Patriots defensive end Shaun Ellis was the one chasing Drew Bledsoe when Mo Lewis delivered the franchise-altering hit 10 years ago.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Everyone remembers that it was New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis who delivered a franchise-altering hit to Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe 10 years ago Friday, but what's easy to forget is that it was Shaun Ellis chasing him.
After 11 seasons with the Jets, Ellis joined New England this year. On Friday, he reflected on a hit that forever changed the Patriots franchise -- and maybe even the NFL as a whole -- as Tom Brady ascended to quarterback during that 10-3 loss to New York on Sept. 23, 2001.
The Patriots have made four Super Bowl appearances since that fateful day, winning three times, and Brady, the reigning NFL MVP, has become maybe the league's elite player.
“I was chasing him, we got to the sideline and I dove to try to knock the ball out,” explained Ellis. “I guess he reached back to get the ball and that’s when Mo Lewis hit him. I remember, you know if someone gets the wind knocked out of him, [but] I didn’t know the extent of the injury. I didn’t know until after the game."
With the Patriots trailing by a touchdown with little more than five minutes to play, Bledsoe found himself under pressure at the pocket collapsed. Ellis powered through guard Joe Andruzzi and began chasing Bledsoe up the home sideline. Lewis rushed over and, in front of the first-down marker, lowered his right shoulder, and delivered a big hit.
"You don't know, you just go out there and try to play the game of football," Ellis said while reflecting on how much history was changed by the hit. "A lot of things like that have happened in the past, where guys go down and the next guy steps in. The next thing you know he's a Hall of Famer. That's how it is."