2001 New England Patriots Season - Notable Games

Notable Games

  • September 23 vs. New York Jets:

This was the first game played by any team since the September 11th attacks. This is known by Pats fans as the Patriots Dynasty, and for the Jets fans as the worst day in Jets history. During the fourth quarter of a 10-3 loss to the Jets Drew Bledsoe was hammered while running to the sidelines by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. The injury to his chest, which filled with blood, left Bledsoe hospitalized. Tom Brady finished the game, completing five of ten passes for 46 yards, and was elevated to starter.

  • September 30 vs. Indianapolis Colts:

The 2-0 Colts were crushed 44-13 following a brutal hit on receiver Jerome Pathon by Patriots linebacker Bryan Cox in the first quarter. From there Colts receivers shied away from contact with Patriot defenders and Peyton Manning's interception at the Patriots 22-yard line late in the first half was returned by Otis Smith for a touchdown. The Patriots led 23-0 late in the third quarter before Manning ran in a ten-yard score, then in the fourth the Colts collapsed entirely, surrendering 21 points (including a 23-yard Ty Law interception return touchdown) while managing just a touchdown to future Patriot Marcus Pollard. Tom Brady threw for 168 yards in his first start.

  • October 14 vs. San Diego Chargers:

The game that decisively turned the 1-3 Patriots season around came against former and future Patriot Doug Flutie along with the 3-1 Chargers' vaunted rookie LaDainian Tomlinson. Unruly receiver Terry Glenn, making his first start of the season after being benched for the opening four games, caught a 21-yard score from Tom Brady and had seven catches for 110 yards total. The Patriots led 16-13 but were struggling on special teams (Bill Belichick called their performance "the worst in a year and a half" afterward); Adam Vinatieri had missed a field goal try and the extra point off Glenn's touchdown, but the real special teams breakdown occurred with less than seven minutes remaining; forced to punt with his team trailing 19-16, Patriots punter Lee Johnson botched the kick and running back Derrick Harris ran in a six-yard score (the miscue cost Johnson his punting job as he was replaced by Ken Walter). But despite being down 26-16, Brady took over, directing a field goal drive, then throwing the game-tying touchdown in the final minute to Jermaine Wiggins. A last-second Wade Richey field goal try fell short, and in overtime Brady picked up a Chargers blitz and led a drive that ended in Vinatieri's 44-yard gield goal and a 29-26 Patriots final.

  • October 21 at Indianapolis Colts:

In what turned out to be their last trip to the RCA Dome until the post-realignment 2003 season, the Patriots followed up their September rout of the Colts with a 38-17 thrashing highlighted by the one-man scoring explosion of David Patten, who ran in a 29-yard touchdown, caught a 91-yard bomb from Tom Brady, then on a flea-flick play threw a 60-yard strike to Troy Brown, all in the first half. The Colts lost two fumbles and Peyton Manning was sacked four times as the Colts' season began spiraling into collapse.

  • November 4 at Atlanta Falcons:

Former Patriot Shawn Jefferson caught a 19-yard touchdown from Chris Chandler, but Chandler was sacked six times and knocked out of the game; rookie Michael Vick threw for 56 yards and rushed for 50 more but was sacked three times. The most bizarre score of the game came in the third as a Tom Brady pass for David Patten was deflected off a body and caught at the 30-yard line by Troy Brown for a 44-yard touchdown. The Patriots won 24–10.

  • November 18 vs. St. Louis Rams:

The Patriots squandered a goalline opportunity when they fumbled to the Rams late in the second quarter; the Rams drove downfield and scored. The Patriots' defense was unable to stop Kurt Warner and get the ball back late in the game, as the Rams salted away a 24–17 win. The win proved costly, as five Rams starters were knocked out of the game, and coach Mike Martz said afterward that the Patriots were a Super Bowl-caliber team. Oddly enough this was the last lost for the Patriots during the 2001 season.

  • November 25 vs. New Orleans Saints:

Drew Bledsoe was medically cleared to return to the field, but Bill Belichick ruled that Brady would remain the starter. Brady responded with four touchdowns in a 34–17 triumph. Ricky Williams, soon to leave the Saints for the Miami Dolphins, rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown in his first encounter with the Patriots.

  • December 2 at New York Jets:

The Jets bullied the Patriots en route to a 13–0 halftime lead, but the Patriots stormed back, scoring 14 third-quarter points en route to a 17–16 win. During the game the Jets appeared to lose a fumble to the Patriots, but the fumble was reversed based on a rule that would become controversial in the subsequent playoffs - the Tuck Rule.

  • December 16 at Buffalo Bills:

Field goals ruled the day as Shayne Graham and Adam Vinatieri kicked seven combined in a 12-9 overtime Patriots win. The most controversial play came in overtime when David Patten caught a pass and was knocked out of bounds; the ball bounced off his feet and was recovered by the Bills, but the play went to review and it was determined that Patten, momentarily unconscious, had his head out of bounds when the ball touched his feet; by rule the ball was dead. The Patriots thus retained possession enough for the game-winning 23-yard field goal.

  • December 23 vs. Miami Dolphins:

The Patriots defeated the Dolphins (20–13) for the first time since November 23, 1998 in the final regular season game for Foxboro Stadium. During halftime Patriot greats of the past and present were paraded with each commemorating a season of the stadium's 31-season existence – John Hannah represented 1973 (the year he was drafted by New England), Steve Grogan represented 1976 (the year of the infamous "Ben Dreith game" against Oakland), Drew Bledsoe represented 1996 (the Super Bowl XXXI season), and so forth. During the game itself Tom Brady caught a 23-yard pass from Kevin Faulk and threw for 109 yards himself, as the Patriots raced out to an early lead and held off a late Dolphins rally to earn sole 1st place in the AFC East.

  • January 19, 2002 vs. Oakland Raiders
See also: Tuck Rule Game

This is also known as Snowjob for Raiders fans, and as the Snow Bowl for Patriots fans. With less than two minutes to play in regulation, the Patriots trailed the Raiders, 13-10, in a game played mostly under a driving snowstorm. Oakland defensive back Charles Woodson blitzed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and sacked him, causing a fumble. The ball was recovered by the Raiders' Greg Biekert at the Oakland 42-yard-line. When referee Walt Coleman reviewed the play, he ruled it an incomplete pass explaining that Brady's hand was coming forward. Later explanations for the ruling cited the Tuck Rule (NFL Rule 3, Section 21, Article 2, Note 2) which states that, after starting a forward pass, "even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body" it is still a forward pass. The Patriots retained possession, and later tied the game on a dramatic 45 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal that barely cleared the crossbar with 27 seconds left in regulation. The Patriots won the game in overtime on a 23-yard field goal, and went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI. The ruling remains controversial, with one former NFL coach noting that, as worded, "t says you can pull down and do anything you want for the next 10 minutes" after finishing the tucking motion.

Read more about this topic:  2001 New England Patriots Season

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