December 03, 2006
Brady's 4th Quarter Pinache Enough For The Pats
BY: Kevin Rousseau
?Did we always feel we could (comeback to win the game)? Yes. Anytime there is time left on the clock we think we can,? said Tom Brady after Sunday?s win.
When the Tom Brady Hall of Fame DVD is being composed, there will be a roomful of film from which to choose. The three Super Bowls, the Raiders game in the snow, the last second win at Mile High a few years ago. The list goes on.
But it?s fair to say that Sunday?s 28-21 sloppy win over the Detroit Lions will certainly be left on the cutting room floor. After all, the Lions are a 2-10 team and the Patriots will have bigger games waiting for them in the coming weeks. But the win ? and his performance in the fourth quarter ? perhaps best exemplify why he is the quarterback you want on our side if we have to play the Martians for control of the planet.
The game was his 23rd comeback win in which he's led the Patriots to a victory when facing a fourth-quarter deficit or tie (includes playoffs). Keep in mind, this is Brady?s sixth season as the starting quarterback for the Patriots. Who knows how many more we will witness?
There is plenty to complain about after the win including 10 penalties for 72 yards, three turnovers and a general lack of enthusiasm on the Patriots' part. There are plenty of places where you can get that both on Patsfans.com and in the mainstream media.
Maybe because it?s Christmas time and I still can?t make heads or tail out of this team after 12 games, but let?s skip over that and get to the anatomy of just how Mr. Brady coolly picked up a victory in the fourth quarter of a sluggish performance by his team.
Heading into the final quarter, the Patriots were on the ropes. In the third quarter, the Lions held onto the ball for 13 of the 15 minutes. Tack on another 1:49 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and you have the makings for a train wreck of an ending. Down 21-13 with 13:07 left in the game, in classic Brady fashion the tide began to turn. Nine plays and 58 yards later, the game was tied up after a Corey Dillon two yard plunge and a two-point conversion. After three turnovers (two by the Lions and one interception thrown by Brady) on the Detroit side of the field over the course of 1:53 in the middle of the fourth quarter, the nail was put into the Lions' coffin. Seven plays later, the Patriots were up 28-21 and the game was over.
In the final period, Brady had a stealth-like 14 of 15 performance for 98 yards. Nothing fancy, mind you. Just Patriots football. Few athletes in few sports exude the confidence among their teammates and fans to show that they are always in control of the situation. It is an intangible that is about as rare as yours truly winning a foot race. Bird, Orr, and Russell did it before him in this town, but we have been lucky. Some great sports fans never get to witness this trait with their teams. You do. Cherish it.
If after 12 weeks, I can?t make up my mind about the Patriots----well, I guess I have made up my mind. They are what they are. They are a very good team defensively whose offense can be just as masterful if they choose to hang onto the ball and try not to get too cute.
As the weather turns colder, the fate of this Patriots team will be decided by two factors. Will they be able to get away without a legitimate downfield receiving threat (read: Branch, Deion)? And will they be able to hold onto the ball? So far, the answer to this query has been sometimes yes, sometimes no.
After twelve weeks, that isn?t very reassuring.
Idle Zinger thoughts while being perfectly at peace with myself when I admit that I was a huge closeted Hall & Oates fan as a teenager:
You?re in for a treat with next week?s column. My wife is working in the emergency room next Sunday and I will be watching the kids, ages 2 years and 11 months old respectively, while somehow trying to watch any part of the Patriots-Dolphins game. Frankly, not having to visit Mommy in the E.R. for medical attention will be considered a victory for Team Rousseau next Sunday. Should make for a good column.
Good to see Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli found work after his gig as Frasier?s co-worker at the radio station got cancelled.
The Jets are going to the playoffs.
Do you think Lions Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz wakes up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night and says ?Darn it, my life was going pretty good until I met up with this Belichick guy in that Super Bowl.??
While I?m on the subject, who is the more annoying example of audio/visual sandpaper: Martz or Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick? It?s a toss up from here.
Why do throwback uniforms like the ones the Bills sported on Sunday look so much better than anything shoved down our throats in the last fifteen years?
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