Austin Collie, appearing in a regular-season NFL game for the first time since Sept. 23, 2012, caught two passes in the final 50 seconds. He played only nine snaps the entire game — the entire last drive — but was just as important as fellow receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who caught the winning 17-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady with five seconds left.
Collie’s 9-yard reception on fourth and 4 set up the Brady-to-Thompkins clincher on the very next play.
It’s been a long, painful road for Collie to even get here, with difficult decisions and not knowing whether his desire to play would be met by someone looking for his services. When the Patriots signed him Oct. 3, he had a new offense to learn and weeks of time to make up. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.