The New England Patriots lost in inexplicable, heartbreaking fashion Sunday.
Their former quarterback knows the feeling.
Tom Brady was on the wrong end of the famed Miami Miracle in 2018, watching from the sideline as the Dolphins beat the Patriots with a 69-yard, multi-lateral catch-and-run in the final seconds. But what happened this past weekend in Las Vegas was somehow worse.
With the score tied and no time remaining, running back Rhamondre Stevenson and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers made boneheaded decisions to lateral the ball rather than simply falling down and going to overtime. Meyers’ lateral — an overhead heave across the field — went straight to Raiders linebacker Chandler Jones, who trucked quarterback Mac Jones and ran 48 yards for a game-winning touchdown. Las Vegas won 30-24, leaving the Patriots stunned and reeling.
Brady, who played with both Meyers and Chandler Jones in New England, offered his take on that insane play during Monday’s episode of his “Let’s Go!” podcast.
“That was crazy, and I was part of the one in Miami in (2018) when we lost at Miami on the Miami Miracle,” Brady said, as transcribed by MassLive.com. “It was just so improbable for that to happen. I saw that highlight as I was driving home from the game (on Sunday). It’s just sports, man. You never know. You never know. Anything can happen. … It’s just a crazy game. I saw Rhamondre got the ball and it was a great run. I’m sure the Raiders at that point were like, ‘Tackle him, tackle him.’ Then they pitched it to Jakobi, and Jakobi’s trying to make it happen.
“Then next thing you know, Jakobi got it and in that moment, you might lose your train of thought because you lose what’s really going on in that situation. You think, ‘Oh, someone tossed me the ball, I have to make a play.’ Sometimes that’s the worst thing when you say, ‘I’ve got to make a play. I’ve got to make a play.’ The play was obviously ‘go to overtime.’ That’s sports. It goes from ‘Oh my god, tackle that guy’ to ‘Oh my god, we got the ball,’ and then the Patriots are saying, ‘Tackle that guy,’ and they couldn’t get him on the ground.”
The 2018 Patriots rebounded from their shocking loss in Miami to win Super Bowl LIII. This year’s team does not appear capable of making such a run. They remain in postseason contention at 7-7 but have struggled all season against playoff-caliber opponents. New England is 0-4 against teams currently holding playoff spots and must face three more (Cincinnati, Miami and Buffalo) over the final three weeks of the season.
Brady, whose Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit at a disappointing 6-8, said he has an idea of what Patriots coach Bill Belichick will tell the team this week.
“They’re all learning lessons, but at the same time, that’s probably never going to happen again,” Brady said. “Just like that Miami Miracle — we changed some strategy after that play. I think there’s another word for ‘just kneel on the ball and go into overtime,’ but it wasn’t good. Look, there’s a lot of reasons why you win or lose. I know everyone always points to one play and that particular play because it was so incredible. They’re probably going to show it forever. But there were probably other plays in the game, which knowing Coach Belichick, he’s probably like, ‘Guys, these are the 20 other things we could’ve done to win the game, too,’ which is part of his great coaching.”
The Patriots will host the 10-4 Bengals on Saturday. Brady’s Bucs will visit the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night.