BOSTON (CBS) — Sunday was not a very good day for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
It got even worse when the Titans decided to rub their face in it.
Brady famously couldn’t come down with a reception in New England’s Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last February. He was able to come down with a catch this time, coming off a pass from Julian Edelman early in the fourth quarter in Tennessee.
But Brady is not the most graceful runner, and stumbled as he turned upfield. The 41-year-old was stopped one yard short of moving the chains for New England.
“I don’t know what happened. Fish out of water,” Brady said of the play, adding that he had long spikes on his cleats on Sunday.
Brady’s gain was essentially erased the next play when offensive lineman Marcus Cannon jumped early, turning New England’s 4th-and-1 into a 4th-and-6 attempt. That ruled out a possible QB keeper for Brady, who couldn’t connect on Edelman over the middle and the Patriots turned the ball over on downs.
But like the Eagles did in the Super Bowl nine months ago, the Titans decided to dial up some trickeration of their own on their next possession. On the first play of their dive, Tennessee called for the very same play, as receiver Darius Jennings connected with quarterback Marcus Mariota. The 25-year-old is a little more nibble than Brady in the open field, and turned his reception into a 21-yard gain for the Titans.
A few plays later, Derrick Henry found the end zone with a 10-yard run out of the Wildcat formation.
Calling for a pass to Mariota was a solid troll job by Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who won three Super Bowls with the Patriots during his playing days.
“I wanted to see if ours looked better than theirs,” Vrabel said of the play after Tennessee’s 34-10 victory.
It did look better than the Patriots’. Much, much better.