Today is New England's off day, and tomorrow the team starts getting ready for a divisional matchup against the dangerous but highly inconsistent New York Jets. While the Jets have looked downright awful at times, they have also put together some pretty impressive games, and if this win/loss/win/loss pattern that Geno Smith is on keeps up, the Patriots are likely to have their hands full on Sunday. What that means is that it's almost time to officially turn the page on Sunday afternoon's epic comeback and win against the New Orleans Saints. At the end of the day, it was only one win, and a non-conference one at that, and this team has much bigger things to worry about than a Week 6 victory at home. It's time to move on.
But before we do any of that, I wanted to take one more moment to appreciate just how special Sunday's game - and more specifically, Tom Brady's final drive - really was. You don't get to witness a comeback like that too often as a sports fan, and it would be irresponsible of me to let this game slip by without taking some time to let what we all just witnessed sink in.
Tom Brady has launched 37 4th quarter game-winning drives in his Hall of Fame Career, and most of them have been memorable. Some of his drives - the Tuck Rule Game, the 2007 AFC Divisional Playoff, Super Bowl XXXVI - carried more weight than others, and will thus always stand alone as the exemplars of just how great a quarterback Tom Brady really is. And where exactly October 13, 2013 will land among those 37 comebacks (now 38) and counting remains to be seen; it's not the kind of thing anyone can accurately judge so soon after it happened. However, that Tommy B took a group of unheralded receivers, one of whom had only been with the team for two weeks, seventy yards in eight plays and just over a minute is one of the more special moments of his career and will rightly serve as proof positive that Brady makes everyone around him better at what they do. Tommy B didn't play his best game on Sunday; he missed some throws, he made some bad reads, and he almost cost his team the game. And all the credit in the world goes to the Patriots defense, who came up huge when they were needed and got Brady the ball back on multiple occasions with the chance to do what he does best. But regardless of the first 58 minutes and 47 seconds of that game, what we saw in that last minute or so was Greatness Personified and there's simply no denying that. It was drives like that one that make Brady who he is.
There are plenty of people who don't want to give Brady his due. There are those blaming Sean Payton. There are those blaming Rob Ryan. There are those blaming poor offensive execution. There are even those blaming the refs for missing a holding call on that last play. And I get it. I understand the need to justify how something like what happened on Sunday can happen to your team (I remember when the refs missed a holding call against the Patriots once; the play ended up with the ball stuck to David Tyree's face and a perfect season went up in flames) . But to place blame anywhere is to take away from what makes sports so amazing. A game is NEVER over until it's over. Until that final whistle, bell, or out, nothing is ever decided. And few athletes know this truth more than Tom Brady.
To say that I saw that game live helps to ease the pain of saying that I was also in the stands at Super Bowl XLII. To say that I was one of the fans who actually stayed for the whole game makes me proud to be a part of that group of Patriots fans who have always been there, and will always be there, for this team no matter what the outcome. And to say that I was around in the time of Tom Brady is something I will never take for granted. I wish I could somehow share that experience with everyone here at the Pulpit, but I can't. It was just one of those things where you were either there or you weren't. I was able to find this video, though. It still doesn't do justice to just how amazing it was to be at Gillette this past weekend, but it sure beats any highlight video I've seen yet.
So bring on the Jets. Hell, bring on the entire NFL, for all I care. Because we have Tom Brady.