There’s no shortage of fond memories when Tom Brady reflects on his 20-year tenure with the Patriots, but the six-time Super Bowl champion cherishes one regular-season game a bit more than the rest.
“I almost giggle every time I think about that game,” Brady said in his episode of “Greatness Code,” an Apple TV+ docu-series that debuts Friday. “Because ever since that game, I’m still trying to get back to that point. Because in so many ways, for me, it was a perfect night.”
On Nov. 18, 2007, the undefeated Patriots visited the Buffalo Bills for a Sunday night showdown. New England scored a touchdown on its opening drive. And on its next drive. And next drive, and next drive, and next drive, and next drive, and next drive.
The Patriots’ offense scored on seven consecutive trips down the field, racking up 49 points. The defense added a score of its own, on a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.
Brady, then 30 years old, connected on all but eight of his 39 pass attempts for a 79.5 completion percentage. He threw for 373 yards and five touchdowns, with no interceptions. The performance was “a masterpiece of football,” according to Brady.
“That was a clinic,” he added. “That’s the one that you’re always trying to strive for.”
In the seven-minute episode of “Greatness Code,” viewers are treated to animated highlights from New England’s 56-10 beatdown in Buffalo. Two moments, in particular, stood out to Brady.
The first came in the closing seconds of the second quarter. With the ball on Buffalo’s 17-yard line, Brady overshot the reach of wide receiver Randy Moss in the end zone. On the very next play, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels directed Brady to try it again. Moss ran the same route and, instead of breaking toward the post, broke to the flag — and Brady hit him in the corner of the end zone. The score was the fourth touchdown of the night for Moss.
“There was such a chemistry between [Randy] and I,” recalled Brady. “When you play with those types of guys and you’re on the same page, you can’t stop them. You can only hope to contain them.”
Another throw Brady vividly remembers came on a deep curl route to Donté Stallworth. Brady said he released the ball while he could still see the No. 18 on the back of Stallworth’s jersey. Stallworth turned around just in time to catch the pass, square in his chest. Brady views the throw as “one of the best” he’s made in his career, in terms of anticipation and accuracy.
“You feel like at that point you can’t do much wrong,” Brady siad. “It really wouldn’t have mattered who was on the field that night because our execution was unstoppable. [The Bills] were the mosquitos; we were the windshield.”
That evening, Brady says, represents the level of play he is trying to achieve today, as a 42-year-old quarterback. In his eyes, that victory over the Bills is one that stacks up against the likes of his playoff wins.
“I don’t think many people would ever think about that game when they think about my career,” Brady said. “I don’t think people would go, ‘Man, that Sunday night Buffalo Bills game, that was the one.’ But for me, when I think about it — and I’ve got this big catalog of games — I think, ‘Yep, that was the one.’”