Danny Etling was the brightest surprise of the Patriots’ final preseason game. New England’s fans are now getting ready for the regular season, and head coach Bill Belichick couldn’t hide his excitement.
“Well, that was one of the most exciting plays I’ve seen in preseason, I must say,” Belichick said after the final preseason game.
He had every right to say so, and fans will always remember the 86-yard spring by Danny Etling. The third-string rookie quarterback faked a handoff, and three a bait to the Giants’ defensive end. Then, he went straight for his touchdown run, and that’s one of the longest runs we’ve ever seen performed by a quarterback.
Etling knows he did a really good job, and thanked the running back and the offensive line for protecting his way to the end zone.
“Great call by Chad (O’Shea). And Danny’s a little bit faster than maybe we thought he was. … When’s the last time a quarterback ran for 85 yards for the New England Patriots? At least 20 years, I know that. Maybe (Steve) Grogan, (Jim) Plunkett,” Belichick said in referrence to the Patriots wide receivers coach and Etling.
Etling wasn’t shy about his early anxiety. He received a lot of help and support from his teammates and coaches. “I just wanted to go out there and learn and continue to try to figure out how to do my job when the lights come on. I thought I could have done better in the first half — just a little nerves. Credit to my coaches and my teammates. (They) just got me settled down, and I’m like, ‘All right, now let’s just play football,’” Etling said.
Well, he sure overcame that. Belichick is proud of his guys, and they are all ready for the new season. Game on!