Top 10 playoff games of the Brady/Belichick era (Part 2)
By Mike Caliri
3. 2001 AFC Divisional Round vs. Oakland Raiders
January 19, 2002
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Vegas Odds: Patriots -3.0
The infamous “Tuck Rule” game featured the Patriots hosting the Raiders in what would be the final game ever played in Foxboro Stadium.
With heavy snow falling during the game and the entire field blanketed by white, both teams struggled to get their offenses going.
The Raiders finally struck first and took a 13-3 lead late in the third quarter. It ended up being the last time the silver-and-black would put points on the board.
Tom Brady and the Patriots responded in the fourth quarter with a 10 play, 67 yard drive in which Brady completed all nine of his pass attempts and capped off the drive with a six yard touchdown run.
With just over two minutes to go in regulation, the Patriots began a drive from their own 46, and the third play of the drive would go down forever – and controversially, no less – in NFL history.
As Brady dropped back to pass, he was hit from behind by Charles Woodson while pump-faking, and the ball came loose. It was immediately ruled a fumble on the field, but the call later got reversed due to the “Tuck Rule,” which indicates that if a quarterback is bringing the ball back towards his body when it comes loose, then it is considered an incomplete pass rather than a fumble.
The controversial play later caused the rule to get taken out of the game altogether, but it did keep the Patriots’ drive and season alive that day.
After another first down, Adam Vinatieri’s 45 yard field goal with 32 seconds left in regulation (and in a blizzard) was good, which tied the game at 13 and sent it to overtime.
In OT, the Patriots got the ball first and drove 66 yards on a drive in which Tom Brady went a perfect eight-for-eight.
Adam Vinatieri cleared some snow out of the way again in preparation for his game-winning 23 yard field goal, and the Patriots moved on to the AFC Championship Game.