|Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets||Smart Era Gets Off to a Good Start with Win over T’wolves|
This was the toughest decision of the Awards, between the Pats/Broncos, Bruins/Leafs and Red Sox championship clinchers among other choices that couldn’t all be included in the nomination phase. In the end, the Patriots showed the biggest grit and determination in a situation that was perhaps closer to impossible than any other game. Turning the ball over on their first three possessions and down 24-0 at halftime, the Pats didn’t look good. They also punted twice, turned the ball over on downs, and got off a singular desperation pass before halftime. Many were trying to beat the traffic or find something decent on TV to escape the pain. Boy were they sorry.
In the second half, four touchdowns to start, followed a field goal propelled New England to an improbable lead, before one last touchdown by Denver with just over three minutes left forced overtime. And that’s where the fun really began.
New England won the overtime coin toss, but instead of taking the ball like you would 99 times per 100, New England chose to kick off to start overtime in order to have the luxury of playing with a strong wind. After a chess match of punts, it looked like the game would end in a draw, but Tony Carter fumbled an attempted catch when receiving a punt deep in his own end. After positioning the ball for Stephen Gostkowski, New England kicked the game winner to complete the improbable win.