The Best Teams Win Late: Patriots Edge Bills 25-24

Lee TawilContributor ISeptember 14, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with teammate Matt Light after a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on September 14, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)


That is all I have to say after watching the New England Patriots come back against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.

Sure, I've seen this happen plenty of times to teams like the Bills; and I've seen the Patriots do this plenty of times to heartbroken opponents.

It just never gets old for me.

As I watched the Patriots trail 24-13 with a little over five minutes left, I knew that if Tom Brady got hot, the Patriots were not only going to come back, but they would win before the end of regulation.

Even though Brady had struggled to get the Patriots in the end zone throughout the game, I just knew that when it mattered most, Brady would find a way to get it done.

Sure enough, Brady completed his first four passes on that drive, and the comeback was well in motion. A few plays later, with just over two minutes left in regulation, the Patriots were in the end zone cutting Buffalo’s lead to five.

Another important thing to note is that the Patriots failed on their two-point conversion, which meant they would not be able to kick a field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime. Rather, if the Patriots wanted to avoid a loss, they would have to go for the win.

With three timeouts still in tact, the Patriots had the ability to kick it deep and not have to go for the onside kick.

But what happens on the kickoff?

The Bills fumble, and the Patriots get the ball back anyway at the Bills 30 yard line. Now the Patriots were set up at the 30 with just under two minutes remaining. A pass here and a pass there, and before you know it, Tom "Terrific" led a scoring drive to take a one point lead in the closing seconds.

Although the Patriots won an exciting game, they are not the only quality team to win that way during the opening week of the NFL season. The Steelers and the Packers also won in similar fashion.

The key ingredient in all of this is a great quarterback.

Instead of feeling pressure negatively, these quarterbacks use pressure to raise their level of play. It's probably the most important characteristic that a quarterback can possess, yet it's something that you can't measure at the NFL combine or in the statbook.

It is only something that you can find out through playing.

Here is where a problem can occur though; you can't measure a quarterback’s clutch factor outside of game action, so there is the possibility that many clutch quarterbacks are busy sitting on the bench.

The three quarterbacks that I mentioned earlier all started out on the bench and only got to start playing because of injuries to the starter. This leads me to wonder, "How many superb quarterbacks never got the chance to showcase their above-average late-game proficiency?"

I am sure that that question is one that NFL head coaches would never want to know the answer to. Believe me, if they had the answer, they would probably be kicking themselves for days.