By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s the middle of August. The Patriots are engaged in yet another practice, this one with the Texans in West Virginia. There’s one fake game in the books, and three more on tap for the next several weeks. The well of storylines is drying up a bit as the monotony of training camp takes full hold of the region.
This is all a long way of setting this up: There’s really no news-worthy basis for this upcoming story, other than just thinking about football here in mid-August.
It has to do with Julian Edelman’s miracle catch in Super Bowl LI. As you may remember, it looked something like this:
The full video shows the utter improbability of that pass turning into a completion. The bullet from Tom Brady bounced off the outstretched hands of Robert Alford, who played the route perfectly. The ball basically came to a dead stop, yet Edelman was able to do the same. Even then, the odds of getting his hands under the ball were minuscule, especially with Keanu Neal draped over his back and Ricardo Allen diving for the ball.
Yet, as we all know, the catch — and some history — was made.
The significance of the catch may have been slightly inflated in reaction to the miracle nature of the actual catch. Had the ball fallen incomplete, it merely would’ve been second-and-10 for the Patriots. Based on what we saw from that offense in the fourth quarter and overtime, they likely could have picked up those 23 yards if needed.
But of course, had the ball been intercepted, then it’s essentially game over for the Patriots. (OK, that might be an overstatement. Kyle Shanahan might have drawn up another five-step drop for Matt Ryan on another third-and-1 and invited another strip sack.)
In thinking about that catch recently, it brought to mind a similar scenario from the Patriots’ home playoff win over the Chiefs in the 2015 season.
That pass came with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, with the Patriots leading by seven and just needing a first down to ice the victory. Brady threw to Rob Gronkowski but didn’t realize Tamba Hali was positioned directly between Brady and Gronkowski.
Similar to the Super Bowl LI pass, Brady fortunately threw the ball about 150 mph, making it rather hard for the defensive player to make the catch.
As a result, the ball bounced off Hali’s right elbow…
… ricocheted off Gronkowski’s shoulder pad …
and popped up into the air.
Somehow … Edelman was running directly underneath the new path of the ball. He seized it out of the air, secured it, realized where he was on the field, picked up the first down, and sealed the win.
Most players don’t ever make a play like that in their entire career. If they do, it might happen once. But for Edelman, it happened twice, both in the postseason, in consecutive seasons. Makes you wonder what might happen next January/February a little bit.
Anyway, that’s it. You came here for that, and you got it. You’re welcome. Now back to your regularly scheduled mid-August programming.