It's hard to believe that it's already been seven years, or exactly 1/4 of my life since one of the most memorable nights in Boston sports' history.
In case you've forgotten, in about a four hour span on October 13th, 2013, Boston sports fans witnessed two of the most improbable comebacks in the history of its two most beloved franchises (despite my current feelings towards Red Sox ownership).
First came the play that inspired one of the most bizarre calls in football history when the 4-1 New England Patriots defeated the 5-0 New Orleans Saints on essentially a walk-off touchdown pass to of all people, Kenbrell Thompkins. How the Patriots were even in a position to win the game is pretty remarkable. Let's go back to 1/4 of a Dozo ago.
After starting the 2013 season 4-0, the Patriots lost in Cincinnati 13-6 during goT damn monsoon. That loss was historically significant because it marked the first time since week 17 of the 2009 season that Tom Brady didn't throw a touchdown pass in a regular season game. Since on-the-go NFL math can be hard, that was 52 consecutive games for TB12 with a touchdown pass. Had he thrown just one measly TD against the Bengals it would've been 53 straight games; which of course means Brady's chance to tie the all-time record of 54 straight (regular) season games with a touchdown pass would've come against the record-holder himself, Drew Brees. You gotta think it's not a coincidence the schedule worked out that way.
As for the actual game...after holding a 10 point in the lead (17-7) in the first half, the Patriots trailed the Saints 24-23 following a 34 yard Brees touchdown pass to Kenny Stills with 3:29 remaining in this week 6 contest. The Patriots quickly went four and out, giving New Orleans the ball with 2:46 left to play. Two first downs and it's game over. The Patriots D was able to force a three and out of their own, but because of the field-position they surrendered up by turning the ball over on downs, the Saints were able to extend their lead to four with a Garrett Hartley 39 yard field goal.
Now down four (27-23), the Patriots still had nearly 2:30 minutes left WITH a timeout to retake the lead. Plenty of time for, at the time, a man widely considered a Top 3 QB of all-time. TIME! That man, known in these parts as Tom Brady went out and played like Tony Romo by throwing an interception on the first play of this drive. To use a word that would mentioned ad nauseam the following season, that interception felt super deflating. With only one timeout and the two minute warning left to stop the clock, it didn't look good for the Pats.
After forcing another three and out, the Patriots got the ball back with 1:13 left, zero time outs and 70 yards keeping them from the Saints' end zone; a third and final attempt to win the game. I know 7 years (or 1/4 Dozo) can be a long time, so you may have forgotten that this season was sort of a new era of Patriots pass catchers. By that I mean all the talent from the 2010-12 run was gone; Wes Welker was in Denver, Brandon Lloyd retired, Danny Woodhead was in San Diego (R.I.P.), Aaron Hernandez was in jail (I'll let you decide on any potential R.I.P.'s), and Rob Gronkowski was hurt. Brady was throwing to Julian Edelman, Austin Collie, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. Sick! They had Danny Amendola too, but he was already hurt. At this point, Austin Collie was his most accomplished WR on the Patriots' roster. Of the six receptions Collie ever made as a Patriot, two of them were on this eventual game-winning drive. That's how you get remembered.
Speaking of being remembered...here's the entire final drive of that ever memorable comeback. Sure, it's not a Super Bowl, but it was a tasty appetizer for what was the come later on that night.
Later that night the Boston Red Sox hosted the Detroit Tigers for Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS. The Tigers were the defending American League champions; with a 1-2 punch of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer (2013 AL Cy Young winner) the Tigers were in a great position to get back to the Fall Classic.
Despite my current distain for the tenant's of Fenway Park, at this point in my life I was 21 and in my first senior year of college. I lived for the Boston Red Sox. 2013 was simply a magical year. After the Boston Marathon Bombing, the Red Sox and their #BostonStrong rally cry helped mend the city.
In Game 1 the Red Sox lost 1-0 despite a masterful effort by Jon Lester. Lester was bested by former Red Sox farmhand, Aníbal Sánchez who pitched six innings of no hit ball. The Sox were without a hit until a Daniel Nava single with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Luckily, in Game 2 the Red Sox only went hitless until the 5th inning. Unfortunately, they were down 5-0 at this point. In the bottom of the 5th, a Dustin Pedroia RBI double helped the Band of Bearded Brothers shave a run of the lead.
After 7 strong innings of work, Max Scherzer was pulled with the Tigers leading 5-1. Thanks to a Dave Dombrowski bullpen and the most clutch hitter in Red Sox history, the Tigers would not hold that lead.
Future Red Sox Cy Young Winner, Rick Porcello would ultimately give up a walk-off single to Jonny Gomes to seal off an unforgettable night of Boston comebacks. The win kept the Red Sox very much alive in the series. Had they gone down 2-0 going to Detroit it likely would've been series over. While the Patriots would eventually lose the AFC Championship game to the Broncos, the Red Sox were able to follow up this clutch comeback with a championship. Those loser ass Patriots would have to wait one more year before winning three Super Bowls in five seasons.
Enjoy the memories because it's going to be a longggggggg time before the Red Sox are competing for a 5th World Series of the 21st century.
P.S. Big Papi's grand slam inspired one of the best t-shirts in Barstool history, and the first Barstool shirt I ever owned. Talk about 1/4 Dozo ago; look at that hair!!