Here a fumble, there a fumble—everywhere a fumble.
That was the theme of the game for New England through two halves, and while the team managed to come back and win in overtime, Patriots fans feared for the worst as the ball continued to end up in the Broncos’ hands.
Everyone is entitled to choose their favorite of the Patriots’ six fumbles, but the first might have been the worst. The moment in question came after a Stevan Ridley fumble on the Patriots’ first drive.
A hard hit from Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard jarred the ball from Ridley’s grasp. The ball was then scooped up by Broncos linebacker Von Miller and returned for a touchdown.
The turnover itself was an ugly moment, but it had nothing on the tackle Tom Brady “tried” to lay on Miller.
Brady’s “tackling” attempt was spotted by Sid Saraf of Fox Sports, and it was one of the least savory moments the Patriots quarterback had on Sunday night.
Notice the technique—the tradecraft—Brady puts into this hit. It’s almost as if he couldn’t believe he had to deal with this Ridley-induced, garbage situation.
Jokes aside, discretion is the better part of valor for NFL quarterbacks. Sure, Brady could have tried to be a hero and attempted to stop a runaway, 250-pound linebacker. That would have been cool—until he fractured his collarbone and ended up sidelined, a la Aaron Rodgers.
As bad as it looked, Brady made the smart call. By offering up a token show of resistance and falling to the ground, he saved himself (and therefore the team) a potential boatload of problems.
Brady kept himself in the game and managed to rally the Patriots for an insane second-half comeback.
Good on you, Tom. You escaped injury, won the game and did a barrel roll. That’s a full day in anyone’s book.
Always enact the barrel roll.