With the 2018 AFC Championship Game to be played tomorrow, Sunday, January 21, thought it was time I finished this post from last year. Hopefully, “Pat” can stay on my head tomorrow.
I was on the edge of my seat, I paced the room, I jumped, I yelled, I took deep breaths and I did all of this multiple times during Super Bowl LI. It was not a pretty picture. The New England Patriots were well behind, some would say, “…they were getting crushed”.
Another dropped pass, I shouted, “Can anyone catch the f&cking ball?!”
I grabbed my hat off my head and threw it at the wall!
According to some voodoo algorithm, the Patriots, at this point in the game, the odds were 99.8% that they would lose.
Lying on the floor, Pat the Patriot (old logo) on the front of my hat faced the corner of the room. I stood and took one step to retrieve my head gear. Something just happened. A pass completion to Amendola, followed by a 15-yard scramble by Brady and then a 5-yard TD pass to James White. But, Gostkowski boofs the extra-point and gets called for penalty on an onside attempt; take a breath, stand up, pace. But, something really did just happened.
Pat the Patriot remained in the corner the rest of the game.
Holding penalty by the Falcons, Matt Ryan sacked, and they are out of field goal range. Patriots get ball and the game goes into 4th quarter and the score is 28-9; can they come back? Gostkowski gets redemption hitting a 33-yard field goal. Two scores (16 points) to tie. But, that is two touchdowns and “two-two point conversions”. Time is running out, but something is happening.
Edge of seat, hands run across face, stand up, breath, breath.
Injury to Falcons offensive lineman, replacement comes in, Pats D take full advantage and a sack of Ryan and fumble. The “Yeah!” chorus goes up! But, Brady is sacked on the next play. A muffled, depressing “c’mon” from the Patriots nation drowns out the “yeahs”.
Fingers work feverishly on my phone as I am communicated with friends across town and across the country.
Six minutes left in the game, score is 28-12. Breath. Breath. Breath.
Brady hits Amendola for TD!!
Scream, shout, pump fist. Something real is happening. But, hold on.
Julio Jones, aside from the season’s MVP Matt Ryan, he is a Falcons weapon that must be accounted for. Despite absolute blanket coverage, Jones makes an absurd catch and the Falcons are within field goal range.
Less than 4 minutes to go. Rub head, stare at screen, look at hat in corner. Pick it up?
The next series of plays; a Ryan sack, a holding penalty and an incomplete pass and the ball is now on Patriots 43-yard line – out of field goal range.
Two-and-half minutes left. Slap seat, rub head, sigh, gasp, edge of seat.
The “Edelman Catch”! Unbelievable! Three Falcon defensive players, pirouetting bodies, and a bobbling ball inches (probably 1-2 at most) from the ground.
A couple of plays later, a minute to go – touchdown run by White!!
Pump fist, shout, scream, high-fives, flurry of text messages. Two-point conversion. The game will go into overtime.
Patriots win the toss. The two best under-pressure quarterbacks in the NFL are Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Patriots Nation feels confident. Four plays later, the New England Patriots are World Champions!
I did not pick up my hat till the next morning.