by Brendon Rosenau, Patriots Daily Staff
If 1993 was the preface in New England’s rise to glory, then 1994 was the Chapter One. Bob Kraft was the new owner and the pieces were in place for a special happening in New England. In 1994 the Patriots returned to a place that seemed light years away a year ago. After eight long, arduous, and trying years, the Pats were finally returned to the playoffs.
1994 was a heck of a year for many Pats fans. It was Drew Bledsoe’s second year in the league and head coach Bill Parcells made no bones that this would be a team that relied heavily on the passing game. Bledsoe dropped back and let the pigskin fly a NFL record 691 times and became just the second quarterback to complete 400 passes. Drew’s favorite target was All Pro tight end Ben Coates (96 catches), but he wasn’t afraid to spread the ball around. Five different Patriots caught at least 50 balls. Included in that total were Coates, wide receivers Michael Timpson (74) and Vincent Brisby (58), running back Leroy Thompson (65) and fullback Kevin Turner (52).
At the outset, the Pats didn’t keep the momentum they gained at the end of ‘93. New England stumbled out of the game and they were 3-6 more than halfway through the season. Then Parcells took the leash off his signal caller.
In one of the my personal favorite games of all-time, Bledsoe threw the ball 70 times as the Patriots stormed back from a 20-3 deficit to stun the Warren Moon led Minnesota Vikings 26-20 in OT. Bledsoe completed 45 passes for 426 yards, 3TD and 0 picks in a game that ignited a seven-game win streak.
The next week the Pats got 88 rushing yard from Marion Butts (remember him?) in a 23-17 win over eventual AFC Conference winners San Diego. New England would then end the season by smoking Buffalo, a team that played in the last four Super Bowls and taking a hard fought 13-3 win over playoff bound Chicago that helped them clinch the AFC East.
New England’s streak and season would end the next week when they lost to the Bill Belichick led Cleveland Browns. Playing in his first playoff game, Bledsoe completed just 21-50 passes and threw three picks. While the Pats lost 20-13, it was a remarkable season.
What are your memories of that year?
- Drew Bledsoe 400 (1st NFL)-691 (1st, NFL record), 4555 (1st), 25 (4th)-27 (1st)
- Marion Butts 243 carries 703 yards, 8 TD(T-6)
- Leroy Thompson 65 receptions, 465 yards , 5TD
- Kevin Turner 52 receptions, 471 yards, 2 TD
- Michael Timpson 74 receptions, 941yards, 3TD
- Ben Coates 96 receptions (4th), 1174 yards (T-10th), 7TD
- Vincent Brisby 58receptions, 904 yards, 5 TD
- Chris Slade 9.5 sacks
- Maurice Hurst 7 INT (T-4th)
- Vincent Brown 118 tackles
Bledsoe, Coates, Bruce Armstrong (LT),
Bledsoe, Coates, Armstrong, Bob Kratch (LG),