Leitner On Brady: "That's Where The Magic Started"

For so many reasons, Week 5 of the 2001 season may have altered NFL history

The DA Show
May 21, 2020 - 11:03 am

Week 5 of the 2001 season may have altered NFL history.

No, really.

On that day, 24-year-old Tom Brady had the first 300-yard game of his career and helped the Patriots overcome a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to the San Diego Chargers.

“It was vintage Tom Brady,” San Diego radio voice Ted Leitner said on The DA Show. “Every time later on [in] that 20-year career, they would have it on the television screen [about] how many [game-tying or game-winning] drives in the fourth quarter and overtime that Brady has had. That’s where it started. That’s where that magic started – and it did not go away.”

The Patriots entered the day 1-3 and were squaring off against Doug Flutie.

“We’re thinking, ‘Flutie against Brady? I’ll take Flutie anytime. He’s all pumped up, his family is there, he’s back in New England after BC and all that,’” Leitner recalled. “And Brady was magic. Absolutely magic, like he had started for five or six years – and he certainly had not because he was the backup. He was simply as cool and calm as can be.”

Brady finished the day 33-of-54 for 364 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-tying toss to Jermaine Wiggins with 36 seconds left in regulation. The Patriots won, 29-26, in overtime.

The Patriots avoided a 1-4 start, finished the season 11-5 and won their first of six Super Bowls. The Chargers, meanwhile, fell to 3-2 and finished 5-11, ending the season on a nine-game losing streak.

“I honestly believe the Chargers’ season ended that day based on their confidence,” Leitner said of the loss to New England. “Flutie was terrific in the ball game, but . . . [it was] another close loss. They went downhill after that, and the Brady magic was there.”