We’re now a week removed from the Patriots’ incredible 25-point comeback in the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons to win it 34-28.
Tom Brady was named the game’s MVP, and deservedly so: he led the comeback efforts and was brilliant for most of the second half. An underrated throw that Brady made came in the overtime period, when he hit Chris Hogan for an 18-yard pickup on a comeback route. It was a pure anticipation throw: Brady knew where Hogan was going to be, and as he made the cut he gained a bit of separation from the defender. With the ball on the way, it was enough.
It was such a perfect timing throw on a comeback route you’d have thought Peyton Manning made it. In a terrific interview with the MMQB’s Peter King in which Brady went through the comeback in-depth, Brady called that throw a Manning throw.
“It's such a Peyton Manning-type throw,” Brady told King. “I watched him for so many years make those throws. I used to be in amazement. Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne], they'd cut their route off, turn around, ball was in the air, in stride, 15-, 18-yard gain. How the heck did they do that? There's so much trust from the quarterback to the receiver. The DB can't get to the ball faster than the receiver can. You got to believe your receiver is going to get to the ball faster than their guy. That's what that play came down to.”
Brady’s not wrong. Without getting into any sort of Manning-vs-Brady debate, it’s fair to acknowledge, regardless of what side you’re on, that Manning was masterful at those timing routes, and we saw countless times that comeback route work to perfection. Brady talked about all the practice hours that went into that timing route, and that’s precisely what made Manning’s offense so hard to stop. He prided himself on having expert timing with his wideouts, namely Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, and that made them hard to stop.
Manning and Brady are friends, and they’ve given each other credit in the past. It’s cool to hear Brady use Manning as an example when referring to one of his own great plays, and it’s cool to see the respect future Hall of Fame quarterbacks have for each other.