FOXBORO -- The reactions varied from player to player inside the Patriots locker room.
Some were thrilled to see Tom Brady put his legs to use to score a pivotal fourth-quarter touchdown in the Pats' 43-40 victory on third down from four yards away, lunging head-first for the goal line when he got close. Others were concerned the way they might be concerned for a relatively fragile family member who got a little aggressive on the Slip-And-Slide on the Fourth of July.
"I was pretty excited," Chris Hogan said. "I was just hoping that he didn't get hurt."
He didn't, though for the second time in as many weeks Brady paid the price for trying to break the plane of the end zone with the nose of the football.
The 41-year-old took a shot from the Colts as he jumped and stretched across the line for six in Week 5.
On Sunday night, with 5:25 left, he looked and looked and looked for a receiver but couldn't find one with the Chiefs dropping eight into coverage.
"I don't know what happened," Brady said after. "They doubled three guys on the play. I'm just glad . . . Gotta watch it tomorrow, but I got close to the goal line and I just tried to get it in. We needed it."
The play made the score 37-33 and helped Brady -- who made some critical throws to win the game late -- atone for an egregious strip-sack that was recovered by the Chiefs deep in Patriots territory at the end of the third.
But Brady's scramble-drill score almost never happened. He was in the grasp of outside linebacker Breeland Speaks, who couldn't wrap himself around Brady's legs firmly enough to bring the quarterback down. According to NFL Media's Mike Giardi, Speaks later blamed his inability to finish on his concern for picking up a roughing-the-passer penalty.
#Chiefs LB Breeland Speaks said he believed Tom Brady had already thrown the ball on his TD run and was fearful of the new rules protecting the passer. “it was definitely on my mind. It sucks.” Will he alter his approach going forward? “Yes. I gotta finish the play next time.”— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) October 15, 2018
For the offensive line surrounding Brady, it was a stressful play, and not just because Brady left his feet and was hit by two defenders at the end. In a scramble situation like that, with the Chiefs in a prevent coverage (or "P-coverage) and only rushing three, there's only so much Brady's blockers could do.
"I was kind of stuck in no-man's land," David Andrews said. "Think it was P-coverage. They only rushed three. I was going right with the protection. Tried to swing back when I saw there was only one guy coming right. I got to where the d-tackle went inside and Joe [Thuney] flushed him. I turn around and [Brady's] standing there.
"You don't know if you can go block downfield because he might flip it. You're just kind of watching. Unfortunately. I'm sure there's something I could've done better, but in the moment you're just kind of stuck there. You feel paralyzed almost because you don't want to get in his way, but you don't want to go downfield. Especially in that situation where we're so close to the goal line."
When Brady landed in the end zone, the Patriots had the lead again, and there were no apparent injuries to lament.
"Any time that happens [you worry], but he's tough," Andrews said. "And I guess he's pliable."
"Still got it," Matthew Slater said. "Forty-one, scampering around the gridiron. Looking nimble, agile. It's always fun when he uses the legs . . . and he comes up healthy. That's a plus."