Kenyan Drake

USA Today

The Miami Miracle

Normally, you see that first lateral and it’s time to cue up Yakety Sax.

December 10, 2018 - 9:39 am

I tweeted it yesterday and I’ll repeat it at the top of the show today: nobody knows anything week to week in the NFL. You think you know something about this league? You don’t. Because you didn’t see New York beating up on Washington before it happened. Or the Bengals giving the Chargers all they could handle. Or the Steelers losing a must-win game to the Raiders. 

And even if you saw all that coming, there’s no way you saw this. 

Miami trailing New England 33-28, ball on their own 31 yard line, seven seconds left.

Roll it. 

Pass to Kenny Stills. Lateral to Devante Parker. Lateral to Kenyan Drake at midfield, who then weaves his way through the entire Patriots defense. 

It wasn’t like they went down the field lateraling the ball. The laterals were finished by midfield. The Patriots had fifty yards to tackle Drake and after the first defender nearly got him down, nobody got a hand on him.

And then it was down to Gronk and Drake. And as Drake said: “I just saw it was ‘Gronk’ in front of me and I was just like ‘Look, I’ve got somewhere to be.’ So I had to get in the end zone.”

Normally, you see that first lateral and it’s time to cue up Yakety Sax, because a team of grown men are embarrassing themselves and the sport by trying to play keep-away and trying to extend the game. And it never works. 

Normally, you see the Patriots with a 5-point lead and seven seconds left and that’s ball game. Normally, you see Rob Gronkowski enter the game on defense and you think, “That HOOD is a freaking genius.”

Not yesterday. Because none of that happened. There was no Yakety Sax. There was no ballgame. And Belichick did not look like a genius by putting Gronk into the game. He looked like an idiot. Yeah, I said it. 

Pretty hard to look like a genius when you sub out Devin McCourty for Rob Gronkowski before a play that includes two laterals and a 69-yard game-winning touchdown. 

I get why you’d put Gronk in the game, so that he can knock down a Hail Mary. Except, Ryan Tannehill wasn’t throwing a Hail Mary that had to go at least 70 yards in the air. Not on a bum ankle, with a bad wing, he wasn’t.

The Dolphins knew that. Hell, the Patriots knew it. We all knew it. The only guy who didn’t know it was the so-called greatest coach in NFL history: but don’t get it twisted: his own players did. Patriot Duron Hamilton, knew that: “You know they’re not just throwing the ball 75 yards...We knew that. We knew it was going to be a lateral situation.” 

Really, then why the hell was Gronk on the field?? If it’s clear that you’re facing a quarterback with a busted stick, who can’t get it to the end zone and it’s going to be a lateral situation, why is there a large, lumbering tight end as the last line of defense? Why go with the tight end in that situation and not the Pro Bowl safety?

Again, Bill Belichick knows more about football than just about anyone who has ever lived. He might be the smartest coach in NFL history, so you have to give him a wide berth. How many times has he done something really weird, that turned out to be really smart? Yeah well, this wasn’t one of those times. This was a really idiotic thing and made him look even worse. 

Then again, what the hell do I know? Don’t take my word for it: take the Dolphins’ word: they couldn’t have been more geeked to see Gronk on the field; because in that situation, they knew they were playing 11 on 10: check out Tannehill’s response: “I was like, ‘Gronk’s on the field, we got this!’” And then chased that with this: “Drake runs a 4.3 and Gronk probably runs a 4.6 or 4.7. We feel good about that matchup.”

So no, Gronk should not have been on the field. Then again, if he was going to be on the field, why did he switch out his cleats for roller skates?

It’s rare that you see Gronk look that lost, that out of sorts, and that unathletic on a football field. Normally, he’s the scariest cat on the field. In that moment, he was the most hilarious person on the field.

The Patriot Way is all about two things: “Do Your Job” and “No Days Off.” That play was, “Wait for someone else to do your job” and “Take a Play off.”

But that wasn’t the only blunder from the Patriots in that disaster of a game. How about Tom Brady with one of the all-time least clutch moments at the end of the first half?

The Patriots block a punt and take over with the ball on Miami’s 15 and thirty seconds left. They don’t have a timeout, but thirty seconds is plenty of time for a couple of shots at the end zone and then a field goal attempt. Or not.

Because after a 13-yard completion to Gronk, they were on the 2 with 21 seconds left. Points are a lock, right? Wrong. Because on third down, Brady inexplicably took a sack and the Patriots ran out of time.

How did that happen? Well, let Tom explain: “That was a terrible play by me. That should never happen. I lost track. I thought we had one time out. We called the one, and we ran a couple plays, and I was just not thinking on third down. So it was just a play that should never happen.”

He didn’t know how many timeouts the Patriot had? The most polished and precision based quarterback in NFL history forgot how many timeouts they had. Somehow, that is almost more shocking than the Miami Miracle itself...  C’mon, man, really?  How are you going to play into your mid 40s when you have the memory of a 90 year old. That or suddenly, your brain is so scrambled you can’t count to 3.

Sure, it’s just one game. It’s just one loss. But for the Pats, looking to not only clinch the division, but get the all-important home field, that’s one of their worst losses ever. They all be spitting nothing but ‘it’s on to Pittsburgh,” but this one is going to stick to them.  And as they try to forget it and put it behind them, no one is going to let them. Because that implosion at the end of the game, never, ever happens; especially to a Bill Belichick team. But it just did. I went to bat for these guys on the NFL on CBS a couple of weeks back saying the Patriots aren’t done until they’re done. That the Patriots dynasty will not be done until Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are done. Yesterday, in certain moments, those dudes looked like they had one foot out the door; at least mentally...because those two dudes never, ever make the mistakes they made against the Dolphins. Then again, that type of thing generally does happen to the Pats when they go to Miami. Wake the hell up, Tommy. Coach em the hell up, Hoodie: because that right there, was one of the worst looks ever.