Celebrate What Is: Non-star Player Who "Stepped Up" in Big Moments aka Malcolm Butler Trophy

Ale Xander

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Self explanatory

Nominating:
JR Redmond
Jermaine Wiggins
Antawn Harris
 

PaulinMyrBch

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MYRTLE BEACH!!!!
I'm not sure if Otis Smith counts, he had a really long career for an undrafted player.
When we won the Super Bowl, he was on the back end of his career and was (IMO) a non-star his entire career (even though it was long). Had a huge play in the Super Bowl that is rarely mentioned. He jammed Holt at the line and made an INT in the 3rd quarter that led to points.
 

Ralphwiggum

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Bethel Johnson had a few mammoth plays for a guy who was generally considered a disappointment. Kickoff return for a TD in the epic Indy regular season game and a TD in the frozen Titans game.
 

Al Zarilla

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Jermaine Wiggins AKA 'Wiggy'…..just a great story.
Until he turned up playing for the Panthers in SB XXXVIII, and catching passes against us. I didn't know, or had forgotten that until I watched that SB highlight this weekend. Aw what the hell, the "East-a Bost" guy has to put food on the table
 

BigSoxFan

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Shane Vereen

James White's pure awesomeness kind of makes you forget just how reliable Vereen was in SB49. He had at least 4 first downs in that game and was used heavily on that final drive to go up 28-24.
 

dynomite

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Antwan Harris.

The OTHER Patriot drafted in the 6th round of the 2000 draft, 12 picks before Brady. (Isn’t that INSANE!?!)

Definition of anonymous special teamer, only started 2 games in his 4 years with the Pats (and then washed out of the league). But in the 2001 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, when we blocked that FG and Troy Brown picked it up and started to run it back, Harris could have just been excited and tried to block for him and celebrate the recovery. Instead, he did this:

 

Hendu for Kutch

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Troy Brown on defense needs to be on the shortlist.
Julian Edelman too. It's one of those things, given his stature now, that seems like some weird fever dream. However, back before he was a star, he had more tackles than receptions in the 2011 playoffs. Dude even forced a fumble and injured Ladanian Tomlinson.
 

pappymojo

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This thread will probably just devolve into listing every Patriot under Belichick ever, because the team is built upon non-star players stepping up in big moments, but I'm just gonna mention Kevin Faulk. So many contributions over the years. Also, he converted on that controversial 4th down in 2009.
 

Bergs

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Julian Edelman too. It's one of those things, given his stature now, that seems like some weird fever dream. However, back before he was a star, he had more tackles than receptions in the 2011 playoffs. Dude even forced a fumble and injured Ladanian Tomlinson.
I forgot all about that. Fantastic.
 

BuellMiller

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Antwan Harris.

The OTHER Patriot drafted in the 6th round of the 2000 draft, 12 picks before Brady. (Isn’t that INSANE!?!)

Definition of anonymous special teamer, only started 2 games in his 4 years with the Pats (and then washed out of the league). But in the 2001 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, when we blocked that FG and Troy Brown picked it up and started to run it back, Harris could have just been excited and tried to block for him and celebrate the recovery. Instead, he did this:

He also forced the Ricky Proehl fumble right before the half that led to the Patten TD.
 

InstaFace

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Antwan Harris.

The OTHER Patriot drafted in the 6th round of the 2000 draft, 12 picks before Brady. (Isn’t that INSANE!?!)

Definition of anonymous special teamer, only started 2 games in his 4 years with the Pats (and then washed out of the league). But in the 2001 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, when we blocked that FG and Troy Brown picked it up and started to run it back, Harris could have just been excited and tried to block for him and celebrate the recovery. Instead, he did this:

Totally a forward lateral. Never called on such plays though, in practice.
 

Dollar

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Antwan Harris.

The OTHER Patriot drafted in the 6th round of the 2000 draft, 12 picks before Brady. (Isn’t that INSANE!?!)

Definition of anonymous special teamer, only started 2 games in his 4 years with the Pats (and then washed out of the league). But in the 2001 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, when we blocked that FG and Troy Brown picked it up and started to run it back, Harris could have just been excited and tried to block for him and celebrate the recovery. Instead, he did this
I have always loved this moment from this camera angle. It's like all the Steelers' hopes and dreams were shoved back in their faces in an instant.

 

TheoShmeo

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Josh Miller’s punting in SB 39 is an under appreciated part of that game. The Pats generally won the field position battle that day and Miller’s punt after the Pats’ last drive before the kneel down pinned the Iggles back on their 4, I believe.
 

Bellhorn

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Ray Mickens, who broke up Peyton's 3rd-and-10 pass on what should have been the Colts' last drive of the 2006 AFCCG.

Also Chris Long, who really found an extra gear to beat Jake Matthews and draw the holding penalty.
 

Dollar

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Some randomness when I started thinking about how clutch David Givens was, and how his 2003 and 2004 seasons were kind of similar to Danny Amendola's 2014 and 2017 seasons:

- Givens and Amendola both grew up in the Houston suburbs, less than 30 minutes from each other

- Givens was a 7th round pick, Amendola went undrafted

- Givens combine numbers: 4.56 40 yd dash, 6.82 3 cone drill
- Amendola combine num..: 4.58 40 yd dash, 6.81 3 cone drill

- Givens in 2003 and 2004:
90 regular season catches
5 postseason TDs
Super Bowl TD in his Houston homecoming in SB XXXVIII (5 yd reception)
4 yard touchdown catch in his other Super Bowl victory

- Amendola in 2014 and 2017:
88 regular season catches
5 postseason TDs
Super Bowl TD in his Houston homecoming in SB LI (6 yd reception)
4 yard touchdown catch in his other Super Bowl victory

- Both left the Patriots after a Super Bowl-less season for big money deals from AFC rivals
 
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InstaFace

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I'll always remember him for likely saving the season while unconscious and half out of bounds on the sideline in Buffalo. He alertly remained motionless and nullified a change of possession.
I'd forgotten about that.

Referee Mike Carey determined by a video review that Patten’s head was out of bounds while the ball remained loose under his leg.

Antowain Smith broke the game open on the ensuing play, bouncing off the pile and down the sideline before he was pushed out of bounds at the 3, setting up the game-winning kick.

“It’s their job to make the calls,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We can just control how we play. If we got a break on the call, great.”

Patten couldn’t comment on the call. Carpenter’s hit knocked him unconscious.

“I didn’t know where I was. I could have been in Czechoslovakia,” Patten said. “I thought I let the team down, but the replay was one thing that went our way.”
Anyway, my nomination is Ben Watson, for the playoff chase-down that was definitely a fumble and touchback.
 

tims4wins

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Not a "moment", but two thoughts regarding non-star players:

1) If the Pats hadn't benched David Andrews in 2015, there is a decent chance they'd be playing in their fifth straight Super Bowl (and he would have started four in a row)
2) On a similar note, I had forgotten that James Develin missed the 2015 season. Again, if he hadn't been hurt, would they be playing in their fifth straight?
 

WheresDewey

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I'll second Troy Brown, the first player I thought of when reading this thread. That forced fumble in the Chargers game was right up there with the Butler interception, just in the AFC championship instead of the Superbowl.
 

bigq

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I have always loved this moment from this camera angle. It's like all the Steelers' hopes and dreams were shoved back in their faces in an instant.

That made me irrationally happy.

I’ll nominate Givens. TD catch in 7 straight postseason games. Not likely to be repeated by a Pats player in my lifetime. So clutch.
 

BaseballJones

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Totally a forward lateral. Never called on such plays though, in practice.
It’s weird because it’s an optical illusion of sorts. Relative to each player, it’s totally backward. Relative to the yard markers on the field, it’s clearly forward.

For two guys running full speed down the field, separated by just a few yards, what would it look like to truly throw the ball backward?
 

Brand Name

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I’ll nominate Givens. TD catch in 7 straight postseason games. Not likely to be repeated by a Pats player in my lifetime. So clutch.
Not to take anything away from Givens' streak, and growing up it felt like one of those automatic things I took way too much granted, to say nothing of the insane reception TD in SB36. But if had Gronk scored against KC last week, he would tied Givens, and have a chance at tying the NFL record in that department tomorrow (8 straight games, with 1978-84 John Stallworth). The fact this had a chance of happening again, over 10 years later, same dynasty, is absolutely insane.
 

Euclis20

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Not to take anything away from Givens' streak, and growing up it felt like one of those automatic things I took way too much granted, to say nothing of the insane reception TD in SB36. But if had Gronk scored against KC last week, he would tied Givens, and have a chance at tying the NFL record in that department tomorrow (8 straight games, with 1978-84 John Stallworth). The fact this had a chance of happening again, over 10 years later, same dynasty, is absolutely insane.
Unless I'm missing something, Gronk also went without a TD against Jacksonville last year. He did have a streak of 6 straight games with a TD (the game before the streak started was Houston after the 2012 season, when he was knocked out of the game in the 1st quarter after just getting one target), and from the Baltimore game in 2014 to the Philly game last year (8 games), he had 9 TDs. Still mighty impressive.
 

BornToRun

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I have a few that come to mind.

Danny Amendola is far from from overlooked among Pats fans but he is the definition of stepping up when it matters most. He never put up gaudy regular season numbers with us but always found another gear in the playoffs.

Rob Ninkovich will always be a favorite of mine as well. Never the most physically gifted player but the epitome of doing your job. He always had a knack for making big plays when we needed them most and you could always count on him to be in the right spot.

I’d like to give a shout out to my binky as well, Stephen Gostkowski. A few high profile misses and the shoes he was brought here to fill lead to him not getting the credit he deserves in my opinion. We’re incredibly fortunate to have such stability at kicker and this guy has been old reliable since he was brought into take over for Adam all the way back in 2006. If I had to choose between him and AV, I’d take #3.

Lastly, in regards to someone who had one specific moment, Brandon Browner. Stonewalling Kearse off the line in SB49 and allowing Malcolm to make a clean break for the ball. That interception doesn’t happen without him.
 

JMDurron

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Self explanatory

Nominating:
JR Redmond
Jermaine Wiggins
Antawn Harris
I think the biggest JR Redmond moment still gets overlooked a bit, relative to how necessary it was. The Rams appeared to have figured out the Pats' defense and were moving the ball effectively in the 4th quarter, the Pats had no timeouts and a long drive to FG range. Redmond's run after the catch to get out of bounds was, in my mind, the single biggest play of that entire drive, even compared to the Brown catch and run. If he doesn't cut inside of that first tackler, he doesn't get enough yards to set up the rest of the drive, and maybe that hole for Brown isn't open down the middle (possibly due to the Rams finally adjusting to cover the check down pass to the RB?). If he doesn't drag that final tackler exactly far enough to the sideline, we know that the Patriots would have run out the clock until OT, at which point we would have been down to a coin flip for that Super Bowl.

Redmond also had a very impressive "plow through a tackler and keep going" play that would have made Edelman proud in the Snow Game to secure a 1st down, I'm not sure whether it was in the 4th Q or the OT drive. He caught the ball near the sidelines, appeared to be dead to rights for a short gain, shed the tackler and drove forward for the 1st down. None of those things could have been easy in those conditions, but his YAC skills showed themselves in two absolutely critical moments for this franchise.
 

bigq

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Lastly, in regards to someone who had one specific moment, Brandon Browner. Stonewalling Kearse off the line in SB49 and allowing Malcolm to make a clean break for the ball. That interception doesn’t happen without him.
I'll give props to Akeem Ayers as well. Hightower got the official tackle on the stop of Lynch on the play prior to Butler's interception however Ayers pulled him to the ground and finished off the play. If not for Ayers, Lynch may have been able to extend across the goal line and there would have been a far different outcome to the game.