The New England Patriots and Tom Brady have been a force to be reckoned with for 15 years. The team and New England’s players have broken many records. Today Tom Brady has the most games with a quarterback rating of 145+ in his career. But former Patriot’s quarterback Drew Bledsoe holds a different record that just baffles the mind.
Before the emergence of Tom Brady, the New England Patriots had Drew Bledsoe as their starting quarterback. Bledsoe, during the 1994 NFL season, was heading into week 10 with seven interceptions in his last two games, now heading against a solid Minnesota Vikings team which was tied for 3rd in the league in sacks (27), and a powered offense led by opposing QB Warren Moon.
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The Vikings first possession goes smoothly as they roll down the field and find the end zone on a two-yard touchdown run by halfback Terry Allen, adding points again in the first quarter after Fuad Reveiz nails a 40-yard field goal through the 13 mph winds to go up 10-0 in the first.
As the Patriots offense continues to struggle going into the second quarter, after a quick four-and- out the Patriots kick the ball back over to Minnesota. Moon completes a 32-yard pass to wide out Jake Reed on the first play of the drive that sets up a 65-yard touchdown pass from Moon to Qadry Ismail, taking a sizable lead over New England 17-0. As both teams punt the ball to each other for most of the second quarter, the Vikings eventually get into field goal position and kick a 33 trader to extend the lead even further 20-0.
On the last drive of the half, Drew Bledsoe starts to find his stride completing two passes to LeRoy Thompson and two more long plays by Michael Timpson and Vincent Brisby for 20 and 13 yards, helping Matt Bahr hit the 38-yard field goal to end the half. Warren Moon had already thrown for 234 yards and 2 touchdown passes. The Patriots at this time did not score a touchdown in their last 10 quarters, making it seem unimaginable for Drew Bledsoe to turn this game around as he threw 8-17 for 54 yards.
Down but Not Out
The 3rd quarter begins with the Patriots down 20-3. Thompson returns the kickoff for 26 yards as Drew Bledsoe takes the field. Bledsoe begins to take it to the Minnesota defense completing four of his five passes, with one being a 31-yard touchdown pass to receiver Ray Crittenden to end their 10 quarter touchdown drought and closing the gap 20-10. The Vikings and Patriots both punt their next series. Bledsoe, who was now 14-26 for 117 yards, was told to switch to a no-huddle offense by coach Bill Parcells, due to their offensive woes and to quickly get back in the game.
With the Vikings at about midfield after the punt, Warren Moon completes a pass to Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter who fumbles the ball and is picked up by New England. Patriots cannot capitalize after Bledsoe completes another four of five passes, but kicker Matt Bahr couldn’t put the 39 yarder through the tough wind. Both teams continued to punt back and fourth to send the game into the 4th quarter. Bledsoe, who threw 21 more times, saw much improvement in offensive production with the no-huddle offense which is what New England needs to stay alive in the 4th.
Minnesota could not cushion their lead on their first possession of the 4th as they punt it over to the Patriots. Bledsoe once again finishes 4-5 on the drive, ending in another punt unable to cut the Vikings lead. In the next drive for New England, Drew Bledsoe threw the ball every play, driving 87 yards,completing 9 of 11 passes, ending with a five-yard touchdown pass to Thompson from five yards out to make it a close 20-17. Vikings begin to chew the clock as Patriots take two of their three timeouts, and after Moon cannot complete the 3rd down conversion to Carter, the Viking’s punt. Bledsoe is at their own 39 yard line leading a 4th quarter comeback, doing what he can to end their four game losing streak. He starts the drive 0-3 and having to go for it on 4th down, and completes a pass to Brisby for 25 yards, forcing New England to use their final timeout. After four completions to his receivers (Brisby, Timpson) Bledsoe drives 56 yards to help set up a Bahr game tying field goal, sending the game to overtime.
Dramatic OT Finish
The Patriots and Drew Bledsoe win the toss for the overtime start and decide to make quick work of the Minnesota defense. Drew Bledsoe adds to his career day completing all seven of his passes in OT including the walk-off touchdown pass from 14 yards out to fullback Kevin Turner to seal the deal. Drew Bledsoe finished the day with 426 passing yards and 3 TDs, but the stat that truly stands out is his 45 completions out of 70 attempts.
During that game, Bledsoe broke a 30-year-old record held by HOF quarterback George Blanda, who had 68 pass attempts. The Patriots extended their record to 4-6,snapping their four-game losing streak and snapping Minnesota’s four game winning streak, putting them 7-3, still leading the NFC Central. Getting shut out throughout most of the 1st half, and then coming back from a 17 point deficit while breaking two records (pass attempts, pass completions) and to top it off, lead a drive to end the game in OT for the win? Sounds like something the Patriots would do.