Dan Connolly’s Kickoff Return Shocks Tom Brady

December 20, 2010 – 11:40 am by Eric Schmoldt

When I think about Tom Brady watching Dan Connolly’s kickoff return for the New England Patriots last night, I can’t help but imagine he had a Tommy Boy moment: “I swear I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my life, but that … was … awesome!”

After all, Brady had probably thought he had seen it all. Not the case. Connolly, a 313-pound offensive lineman, snatched the bouncing kickoff and rumbled more than 70 yards before being tackled inside the five-yard line.

It was clearly the highlight of the night for a Patriots team that hardly played its best game and nearly lost to a Green Bay team that was without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Tom Brady joined WEEI in Boston with Dennis and Callahan to discuss a lack of offensive plays, Dan Connolly’s kickoff return, what went through his mind as that return played out, scoreboard watching when playoff implications are on the line, Bill Belichick’s disappointment in Sunday’s game, and his favorite holiday memories.

On the Patriots’ offense struggling to find a rhythm:

“Yeah, those are low numbers and part of that is just kind of the possessions that we had. Another part of it is we just didn’t do a very good job of staying on the field. … We lost the time of possession, we lost the field position.”

On Dan Connolly’s crazy kickoff return:

“I’ll take that the rest of the season. … He doesn’t hold the ball very often, so when he does, it’s not like it’s going to be the way that Benjarvus does. … That was pretty funny when I saw him running down the field. You’re right, I’ll never forget that.”

On if he was shocked to see him returning the kick:

“Sure, I’m always saying ‘Just get down.’ The way they do carry the ball, any slight contact can knock the ball out. … It’s tough for those guys to really know what to do with it. But, Danny picked it up and once I saw him break to the outside, I was like, ‘Goooo!’”

On the team’s performance against the Packers:

“These games are hard to win, any way you’re looking at them. They played very well and from the opening kickoff I knew, ‘This is going to be one of those games. This is the way it’s going to go.’ … We overcame a bunch of penalties. I don’t think we played our best game, certainly, but I’m also very proud that we won the game. … We understand that’s not the recipe for success around here.”

On whether he watches the scoreboard at this time of year with playoff implications on the line:

“You’re always watching the other teams. I don’t think that you’re ever not seeing how the other teams are doing throughout the AFC. Yesterday was no different. … I was definitely watching. That Red Zone Channel is pretty cool. … I watched it for the first time two weeks ago, before the Indy game, and that things incredible. I love football so it’s easy to watch.”

On what he expects to hear from Bill Belichick after the victory:

“When he talks to us as a team, he stands up there and he says, ‘Guys, these are the things we need to do to win and this is how we need to play the game,’ and we don’t do any of those things, he gets pretty disappointed. I understand that. … He didn’t see it yesterday and the players didn’t see it. Every situation that came up, we put ourselves in. … And we are going to hear about it.”

On his favorite holiday memory:

“It’s a great time of year and I’ve worked on Christmas now for a long time, including college where we had bowl practices. My greatest memory is just spending time with my family. We always had people come over to our house. … It was great to have everybody together. Christmas is about everybody being together and now that I have my own family, it changes a little bit.”

On his favorite gift:

“I wanted a BB gun. I’d shoot cans in the backyard and I loved doing it. I shot a lot and my mom grew up on a farm in Minnesota and my grandpa had guns on his farm, so it was really my training wheels.”

Listen to Tom Brady on WEEI in Boston here

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