New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff,

The Patriots went on one of the most improbable runs in NFL history in the second half of the 2001 season. But you may or may not know that the Pats were a loss away from that season going under in the first half.

Entering San Diego at 1-3, the Patriots basically put themselves in a must-win situation on the road in order to keep their 2001 campaign afloat. And as it turned out, they needed a young quarterback named Tom Brady to get them back in the game late in the fourth quarter in just his third career start.

Well, all Brady did was give Patriots fans their first glimpse of the greatness he would exude over the next 18 years.

First Brady went 5-for-8 for 60 yards and a game-tying touchdown to tight end Jermaine Wiggins with just 40 seconds left in regulation. Then, in overtime, a 37-yard pass interference penalty on the Chargers set up Brady at the San Diego 40-yard line. He went 3-for-4 for another 20 yards to set up a game-winning 44-yard field goal for Adam Vinatieri.

The Pats went 9-2 the rest of the way and won their first Super Bowl. And have done a lot of other good things since.

Listen above for classic calls from the game by the late Gil Santos and some postgame sound from Bill Belichick from that day. And you can watch the full game below. Go to the 2:16:00 mark for the start of the game-tying drive at the end of the fourth quarter.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at