The last time Patriots quarterback Tom Brady punted a football, New England went on to finish the season raising a Lombardi trophy.
Brady pulled off a quick kick Saturday night against Denver. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
Granted you can’t really equate one punt with a championship, but head coach Bill Belichick at least appears to be getting back to doing some of the creative things fans remember to help them get as far as possible during this postseason.
Leading 45-10 with just over 3 minutes left in the game, Brady did a quick kick on third down, which pinned Denver back inside their own 10 yard line. It was the first time he punted a football for New England since a regular season match-up back on December 7th, 2003 against the Dolphins.
The play didn’t sit well with the Broncos, with a scuffle breaking out after thanks to a hit from Denver’s Von Miller against Patriots center Dan Connolly. That lead to a huge tussle on the sideline that was initiated by a clearly frustrated Broncos team with penalties being assessed that further back Denver up.
Belichick explained after the game that the goal was to give Brady the chance to kick the ball away and avoid what would likely have been a blitz by Denver.
“That punt, the fake punt…not the fake punt but the quick kick…we’ve worked on that for, it’s got to be like what, another I don’t know, 7 or 8 years since the last time we did it,” said Belichick. “So he’s 2-for-2, 2 inside the 20. The last one was I think on the one against Miami. This one was on like maybe the, I don’t know, the 7 or 8, whatever it was. So I was a little disappointed that we lost that field position.
“But…no, it’s funny, I mean that’s the kind of play we work on forever and you never know when it’s going to come up and actually we talked about doing it when we were backed up there on the 2 yard line. It was like 3rd and 12 or something on the 2….2nd and 12 on the two, and then he hit Deion [Branch], we got the first down, and then we ended up in 3rd and whatever it was, 15 or something and rather than go out there and go through the punt rushes that they have which, you know, they like to bring their corners and so forth, we just felt like that was a good time to do it. And Tom has usually made it work good.”
The last time Brady attempted one was in a tight game against Miami back in 2003 where the Patriots were up 10-0 with two minutes left in the game. With the ball at their own 37, Brady and the offense lined up like they were going for it on 4th down, and he instead quick kicked the ball, which was ultimately downed at the one yard line.
The decision worked out great at the time for New England, because they eventually got a sack in the endzone on the Dolphins ensuing drive for a safety which sealed the victory.
According to Brady it’s something they’ve been practicing for years, and the situation came up to execute it. Granted he didn’t get the ball quite as deep in Denver’s territory as he hoped, but it was enough to pin the Broncos back enough where they never got a shot to do anything with it.
Needless to say it was an interesting call.
“We’ve been practicing it for seven years,” said Brady. “The situation came up, and I was trying to get it inside the five but I needed a penalty to do that. I was happy about the call.”