San Diego defensive tackle Antonio Garay may have escaped without a penalty after lunging at Tom Brady’s knee during New England’s 35-21 win over the Chargers Sunday, but the league turned around and at least hit him where it hurts.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL fined Garay $15,000 for his shot on Brady below the knee last Sunday, which looked eerily similar to the same play we saw in the first game of the 2008 season against the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

That play ended Brady’s season before it really even started, and the Patriots quarterback told WEEI on Monday that he’s lucky he was wearing a knee brace, because the outcome could have been the same.

“I’m glad I had a knee brace on.” said Brady.  “Those are scary when you’ve been through those ones before. He got me in a good spot and I’m glad the knee brace took the brunt of the force. Why I never wore a knee brace before I have no idea and why every quarterback doesn’t wear one on their left knee I have no idea. It’s just so unprotected.”

The play occurred in the third quarter when Garay was on the ground and lunged forward with his left arm from behind Brady, grabbing the quarterback’s left knee.  From the replay his knee seemed to bend awkwardly, but fortunately he escaped unscathed.

You can see a photo of the play via this link, and it almost makes you wish the fine had been a little heftier considering what could have potentially happened as a result of that play.