INDIANAPOLIS — Wes Welker was targeted eight times by Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLVI. He caught seven passes.
But it’s the one he didn’t catch that will stay with him for a long time.
“It’s one of those plays I’ve made a thousand times,” he said somberly during a postgame press conference after the Giants’ 21-17 victory. “Just didn’t make it.”
The play he just didn’t make occurred with the Patriots leading, 17-15, with 4:06 remaining, facing a second and 11 at the Giants 44.
Convert the first down, and there’s a reasonable chance they’d be able to run out the clock since New York just one remaining timeout.
Brady dropped back, and threw to Welker down the numbers on the left side. The pass was slightly behind Welker, but catchable.
Instead, seeming to stumble slightly with his footwork, he dropped it.
“It hit me right in the hands,” said Welker. “I mean, it’s a play I never drop, I always make. Most critical situation and I let the team down.”
A third-and-11 pass to Deion Branch was batted away by Corey Webster, and the Patriots were forced to punt with 3:53 remaining.
A few minutes later and one touchdown of little resistance later, and the Giants had beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.
Welker said the play was executed as designed, right up until he couldn’t hold on to the pass.
“You’re supposed to get at the numbers. It’s usually inside edge of the numbers. Just trying to make an adjustment on the ball and it’s a play I’ve got to bring in.”