By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady passed Peyton Manning on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list, but it wasn’t his arm that had teammate Julian Edelman referring to the QB as the GOAT on Thursday night. It was Brady’s legs — or rather, his lunging ability.
The Patriots needed those lunges, too. Sony Michel wasn’t able to convert on a handful of short-yardage situations Thursday night against the Giants. Rex Burkhead missed the game with an injury. So Brady called his own number when the Patriots needed a single yard to put six points on the board. Twice.
He first snuck it in at the end of the first half to put the Patriots on top 21-14. It stopped the bleeding after the Giants scored 14 unanswered to pull even with New England. Brady did it again late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach, 35-14.
Neither were the cinematic leap over the Baltimore Ravens defensive line in the 2011 AFC Championship Game, but they got the job done. Though Brady isn’t exactly known for his legs — he ain’t no spring chicken anymore, ya know — he’s now up to 22 rushing touchdowns for his career.
“We were low on some bodies, and I had some opportunity there, so I tried to just get it in,” Brady said.
Brady now has more rushing touchdowns this season (3) than the Miami Dolphins have total touchdowns (2). The 42-year-old also became the oldest quarterback to have multiple rushing scores in a game, passing Doug Flutie, who set the mark in 2003 with the San Diego Chargers.
And it wasn’t just goal-line sneaks for No. 12 on Thursday. Brady also had a sneak on the 3-yard line that picked up two yards prior to his second touchdown, and a two-yard sneak on a third-and-1 in the third quarter.
“It’s awesome. He’s like the best QB sneaker I’ve ever seen,” said Edelman. “He’s the GOAT of QB sneaking.”
The New England offense isn’t at its finest level at the moment. The passing game is low on options, and their running backs are either injured or ineffective. And it certainly doesn’t help that the offensive line is a sieve and Josh McDaniels is calling some truly awful plays at the worst moments.
But they always have a secret weapon in Brady’s lunging ability. It’s not always pretty, but it works.