The Best Patriots Game That I Ever Attended


As fans of the New England Patriots, we are extremely privileged.  This run of sustained success is unprecedented.  There have been countless amazing moments along the way, and as somebody whose family has held season tickets since 1994, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of several of those.

Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe
With the New England Patriots just two weeks away from the beginning of training camp, I felt it a good time to reminisce, and talk about the best game that I have ever attended.  There have been several exhilarating home games, both during the regular season and postseason.  It’s hard to choose a favorite, but here it goes. 

It took place on the evening of Saturday, January 10th of 2015.  The Patriots had once again finished as the top seed in the AFC, enjoying the comforts of their home field for as long as their postseason lasted.  However, the feeling leading up to this particular game was anything but comforting. 

2019 NFL Rookie JerseysThe Baltimore Ravens, and their insufferable fan base, were invading Gillette Stadium that night.  A team that to this day still makes a faction of Pats fans squeamish.  Pats fans had a right to be wary that night, as the Ravens had dismantled the Patriots on their home field on two separate occasions in postseasons prior.  However, it was nothing that few parking lot beverages couldn't quell.

With temperatures in the teens, the beers were flowing pre-game as fans aimed to beat the cold with numbness.  However, soon after kickoff, Pats fans began sobering up as the game began heading down a familiar path.

Baltimore raced out to a 14-0 lead, just over 10 minutes in.  They went 71 yards in 5 plays to start the game, forced a quick Patriots punt and then went 79 yards in 11 plays, with each of their drives ending in the endzone.  Flacco and company were carving up a Patriots defense that finished 8th in the league in points allowed that year.  Just as fans started to throw their hands up and mutter "here we go again", things got better.

In a drive that they absolutely needed to have, Tom Brady and company delivered.  An 8-play, 78 yard drive - 62 of which came via Rob Gronkowski - ended with a Brady touchdown run and emphatic spike, energizing the crowd and getting the Pats back in the game.  As the momentum pendulum crept back towards New England, the defense came alive, forcing punts on Baltimore's next two possessions.

After the second punt, Brady and company broke through again with a touchdown drive that lasted 10 plays, knotting the game at 14 with less than four minutes left in the half.  A quick three and out for Baltimore gave the Pats the ball with just under two minutes left and all of the momentum in the world. 

As they marched towards midfield, Brady let loose a horrific throw that was intercepted, and it sucked all of the life out of the stadium.  Baltimore took full advantage, finding the end zone and taking a 21-14 halftime lead. 

A New England three and out to start the second half was followed up by another Ravens touchdown and put the Pats in their second 14-point hole of the night.  Then the fun really began. 

It started with Shane Vereen announcing himself as an ineligible receiver.  The entire Ravens team - both on the field and sidelines - reacted as if they had never heard the word ineligible before.  The Pats had Baltimore on their heels that entire drive and punched it in the end zone to get to within seven. 

The crowd came back to life, and a Baltimore three and out only fueled that fire.  What happened next sent the stadium into pandemonium, and it gave the crowd a type of energy that I had never experienced before, and it didn't let up the rest of the game. 

On first and 10 from their own 49 yard line, Brady took the snap, fired a backwards pass over to Julian Edelman, who hit Danny Amendola in stride downfield for the game-tying 51 yard touchdown.  The crowd went cuckoo banana pants, as the Pats erased a 14-point deficit for the second time that night.

The party in the stands intensified before the ensuing kickoff as House of Pain's "Jump Around" blared through the speakers.  Fans all over the stadium adhered to the lyrics and the place was shaking.  Kudos to the stadium DJ, or whatever his/her job title is, for reading the room.  That was a perfectly timed decision, and since this game, that song has become a staple for Pats fans.

Things got even louder when three plays later, Devin McCourty intercepted Flacco in front of the Pats sideline.  Unfortunately, the offense couldn't capitalize and after a Justin Tucker field goal, New England found themselves down three with just over ten minutes remaining.

Once again, Brady and company responded, and with just over five minutes left, Brady dropped an absolute dime into the hand of Brandon LaFell for the game-winning score.  I say hand because it was placed perfectly into LaFell's left hand, who then pulled it in.  It might be one of the top five throws of Brady's career.

Baltimore had one last chance, but a Duron Harmon interception ignited the crowd and all but sealed a hard fought, well-deserved victory.  However, a few plays before that occurred, Gillette Stadium transformed into the world's largest karaoke bar.  With Baltimore facing a fourth and three, and the crowd roaring, they burned a timeout.

During the break in action, the Gillette Stadium DJ made another great decision, playing New England's newly found rallying cry, "Your Love" by the Outfield, as nearly 67,000 sang along.  IT was an unforgettable moment, which was captured on television.  Ultimately, the Ravens converted and extended the drive, but it came to an end just a few plays later in the hands of Harmon.

I remember going home that night and rewatching this game.  Everything about it — the outcome, the opponent, the game flow, the emotional roller coaster, the crowd energy, the timely music — was perfect.  It all combined to produce one of the most exhilarating games I’ve ever been to, and one that I will never forget. 

Follow Derek on Twitter - @mcvay34

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Boston Sports Syndicate: The Best Patriots Game That I Ever Attended
The Best Patriots Game That I Ever Attended
Boston Sports Syndicate
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