New England Patriots: Ranking the top 5 plays of 2017 so far

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Duron Harmon /
5 of 5

1. Brady connects with Cooks for 25-yard game-winning touchdown vs. the Texans

Football is a game of inches. It’s also game of milliseconds. This play defies that.

There are three attributes of this play that make it so spectacular.

First off, Brady’s ability to throw while being hurried. Despite Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney blasting through the B-gap, he remained calm and collected, and got the ball out just in time.

Secondly, his ball placement, timing, and accuracy. Even with a two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher closing in, Brady still managed to put the ball on Cooks’ hands inbounds. Half a second early, it’s an incomplete pass, half a second late, it’s an interception.

Lastly, Cooks’ footwork. How Brandin Cooks is able to keep his feet inbounds is a mystery. He leaped, made the catch, did a 180-degree spin, and had the balance to keep his feet inbounds.

If Clowney was half a second quicker, does Brady still get the throw off? If the safety got to the ball a half second faster, was the pass intercepted? If Cooks was an inch closer to the sideline, does he still land inbounds?

Next: Patriots will be keeping an eye on Charles Clay

This was a Patriots game-winning drive at its best and it’s the best play we’ve seen from the team all season long.