By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
All this week at 985thesportshub.com, we’re taking a look back at the most memorable divisional round playoff games the Patriots have played in the last two decades.
So far, we’ve relived the coldest game in franchise history in 2003 against the Titans, the 2004 defensive domination of Peyton Manning and the Colts, the comeback against the Chargers in 2006, and the 2014 thriller between the Patriots and the Ravens.
But there is perhaps no game in the history of the franchise that is more important than the 2001 divisional game against the Oakland Raiders. The Snow Bowl was the beginning of a dynasty that is still going all these years later.
Something mystical happened on that snowy night they closed Foxboro Stadium down. Something that can’t fully be explained.
The Patriots offense was stagnant for three quarters, but Tom Brady and company gave the Foxboro faithful life in the fourth quarter. Brady capped off 7:52 drive with a 6-yard touchdown scamper that cut Oakland’s lead to 13-10.
But the Pats still needed to get the ball back, and the defense came through with the first great stop of the Brady-Belichick era.
On a 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 44, the Pats stuffed Zach Crockett on a plunge play, forcing a Raiders punt and giving the ball back to Brady for one final drive.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Quote of the game:
“It’s a mob scene on the snowy field of Foxboro! Oh, baby!” -Gil Santos, calling Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal on the WBCN Patriots Rock Radio Network.
Tom Brady: 32/52, 312 yards, 1 interception. 6-yard rushing touchdown.
Antowain Smith: 20 carries, 65 yards.
David Patten: 8 catches (16 targets), 107 yards.
Jermaine Wiggins: 10 catches (13 targets), 68 yards.
Troy Brown: 4 catches, 43 yards.
J.R. Redmond: 4 catches, 43 yards.
Rich Gannon: 17/31, 159 yards, 1 touchdown.
Jerry Rice: 4 catches, 48 yards
Tim Brown: 5 catches, 42 yards.
You can hear Matt McCarthy on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.