15 years later, Ben Watson recalls memorable tackle, takes jab at NFL officials

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Dave Green
·2 min read
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Watson recalls memorable tackle, takes jab at NFL officials originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Long before DK Metcalf earned accolades for running 90 yards to chase down Budda Baker after an interception near the goal line, there was Ben Watson.

Flash back to 2006. The scene: the AFC Divisional Playoff in Denver. The result: one of the most memorable plays of the Patriots dynasty.

New England fans know the play all too well. Tom Brady tried to hit Troy Brown for the score, but the pass was picked off in the end zone by the Broncos' Champ Bailey, who took off downfield. It looked like a sure pick-six, except for one factor -- Watson.

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The 255-pound tight end sprinted 100 yards downfield and came out of nowhere to level Bailey right before he crossed the goal line. The ball popped loose and a touchdown was saved.

Thursday marked the 15th anniversary of that play, and after the Patriots posted a video to celebrate the memory, Watson chimed in.

That jab at the officials at the end of that tweet? Priceless.

The officials had ruled that Bailey fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line, putting the Broncos in prime position to punch the ball in. But the Patriots challenged the play, arguing that the ball was fumbled into the end zone. A reversal would have meant a touchback, with New England taking over at the 20.

So was it a touchdown or a touchback?

Without a clear angle, the officiating crew upheld the original call. Mike Anderson punched it in one play later, Denver increased its lead to 17-6 en route to a 27-13 victory, and the rest is history. Tom Brady's 10-game win streak to begin his playoff career was over, and the Patriots' quest for a three-peat came to a disappointing end.

Fifteen years later, it's clear that Watson's memory -- and ability to hold a grudge -- lives on.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Kansas City
-176-3.5O 56.5
Tampa Bay
+145+3.5U 56.5