With Patriots facing a dire outcome, Brady makes everything OK

Published: 9/24/2017 7:33:29 PM
Modified: 11/12/2008 3:10:12 PM

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Forcing their fans to endure the unmerciful drama of a close football game in September, the New England Patriots were on the verge of several dubious feats.
 
With a surprisingly feisty Texans squad holding a 33-28 lead with 2 minutes, 28 seconds left in Sunday’s game, the Patriots were in danger of falling to 1-2 for the first time since 2001. They were also about to be 0-2 at home for the first time since 2000, suffer back to back home losses for the since time since 2008 and, for the first time in the Belichick Administration, lose a home game to rookie quarterback.
 
And then Tom Brady made it all go away.
 
Pinning another cherry to the top of the overcrowded sundae that is Brady’s career, the Patriots’ quarterback engineered a classic fourth-quarter comeback that left fans chanting his name long after the game had ended in a 36-33 New England victory. Just like that, the Pats are 2-1, they get time to heal a glut of injuries, and the urgent panic around this team can take a day or two off.
 
“I think, no matter how you get it, you've got to figure out how to win the game,” Brady said. “We just kept battling. I think that's a good one to win. Like I said, two weeks ago, we weren't in a position to do what we did today. I thought it was a great win last week and then another great win this week. So, we've got to keep stringing them together. We've got to make improvements. Obviously, there's a lot of things we need to do better.”
 
Sacked five times and hounded for 60 minutes by one of the game’s best pass-rushing outfits, Brady still had one of the singularly great games of his career, throwing for 378 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions with a quarterback rating of 146.2. Brady has only met or surpassed all of those totals on one other occasion in his career (six touchdowns, 380 yards, and a 152.8 rating against Tennessee in 2009).
 
Brady and the Texans’ defense exchanged power punches throughout the game, with Houston’s front seven tormenting a depleted Patriots’ line, and the Pats’ quarterback picking on a thin Houston secondary. Brady landed the decisive shots on his final drive, completing five of seven passes for 92 yards.
 
“There was nothing easy out there,” Brady said. “I don't think this is the type of team that gives you many free plays or free yards. They make you earn it, so I thought we battled.”
 
When a holding penalty put the Patriots in a second-and-20 hole at their own 15, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski over the middle for eight yards, then converted on third and 12 with a 15-yard strike to Gronk.
 
“We kept making it hard,” Brady said. “We had penalties and then the sack and the fumble and it just kept feeling like we were going backwards.”
 
The sack and the fumble came courtesy of Texans safety Marcus Gilchrist whose strip sack (recovered by the Pats) set up third-and-18 at the New England 48.  Brady responded, connecting with a leaping Danny Amendola for 27 yards on that third down, and then hit a wide-open Brandin Cooks for a 25-yard touchdown on the next play. He followed with a 2-point conversion pass to Cooks, capping the 40th fourth-quarter comeback of his career.
 
“He is just legend,” Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. said after the game. “That was awesome to watch.”
 
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.


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