Eason completed 0 of 6 passes, was sacked 3 times, and fumbled once. He was at blame for -3 Patriot points. Steve Grogan came on in relief and passed for New England's sole score in a 46-10 rout. Craig Morton, Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowl V) AND Denver Broncos (Super Bowl XII) 61. Washington's Billy Kilmer, Super Bowl VII: 60. Green Bay's Tobin Rote, World Championship Game 26.
Eason played well below expectations in his only season as the Pats' starter. He finished with 200 yards passing and 3 touchdowns against 11 interceptions while completing just over 50 percent of his passes.
He had some help from his receivers, who all ranked among the top 10 in catches and receiving yards, but he also had to deal with an offensive line that featured future Hall of Fame players like Alan Faneca and Matt Light but was still unable to protect Eason properly. The team's leading receiver was Ken Walter, who had only 39 receptions for 554 yards and 4 touchdowns.
After Eason's poor performance in 2001, the Patriots traded for Doug Flutie out of Miami (Florida) University. Flutie went 22-for-42 for 255 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions in his only season in New England. This story will be discussed more in the next section.
With less than a minute remaining, Fighting Irish backup quarterback William Shakespeare completed a 19-yard throw to Wayne Millner on his knees in the end zone, culminating in an 18-13 victory. Hail Mary throws have grown in popularity in the NFL more than 40 years after Staubach's miraculous toss. In 1999, Miami's Steve Walsh executed one against New York to save a game that was tied at 13 with 1 second left on the clock.
The play is now part of football folklore. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest sports moments ever.
William Shakespeare was a third-year student at the University of Notre Dame when he led the Irish to their first national championship in 1952. The star quarterback had been given the opportunity to replace the injured Terry Hanratty and did not disappoint, throwing for 186 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 68 more yards and another score. He also provided some comic relief by appearing in a comedy sketch with Gene Kelly during the halftime show of the Chicago Bowl.
After graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in economics in 1956, Shakespeare went on to have a successful career in the National Football League (NFL). Over the course of his twelve year career, he played for the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Colts. He ended his career with the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the team's starting quarterback.
The Raiders ran out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter of Super Bowl XV, thanks to two touchdown passes from quarterback Jim Plunkett, and the Eagles never recovered. Oakland linebacker Rod Martin also set a Super Bowl record by intercepting Philadelphia quarterback Ron Jaworski three times. The last time that had happened was in 1949, when Pete Pihos did it for the Chicago Cardinals.
Plunkett played well enough to win the game, but not great enough to avoid being criticized for several bad decisions. For example, he threw an interception with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, which helped seal the victory for Oakland. However, on this play, he tried to force a pass into triple coverage and was intercepted by George Atkinson III.
In fact, Plunkett's final mistake led to Atkinson's second touchdown, which put the game away for good. After the game, Plunkett said he made the wrong decision, but many fans didn't believe him. Even his wife told reporters that she thought he had "lost it" during the game. "I think he got scared," Plunkett's wife said. "He's only human. He got scared."
Despite all of this, many people still love Plunkett because he played through pain all season long.
Brady's only incomplete seasons were in 2001, when he took over for Bledsoe as starting quarterback; 2008, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the regular season; and 2016, when he was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season due to the Deflategate scandal.
Drew Bledsoe rebounded from a dismal 1995 season with 4,086 passing yards and 27 touchdown passes to 15 interceptions, while Curtis Martin had another Pro Bowl season. The club would win the divisional and conference titles by double digits. However, the club was defeated by the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.
Started at fullback in Week 2 against Seattle (9/20), catching a 1-yard touchdown pass for his first NFL touchdown, becoming the first player from the NFL International Player Program to do so. Started at fullback and helped the Patriots rush for 250 yards in a Week 3 win over Las Vegas (9/27). Was listed as inactive for two games (Weeks 4 vs Pittsburgh and 5 at Miami) before being placed on injured reserve on 11/30 with a knee injury.
Drew Martin was the starter during Gil Brandstater's suspension. He started 13 games at fullback for the Patriots from 1997 to 1999. The longest-tenured fullback in team history, he finished with 34 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
After spending eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Antonio Gates joined New England in 2006. He became the second-fastest player in league history to reach 100 receptions when he did so in 2009, finishing with 103 catches for 1,169 yards and nine touchdowns.
Gates is also considered one of the best blocking fullbacks in football. He has been selected to four consecutive all-star games and won the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2008 while playing for San Diego. The honor is given to the best receiver in the AFC West.
Martin returned to New England in 2000 and played one season before retiring. He served as a backup fullback behind Gates throughout their time together with the Patriots.