Faced with a pivotal decision down three touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers, Bill Belichick went with one of the most successful short-yardage plays in football: Tom Brady on a quarterback sneak.
Brady isn't the most talented runner, but he's pretty good at diving past the line of scrimmage when the team needs a first down: the New England Patriots quarterback 18-for-19 on fourth-and-one conversions in his career, with the one stop coming ten years ago in 2002. New England got down to the goal line on first down, but Danny Woodhead and Stevan Ridley were stopped at the goal line on back-to-back plays, setting up fourth-and-goal from within the one yard line. Belichick had the break between the third and fourth quarters to think about the call, and when it came down to it, the decision was easy:
With three wide receivers spread, the 49ers had to respect Brady's ability to pass on the short yardage play instead of packing the box.
After trailing 31-3, the Pats have fought their way back to 31-17 with under a quarter to go.