victory against the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua, and is the final tour fixture before the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Watch all three Tests between the Lions and the All Blacks at Welford Road in our Kegs and Eggs mornings.
Welford Road is opening its doors for three special morning events to allow supporters to cheer on the Lions against the All Blacks.
Join us for 'Kegs & Eggs' where you can watch each Test in New Zealand on our big screen in the Final Whistle Bar as well as enjoying breakfast.
Sausage, bacon and egg sandwiches will be available, with tea, coffee or fruit juice and a pint or soft drink for supporters following the big-match action.
As part of our early-bird offer, tickets for Tigers season ticket holders are £10 for each match and £15 for non-season ticket holders if you book before June 15.
You can book for all three games for £30 (season ticket holders) or £35 for all other supporters.
Doors open at 7.30am so you can follow all the pre-match build-up ahead of the live action.
Parking is available on the Crumbie Car Park at the stadium.
Our special Kegs & Eggs Days are on:
Saturday, June 24, 7:30am-11.00am
Saturday, July 1, 7:30am-11.00am
Saturday, July 8, 7:30am-11.00am
British & Irish Lions (v Chiefs, Tuesday June 20, FMG Stadium, Waikato, 7.35pm NZST/8.35am BST)
15 Liam Williams - Scarlets, Wales, #833
14 Jack Nowell - Exeter Chiefs, England, #828
13 Jared Payne - Ulster, Ireland, #830
12 Robbie Henshaw - Leinster, Ireland, #824
11 Elliot Daly - Wasps, England, #822
10 Dan Biggar - Ospreys, Wales, #821
9 Greig Laidlaw - Gloucester, Scotland, #810
1 Joe Marler - Harlequins, England, #811
2 Rory Best (c) - Ulster, Ireland, #793
3 Dan Cole - Leicester Tigers, England, #794
4 Iain Henderson - Ulster, Ireland, #808
5 Courtney Lawes - Northampton Saints, England, #826
6 James Haskell - Wasps, England, #823
7 Justin Tipuric - Ospreys, Wales, #786
8 CJ Stander - Munster, Ireland, #831
16 Kristian Dacey - Cardiff Blues, Wales
17 Allan Dell - Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland
18 Tomas Francis - Exeter Chiefs, Wales
19 Cory Hill - Newport Gwent Dragons, Wales
20 Alun Wyn Jones - Ospreys, Wales, #761
21 Gareth Davies - Scarlets, Wales
22 Finn Russell - Glasgow Warriors, Scotland
23 Tommy Seymour - Glasgow Warriors, Scotland, #813