Like a fine wine, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just keeps getting better with age. The 41-year-old recently added yet another accomplishment to his storied career by reaching 1,000 career rushing yards. In honor of this monumental occasion, let’s take a look back at the top five Tom Brady runs throughout his career.
Catching the Clydesdale: Top Five Tom Brady Runs
One-Yard Touchdown Run Against Baltimore Ravens – January 22, 2012
Tom Brady has had great success with the quarterback sneak throughout his career, but nothing compares to his one-yard, game-winning sneak in the 2011 AFC Championship Game. The Ray Lewis and Ed Reed era Ravens always gave Brady fits, and the 2011 AFC Championship Game was no exception. Brady finished the completing 22 of 36 passes for 239 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. While Brady couldn’t get much done with his arms, he was more than capable of getting the job done with his legs.
With just 11:33 left in the game, the Patriots found themselves trailing 20-16, but on the verge of the lead. After getting stuffed on the goal line on two consecutive plays, the Patriots lined up to go for it on fourth and goal from the one. Brady took the snap and kept it, but there was a twist. Instead of going between the center and guard, Brady jumped over the line, extending the ball for the game-winning score. Brady took a shot from Ray Lewis in the process, but that didn’t stop him from spiking the ball and celebrating all the way to the sideline. While the Patriots came up short in Super Bowl XLVI, they would have never made it that far were it not for Brady’s gutsy sneak.
Four-Yard Touchdown Run Against Baltimore Ravens – January 10, 2015
For the third time in four years, the Patriots ran into the Ravens in the playoffs. During this stretch of time, Baltimore was basically the only team capable of going into Foxboro and winning on a consistent basis. Naturally, when the Ravens jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, everyone in New England was worried that this might be a one-and-done.
Everyone, that is, except Tom Brady. Brady led a quick touchdown drive to get back in the game, highlighted by a four-yard touchdown scramble. Unlike most of his touchdown runs, however, this was not planned. Brady dropped back on third-and-goal, surveyed the field but couldn’t find anyone. Not willing to settle for a field goal, Brady ran for the endzone, beating Daryl Smith to the goal line and cutting the Patriots deficit to seven. The Patriots went on to win that game, 35-31, becoming the first team ever to erase multiple 14-point deficits in the playoffs. While that was one of the best games ever played, it all started with Brady’s scramble.
The Other Quarterback Sneaks
While those two previously mentioned plays stand out among the rest, there’s simply too many quarterback sneaks to list them all. Tom Brady is the master at the quarterback sneak and gets to the line faster than just about anyone. He knows how defenses align and is so fast at taking the snap that he can plow himself forward before defenses have time to react.
In addition to being the greatest quarterback of all time, it’s not hyperbole to suggest that Tom Brady is the best quarterback sneaker of all time. Tom Brady has run the ball 151 times on third or fourth down with less than four yards to go. In those opportunities, Brady has recorded a first down on 88.1% of his runs.
Brady Jukes Urlacher – November 26, 2006
The Patriots took on the Bears in an overall meaningless 2006 game. While there weren’t many highlights from the 17-13 win, there was one play in particular that stood out. Facing third and nine, Tom Brady juked out future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, running by him to pick up the first down.
Keep in mind, Urlacher was at the height of his powers in 2006. The Bears linebacker was in the midst of his fourth First-Team All-Pro selection and ended the year with 141 tackles. Most running backs couldn’t pull off a juke on Urlacher, but the speedy TB12 was able to do it. In reality, Urlacher must have assumed Brady was going to slide. There’s no other way to explain this happening. While it was an overall meaningless play, it’s still amazing that it actually happened at all.
Brady Lowers the Shoulder In Miami – December 14, 2014
The 2014 Patriots faced off against the Miami Dolphins looking to tighten their grip on home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The 2014 Dolphins embarrassed the Patriots in Week One and New England was looking for some revenge. However, New England found themselves leading just 14-13 at the half.
Brady looked to put the game away with the first drive of the second half. Facing third and 11 from the Maimi 20, Brady ran off right tackle for a 17-yard gain. What makes this play so impressive isn’t the run itself, but how Brady finished it. Brady had the first down and could’ve gone out of bounds for a 15-yard gain. Instead, Brady lowered his shoulder and took on safety Walt Aikens. While Brady got leveled, the energy he showed on that run energized the entire team for the rest of the game.
Oh, and it also led to this masterpiece.
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