Josh McDaniels: 'We brought that play back from the grave'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday February 09, 2017

In preparing for the Patriots, the Falcons would have had to go far back in the film to get ready for New England’s first two-point conversion, a direct snap to running back James White.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels joined The MMQB’s podcast and said it had been at least two years since the Pats used the play. Though there was one more well-known moment it came out.

You’ve seen that here before in a Super Bowl in Houston. We did that with Kevin Faulk against Carolina back in 2003,” McDaniels said. "We kind of brought it back from the grave. … It was just a situation where we thought the defense they were in gave us a chance at it.

“James got the ball and stuck it in there and made his way over the goal line.”

Here’s a stat: Prior to Super Bowl LI, NFL teams were 2,647-6-2 all-time when leading by at least 25 points, per ESPN. The Patriots became the seventh team in NFL history to make such a comeback, and no team had ever made such a large fourth quarter comeback.

The Pats were a mess in the first half, but it really was the old cliché of one-play-at-a-time that led to the comeback.

By the time the Patriots got it to overtime, McDaniels said everyone knew how the game would end.

“We said, ‘We’re taking the ball, OK, great, got it,’” he said. “Turning around when we won the toss, you could see the look on the players’ faces, ‘We’re not giving them the ball.’ That was the mindset. You could tell the confidence level was extremely high.

“They went out there and did what we  had to do, got to the 2-yard line. When James got it over, it’s one of those feeling where I don’t know who grabbed me. It’s a euphoric feeling you can’t duplicate.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to