15 years ago Thursday tonight, one of the greatest display’s of “never give up” effort in New England Patriots franchise history took place in Denver, Colorado.
The scene was the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoffs, and the two-time defending champion Patriots found themselves in a duel with the upstart Broncos, their 10 game playoff winning streak in serious jeopardy.
Trailing 10-6 with a minute left in the third quarter, the Patriots appeared in position to retake the league inside the Broncos red zone.
On third and goal, Tom Brady rolled out to his right, threw in the direction of Troy Brown, only to be picked off by Pro Bowl corner Champ Bailey, who returned the football 100 yards the other way appearing to be heading straight for a touchdown.
What Bailey did not know, was tight end Benjamin Watson was also sprinting back down the field. Watson not only caught up to Bailey, but knocked him out of bounds at the one-yard line preventing the score.
“I never saw the guy coming, but I was going as hard as I could,” Bailey said after the game.
Head coach Bill Belichick later challenged the ruling, believing the ball went out of the end zone, not at the 1, which would have given New England the ball back on a touchback at the 20-yard line.
The officials disagreed, and the Broncos would later score on a Mike Anderson rushing touchdown to expand their lead to 17-6, but Belichick still made sure to praise Watson for his work after the game.
“It was a great effort on his part,” Belichick said of Watson’s run.
The Broncos would go on to win the game 27-13, handing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick their first ever postseason loss together.
Despite the defeat, the play lives on as one of the best Patriots moments from a loss.
Watson shared some thoughts about the play over Twitter, and remained critical of the officials ruling.
Posted Under: Patriots Video
Tags: Benjamin Watson Bill Belichick Troy Brown