Overtime in chilly Kansas City, game tied at 31-31. The Patriots possess one of the great mis-match players in the NFL in tight end Rob Gronkowski, bound for the Hall of Fame but whose opportunities so far in the AFC Championship game have been minimal.
“That’s why I keep saying, Gronk has to get out wide, and you’ve got to throw it to him out there.”
Tom Brady has already converted two fairly improbable throws on third-and-long to wide receiver Julian Edelman. Well, improbable unless you are Tom Brady. Gronk on both occasions acts as a decoy.
More resistance from the Chiefs and here Brady and the Patriots are again, facing third-and-10. Fail to convert and they will have to settle for a field goal, giving the Chiefs and their phenom, the MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the chance to go to the Super Bowl.
Brady might be the greatest quarterback of all time, but completing a third long-range conversion is pushing his luck.
“Here we go. Gronk is out wide. Watch the top of your screen. Watch this safety [circled quickly in yellow]. If he comes down, Brady’s throwing out there.”
The safety, Daniel Sorensen, does just that. Gronkowski moves inside the covering defender, motors through a small window like an HGV careering down an alleyway, and picks up the first down. Three plays later and the Patriots score, booking their ticket to Atlanta. Kansas City the following week fired their defensive co-ordinator Bob Sutton.