Little mistakes abounded on Sunday night for the New England Patriots, but Wes Welker's drop in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVI will sting the worst for the Pats. SB Nation's Andrew Sharp called Welker's drop "the moment the Patriots lost the Super Bowl."
It wasn't an easy catch, as this GIF shows, with Welker twisting in mid-air to turn and face the slightly overthrown ball:
That didn't stop Welker from blaming himself after the game. The diminutive receiver was red-eyed after the game as he described his feelings on failing to make a play on what he called the "biggest moment of my life,"
"That's a play I make a thousand times," he said. "I just didn't make it."
When asked if he was expecting the ball to be thrown over his other shoulder, Welker answered, "The ball was right there. I've got to make that play. It's a play I've made a thousand times, and at the biggest moment of my life I don't come up with it."
But Welker's drop wasn't the only one by the Patriots in the fourth quarter. Deion Branch couldn't make a tough catch on the play immediately after Welker's drop, and didn't pull in a catch on a deep pass that might have gotten the Patriots into Giants on the final drive of the night. Aaron Hernandez, who led New England with eight catches for 67 yards and a touchdown, dropped a first down catch on that same final drive.
To be sure, Tom Brady shares some of the blame for those missed opportunities: none of those four plays featured great throws from Brady, and only Welker and Hernandez got two hands on their respective targets. But Brady will be thinking about putting passes feet and inches closer to his receivers for months to come; those receivers, and Welker in particular, will be wondering if they let the Super Bowl slip through their hands.
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