For a reason that even
"Get your hats on,'' Brady said. "We're gonna score before the two-minute warning, get the ball back, then we're gonna score again and win this thing!''
New England -- maddeningly at times, ploddingly, using too much of the clock on five- and six-yard pass plays -- drove 81 yards to score on a Brady-to-
Brady could play 20 years in the NFL, and this game will go down as one of the five most memorable, Super Bowls included. It'll have to. After sputtering through five scoreless drives in his first seven possessions since shredding his knee on the same field 52 weeks earlier, Brady completed 11 of 13 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns in five minutes. He targeted
Eerie. All of it. Why, Brady was asked leaving the stadium Monday night, did he say what he said in the huddle with 5:32 left? "I don't know,'' he said with a wide grin. "I just had a feeling.''
"He knew,'' said Moss, euphoric in the New England locker room. "He just knew. I'll prove it to you.'' With that, Moss called to center
Said Koppen: "He said, 'We're gonna score before the two-minutes warning, we're gonna get the ball back somehow, and we're gonna win.'''
"See?'' Moss said. "He knew. When you got a guy like that, speaking like that, leading you like that, there ain't nothing for the other 10 of us to do but shut up and go out and make plays.''
The night left the Patriots with many problems to solve before traveling to play the Jets on a short week Sunday in East Rutherford. The offensive line allowed too many pressures and didn't clear the way for any consistent running game; New England's backs gained 3.2 yards per rush. Until the last Buffalo drive of the game, the Patriots' pass-rush was similarly anemic. Super Bowl favorites? The Patriots will be lucky to be the second wild card, playing the way they played for 55 minutes.
But champions, and teams trying to be champions again, walk into the huddle when it looks darkest and project confidence. That's what Brady did, and that's one reason why Moss and the rest of the players in New England's locker room are so glad to see him back after his knee injury.
"It wasn't pretty,'' said left tackle
On the 81-yard drive, Brady overthrew
"I told him it was the best catch I've ever seen him make,'' Brady said.
The two-point conversion attempt was incomplete. Patriots, 25-24. Buffalo had plenty of time to get into field-goal position, 45 seconds and two timeouts left from the Bills' 21. But
Time will tell if the Patriots are really good and just escaped with one, or if they're just a member of the NFL pack. The latter's unlikely. This team has flaws, but this team also has Brady.