October 13th, 2013 is a day that Boston Sports fans will not soon forget. That of course being in large part to Tom Brady and his comeback and David Ortiz and his Slam.
Brady’s Comeback over Brees
It all started on a picturesque New England fall afternoon. The Patriots hosted the New Orleans Saints for the mid-afternoon primetime Game of the Week in Foxborough. New Orleans had bounced back strong from their BountyGate marred 2012 campaign, winning their first five games decisively. The Patriots were coming off a tough road loss in Cincinnati were the offense failed to score a touchdown. Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 52 games. He fell just short of his opponent Drew Brees, who set the record at 54 consecutive games the prior season.
The Patriots started the game with a 14-play drive, stalling in the red zone to settle for a field goal. After a pair of three-and-outs, New Orleans marched on an 83-yard drive, scoring on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Travaris Cadet. The Patriots would respond with two Stevan Ridley short-yard touchdown runs on consecutive possessions to take a ten-point lead. The score would hold into halftime following a series of punts.
New Orleans would open the second half with back-to-back scoring drives to even the score at 17-17. The Patriots the following drive would stall outside of the red zone, but a Stephen Gostkowski 54-yard field goal would regain the lead. Following a pair of punts, Kyle Arrington picked off Brees and set up the Patriot’s offense inside the red zone. Again the defense held and the Patriots settled for another field goal, pushing their lead to 23-17.
The Saints responded with a 91-yard touchdown drive and a 39-yard field goal to take a 27-23 lead with just under 2:30 to play. Most would have expected the Patriots to mount a game-winning drive right then and there, but Brady was picked off trying to force a pass downfield to Julian Edelman, and the Saints took over with just over two minutes on the clock.
However, the Patriot’s defense would step up force an unexpected three-and-out. New Orleans punted and gave Brady the ball on his own 30-yard line with 1:13 left and no timeouts.
This time, the Patriots got the job done.
Brady had His Moment
Brady drove the offense 70-yards in eight plays, culminating in a 7-yard touchdown pass to undrafted rookie Kembrell Thompkins with just five seconds remaining. to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, sending the remaining fans, as well as Scott Zolak into a frenzy.
A short time later, the Red Sox were gearing up for Game 2 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. Many Boston fans hoped that the Patriot’s late-game magic would inspire the Sox, because the Tigers were dominant the night before. Detroit’s pitching staff silenced Boston’s top-ranked offense, striking out 17 batters and taking a no-hitter into the 9th inning.
Game 2 started out like Deja vu. Max Scherzer suffocated the Red Sox offense, pitching seven innings of one-run ball and striking out 13. On the other side, the Tigers knocked Clay Buchholz out after opening up a 5-0 lead in the 6th. By the 8th inning, Detroit led 5-1 and were in full control of the series.
Detroit turned the game over to their bullpen in the 8th, and that’s when the Sox finally woke up. A double by Will Middlebrooks, a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, and a 2-out Dustin Pedroia single loaded the bases for David Ortiz to face Joaquin Benoit, the Tiger’s fourth reliever of the inning.
Big Papi took the very first pitch of the at-bat deep into the Red Sox bullpen to tie the game and sent Fenway into a frenzy not too dissimilar to Gillette Stadium hours earlier. With just one swing Boston had stolen the momentum from Detroit’s grasp and turned the series onto its head.
Koji Uehara made quick work of the top of the 9th to turn the game over for an encore act. Johnny Gomes reached first on an infield single and advanced two-third on a pair of throwing errors. Detroit had presented the Red Sox with an improbable comeback victory on a silver platter. Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove home the winning run and evened the series, putting a bow on one of the most memorable days in recent Boston sports history.
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