It’s almost July 4th. How the hell did that happen?
Not that I’m complaining; short week, beaches, BBQs, and an intolerable number of Jaws references? Yes please. A chance to celebrate the birth of our nation and appreciate the fact that we live in one of the few places on the planet where you can say whatever you want about the state of our country and still live a peaceful existence? Sign me up. And the upcoming approach of training camp and the official start of the preseason. Can’t wait.
But first, we need to keep on plowing through our Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2018.
The list so far:
20. Danny Etling gets half of the Giants fired with an 86 yard touchdown run.
19. The Patriots demolish the Jets at home to secure a playoff bye.
18. Julian Edelman bounces off a Bill and into the end zone on a 4th down conversion.
17. Some punt team acrobatics keep the Steelers from getting a touchback.
16. Gronk magic returns with a 34 yard touchdown seam route catch against the New York Jets.
15. James Develin finds the end zone twice against the Minnesota Vikings.
14. The New England Patriots trade for Josh Gordon.
13. A Julian Edelman screen pass and an epic Tom Brady fakeout secures a primetime win on Sunday Night Football over the Green Bay Packers.
12. The Patriots right the ship with a Week 4 blowout of the Miami Dolphins.
11. Special teams lead the way for a decisive road victory over the Chicago Bears.
10. Tom Brady avoids the sack on 3rd and goal and dives headfirst into the end zone to take the lead against the Kansas City Chiefs.
9. Tom Brady becomes the all time passing yards leader in a win over the New York Jets.
I never thought I’d be writing about this one, but at long last, it’s here.
8. Tom Brady eclipses 1,000 career rushing yards with a five yard scamper against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Week 13 matchup between the Patriots and Vikings didn’t have all that much going for it in terms of highlight reel material. Sure, James Develin found the end zone twice, which was awesome, but other than that, the Pats took control early and never relinquished their lead. The final score was 24-10 with Minnesota's lone TD coming in the first half.
However, there was one play in particular that not only made the game a must-watch, but cemented it in the annals of history as one of the most significant contests every played.
On 3rd and 3 late in the first quarter, Brady was lined up in the gun and, based on the post-snap routes, looking to hit Gronkowski up the seam for the first. However, the Viking pressure was strong due to a well-timed cornerback blitz, and Mackensie Alexander came around the line unimpeded. Brady had to tuck the ball and run.
David Andrews and Joe Thuney stuck their blocks, leaving a fairly open seam as the sole linebacker not at the line of scrimmage was looking to double Gronk on the other side. Brady had daylight, so he loped his way for five yards and the first down before Alexander was finally able to chase him down.
Normally, this is a complete throwaway play; Brady isn’t a speed demon, and while he occasionally picks up yards with his legs, there was nothing overly special about this one.
It took him just a shade under 19 full seasons, but with that run, Tom Brady finally eclipsed 1,000 career rushing yards.
Tommy B finished with two rushes on the day for five yards, which is more or less how his running lines usually look.
You could tell he was happy about it, too - not only from the look on his face, but from the way he made sure to run forward rather than retreat when he knelt down to close out the win later in the game.
It’s pretty fitting that Tom Brady hit what’s ultimately a pretty meaningless milestone for a QB on a scrambling third down conversion to keep a drive alive, as that’s when the vast majority of his runs have come in. That said, the speed with which Brady took off on this play - and I mean that in the timing sense, not the running sense - forces me to wonder if Tommy B knew he was only a few yards a way and he called his own number under the guise of a busted play. I’m leaning towards no, as he’s always been about wins first and records are ancillary, but you never know.
It certainly wasn’t Tommy B’s sweetest run ever, but it’s one he’ll never forget. And whenever a player - especially the GOAT - hits a major career milestone, he’s guaranteed a spot on the offseason countdown. And seeing as how the quest for this one began just a year after some of the current members of the NFL rookie class were born, I think Number 8 is more than fitting.
A few more fun Brady rushing facts:
- Brady finished the 2018 season with 35 rushing yards on 23 attempts.
- He now has 1,003 career rushing yards on 580 attempts for an average of 1.7 yards per carry. Those stats are fatally flawed, however, as every time Brady has taken a knee in victory formation it’s marked as a one yard loss. Given how many times Brady has knelt down to close out a win over his career, he should have hit this milestone a long time ago.
- His best year as a runner came in 2002, when he ran for 110 yards on 42 attempts.
- He ran for over 100 yards in a season just two other times in addition to ‘02, with 102 yards in 2006 and 109 yards in 2011.
- 2006 also saw him run the most times, at 49.
- Tom Brady has 19 career rushing touchdowns.
- Brady has rushed for at least one TD in 12 of his 19 seasons. He had none in 2001 (one rush TD in the playoffs), 2004 (one rush TD in the playoffs), 2006, 20013 (one rush TD in the playoffs), 2014 (one rush TD in the playoffs), 2016, and 2017.
- The most rushing TDs he has ever scored in a season is 4 in 2011, 3 in the regular season and one in the postseason.
- Tom Brady has 136 career playoff rushing yards, 100 career playoff rushes, and six career playoff rushing TDs.
- His best year from a yards per carry average came in 2005, where 89 yards on 27 carries was good enough for a whopping 3.3.
- His career long is a monster 22 yarder, which he accomplished against the Cincinnati Bengals all the way back in 2006.
If you’re thinking 2006 seems to be coming up a lot here, you’d be right. When your most potent offensive weapons are Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell, you’re likely to be scrambling a lot. And they were still a 17 point 4th quarter collapse from making it to the Super Bowl that year.
Check out the monumental achievement here.
Vikings/Pats highlights here.
For a compilation of some of Tommy B’s best runs, click here.