You can’t talk about the second half of the Patriots dynasty without painting Julian Edelman’s name all over it.
Once a quarterback drafted in the seventh round out of Kent State, the now 34-year-old has transitioned into one of the NFL’s biggest security blankets. In 131 games over 10 seasons, Edelman has 599 receptions for 6,507 yards and 36 touchdowns. Throw in the fact he’s second all-time in postseason receptions and has a Super Bowl MVP to boot, and you’ve got a pretty impressive resume for a former NFL longshot.
In honor of his 34th birthday, here are the top three plays of Julian Edelman’s NFL career.
No. 3: Super Bowl 49 Touchdown
The New England Patriots played the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49 and trailed 24-21 with just over two minutes to play. From Seattle’s three-yard line on second-and-goal, Edelman used his quickness and caught a touchdown off of a quick, shifty route.
This touchdown was ultimately the decider, as the final ended up being 28-24.
No. 2: 2015 AFC Championship Pass
With under five minutes to play, and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, the Patriots trailed the Baltimore Ravens 28-21. New England had already clawed their way back from a 14-point deficit once and was on a quest to do it again.
Josh McDaniels called a risky play, but it ended up working out perfectly.
Tom Brady threw a backward pass to Edelman, who took it and threw 51 yards to Danny Amendola for the touchdown. This was a major momentum shifter, and without this play, who knows how we look at the legacies of Brady and Belichick?
No. 1: Super Bowl 51 Catch
The Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit in Super Bowl 51 to claim the fifth title in Patriots history. However, it definitely didn’t come without luck.
Tom Brady threw a risky pass over the middle, which proceeded to get disrupted by Robert Alford. The ball was sitting on the arm of Falcons defensive back, Ricardo Allen, and a tussle ensued for possession.
Edelman was able to corral it, which eventually set up the touchdown run by James White, followed by a Danny Amendola two-point conversion to tie it late.
The Patriots went on to win in overtime, 34-28, after trailing 28-3.