Tom Brady detailed the 25-point comeback to MMQB’s Peter King. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)
It’s been a week since Super Bowl LI and Tom Brady opened up on the game, specifically the Patriots’ 25-point comeback, in an long-ranging interview with MMQB’s Peter King.
While many thought it was one of the greatest games ever played, Brady doesn’t think so.
“I don’t really think that is necessarily the case,” Brady said to King from Montana. “I think it was one of the greatest games I have ever played in, but when I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half plus overtime as one of the ‘best games ever.’ But it was certainly one of the most thrilling for me, just because so much was on the line, and it ended up being an incredible game.
“There are so many things that played into that game—a high-scoring offense, a top-ranked defense, the long Super Bowl, four-and-a-half-hour game, the way that the game unfolded in the first half versus what happened in the second half — so it was just a great game.”
Despite all the hits Brady took in the game, he wasn’t sore the week after.
“I have zero pain,” Brady said. “I feel great. I feel 100 percent.”
Brady also detailed the comeback, score-by-score. Here are some of the highlights.
— Even when Atlanta made it 28-3 in the third quarter, Brady didn’t lose hope.
“It was similar to what I had felt at halftime,” Brady said. “We came out of halftime saying, ‘Look, we’ve had 20 minutes time of possession, we’ve run 45 or 46 plays, we’ve done a good job moving the ball up and down the field, we just have nothing to show for it because of a missed third-and-one, a fumble in their territory, an interception return for a touchdown in their territory, because of poor execution in the red area … We had over 200 yards passing in the first half [actually 184], so it wasn’t like we were in there at halftime saying, ‘Hey, how are we going to move the ball?’
“So we come out for the second half, defense does a great job getting a stop, which was exactly what we needed, we’re down 21-3. And we come out there on offense and throw an incompletion on the first pass of the second half, which was close to being caught but we didn’t come up with it, then a third down to Julian [Edelman], I hit him running across the middle and who knows if we would have gotten the first down, but we didn’t come up with it and it was just more of the same. … So we come off again, and I’m like, ‘Guys, at some point we all gotta just start making the plays.’ [Atlanta] went down the field and scored to put us down 28-3. And at that point, you can say a lot of things, but ultimately it comes down to what we do.”
— Once Stephen Gostkowski kicked a field goal with 9:48 left, it was two-possession game and that was when Brady knew it was a game again.
“I felt like, man, we’re back in the game,” Brady said.
Added Brady: “There were still a lot of calls on the call sheet that we liked, based on the style that they were playing. The Super Bowl is a strange game. I’ve been in a lot of them, and it may go one way and then it may go the other way, and I know at the end of all those games that I’ve played in the Super Bowls, the defenses have a hard time stopping the offense at the end, in every game.”
— Danny Amendola then scored to make it a 10-point game and Brady detailed the play in which Josh McDaniels helped him change the play to make sure it went to Amendola, against cornerback Jalen Collins.
“I think he said, ‘Don’t forget about Danny,’ or ‘Danny has a great shot on this.’ Something like that,” Brady said. “I wanted to give Danny a better chance to get open. So I pushed him out because I knew at that point I had changed the route and I wanted to make sure Danny would get the leverage or put him in a better position to get the leverage based on the route that he had. I wanted to move him out because I didn’t want him to get stuck inside of Jalen … [Collins] being inside told me it was probably man coverage, a perimeter corner on the inside of the field … When I pushed Danny out, Jalen didn’t really adjust, so I was really looking outside after that to see if the corner was going to try to get involved and maybe trapping that to the flat. But once I saw the corner go with the outside receiver, or it might have been James White, I just threw it to Danny.”
The two-point conversion play was a direct snap to James White, a play they worked on Friday in practice, but center David Andrews snapped it over Brady’s head. Brady noted McDaniels didn’t lose confidence in his center.
— Brady also detailed the Patriots had three, two-point conversion plays for the game — the direct snap to White, then the pass to Amendola and finally, the play James White scored to win the game in overtime.
This is a week-long series, as Brady sat down for more than 90 minutes with King. It will be something to look forward to as the week goes on.