I’ve decided that I’m going to mark my calendar based on nothing more than what number we’re at on our countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2020. And since we’re creeping up to the Top 10 now, that means that we’re also about to hit early June.
The list so far:
20. The Patriots draft N’Keal Harry.
19. The Patriots trade for Mohammed Sanu.
18. Josh Gordon breaks three tackles to score the first Patriots touchdown of the 2019 season.
17. The kicker carousel.
16. A Kyle van Noy scoop and score ices the game against the New York Giants.
15. The refs screw the Pats out of not one, but two touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs.
14. The Patriots play the Jets twice - and the defense shuts them out twice.
13. The Patriots force four interceptions as they dominate the Cincinnati Bengals and secure a playoff spot.
At Number 12, we get to dig into the bag of tricks for a play that resulted in a score.
When the Patriots traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles on November 17th of last year, it was the first time the teams had met since that fated Super Bowl. You may have forgotten that the Patriots actually played the Eagles in the 2017 Super Bowl, as they won in 2016 and 2018 and it’s tough to keep track, but Philly did in fact take New England down in a game in which neither defense really bothered to show up.
This game, however, couldn’t have been more different than that one, as the teams only scored one touchdown between them in the first half. The Patriots, as was starting to become a trend at this point in the season, consistently stalled in the red zone; they had to settle for field goals on drives that went down to the Eagle 17, 4, and 21 yard line. The offense moved the ball fairly well, but just couldn’t deliver points when given the opportunity. The Patriots defense was as stout as ever, and so New England went into the locker room at halftime only trailing 10-9 knowing that they’d get the ball to start the third quarter with the chance to take the lead.
And take the lead they did, on a 10 play, 84 yard drive in which the Patriots didn’t even need a third down to make it all the way to the Philly 14 yard line. However, once again, New the offense started to stumble; an incomplete pass and a run for minus one yards set up 3rd and 11 on the 15. All signs pointed to yet another
Stephen Gostkowski Mike Nugent Kai Forbath Nick Folk field goal.
It was time for some trickeration.
Brady opened up in a shotgun set with Phillip Dorsett alone in the left slot. Ben Watson and Mohammed Sanu were lined up wide on the right, with Edelman behind them in a sort of pistol formation. Just before the snap, Edelman went in motion as if he was going to receive a Jet Sweep, only to change course at the snap and receive a pass from Tom Brady. Both Sanu and Watson ran a quick hitch route, then stopped and began to block what appeared to be a WR screen.
As all this was going on, Dorsett ran a quick slant route toward the middle of the field, into the gap left when both safeties bit on the screen fake. Edelman threw an absolute dart which Dorsett caught in the end zone for the score. James White would run the two point conversion in, and the Patriots were up 17-10.
That opening drive of the second half represented the last time either team scored any points. The rest of the game featured 11 punts, and 7 drives which lasted four plays or less. It was the exact opposite of that Super Bowl, in almost every possible way, and when the final whistle finally woke everyone up, the Patriots were 9-1. Tommy B threw for just 216 yards. No running back gained more than 33 yards on the ground, and no receiver gained more than 53. It was exactly the kind of game the Patriots would become known for in 2019 - stagnant offense that does just enough to win because the dominant defense keeps it close.
But as for great plays, this one is right up there. Everyone always loves a good trick play, especially one that ends in what becomes the game-winning touchdown. It certainly wasn’t Julian Edelman’s greatest throw, but it was still pretty cool. It was also the only interesting thing that happened during this entire game, so I think it’s well suited here at Number 12.
Check out the play here.
Full game highlights here.