We’re all on lockdown. The zombie apocalypse is nigh. There is nary a single sport on TV for the foreseeable future. #BradyWatch is in full swing. We’re going to have bigger things to focus on over the next few weeks. But since we won’t be leaving the house anytime soon, now’s as good a time as any to plug along on our countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2019.
The list so far:
20. The Patriots draft N’Keal Harry.
19. The Patriots trade for Mohammed Sanu.
Time to get into the regular season now, when things actually started to matter.
18. Josh Gordon breaks three tackles to score the first Patriots touchdown of the 2019 season.
The New England Patriots, as Super Bowl Champions, should have hosted the season opener on Thursday, September 5th of last year, as per tradition. However, with the NFL turning 100 years old in 2019, the league thought it more prudent to have two historic franchises in the Bears and Packers kick the season off. As a result, New England ended up playing the first Sunday Night game of the year against the Pittsburgh Steeers. The Steelers had beaten the Patriots the year before, so maybe this one would be a game.
Then again, maybe not.
It was a blowout of epic proportions. The Patriots scored midway through the first quarter and never looked back. And to make things even better, that score was the second of two back-to-back plays that made it seem like the Pats were already in midseason form.
The first, coming on 1st and 10 from their own 48 yard line, was a play that we’ve been seeing more and more as of late: a backwards pass from Tommy B to Julian Edelman, who then waited a beat before throwing it across the field to James White, who caught the ball with an absolute wall of linemen in front of him. He rumbled for 32 yards down to the Steeler 20 yard line, at which point the offense only needed one more play to find paydirt.
The play itself wasn’t anything too fancy, a simple crossing route from Josh Gordon that he caught right at the original line of scrimmage. Pittsburgh saw an empty backfield and decided to bring some interior pressure, which opened up the middle for Gordon. Brady hit him in stride with plenty of daylight in front of him, and he made it all the way to the 10 yard line before an opposing defender made contact.
Contact wasn’t enough, however, as Gordon hurdled over the tackler and continued moving forward. Safety Terrel Edmunds was there to make a play, but Gordon ducked under him as well just in time for linebacker Anthony Chickillo to get there in a last-ditch attempt to save the touchdown. No dice, though, and Gordon lunged into the end zone for six. It was the second drive of the season, it went 82 yards, it showed great versatility, and it ended with a score.
The Patriots would go on to win the game 33-3 in what would become something of an early season tradition for them. It was 20-0 at halftime and the Steelers showed a huge lack of mental toughness by kicking a field goal at the one yard line on their opening drive of the 2nd half. New England completely bullied them, and that Gordon play started it all off.
Unfortunately, this touchdown was more or less the last good thing Josh Gordon did with his time in New England; as his off-field issues continued, the Patriots IR’ed and then eventually released him. And we all know what happened to the offense as the season wore on. But here, on this drive, at this moment, things looked hunky dory in Patriots Nation, and we were all incredibly excited to see what Gordon and this team could do. 33-3 is one hell of a way to start the year, and I’m happy to put this moment here at Number 18.
See the play here.
Full game highlights here.