INDIANAPOLIS — The simplest play in the playbook is the kneeldown. Common wisdom would have the quarterback sneak somewhere close behind.
But the way Patriots OG Brian Waters tells it, there's more than meets the eye to what appears to be an elementary play.
"That's what makes him such a special quarterback, the little things," Waters said. "He can see everything. We have no earthly idea what is going on all over the field; he does. We have to trust that if he says, 'We're going to do this,' it's (based on) something we can't see. So we just do it. We get up to the line of scrimmage, he sees an opportunity to get us a first down, we do it.
"If it's not there, we have other plays we can go to."
Tom Brady is one of the best in the NFL at it. Although Brady was stopped short on his first attempt to sneak it in against the Ravens in the AFC championship game, he made it in on his second attempt and after three failed run plays right on the cusp of the end zone. And Brady went over the top for what would end up being the game-winning touchdown — on fourth down, no less.
"You get the ball, and you have to make a decision quickly," said Patriots third-year backup QB Brian Hoyer, Brady's backup. "But he just has that knack. Knowing Tom, he's probably simulating QB sneaks in his dreams."
Brady has the final call on when to run it. It's a call based on the defensive look, the down and distance, the time of the game, the rhythm of the offense and just a feel, that sixth sense that a veteran quarterback has at the moment.
And it all can happen at a moment's notice. Whether or not his fellow offensive teammates are ready or not.
"Nobody ever knows when he's going to do it," Waters said. "He does a great job of pulling it out when least expected. I think that's the best part about it. Even for us — we find out about half a second before we snap the ball. So he always has the option to do it at any time.
"Early on, it was tough. There were times when I said, 'Man, what is going on behind me?' I have gotten accustomed to it, knowing it could come at any time. In the Miami game (Week One), there was one play where I was still pass blocking and he was running right by me. I didn't know what just happened. I was brand new (to the team). Everyone else but me knew what was going on. This offense is very advanced."
Those who have been around Brady for longer have learned to appreciate this subtle, underrated skill he has.
"He's been doing it since I was in middle school," Hoyer said. "There is some technique to it, obviously. He sees the openings better than anyone else.
"We always joke that he is the best quarterback sneaker out there. I think we have run more quarterback sneaks than our regular run plays this year. When he does it, he's doing it for a reason and he knows he's going to get a first down."
Offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien took Hoyer's sentiment even a step further on Wednesday.
"He's probably one of the better quarterback sneak guys in the history of the game," O'Brien said.
Giants DT Chris Canty spoke on Tuesday about how the Giants plan on stopping the play if or when it comes up.
"There (are) no fancy techniques," Canty said. "On fourth-and-one, that one yard is all about your heart. It's all about the heart, the passion, and who wants that yard the most. Whoever is willing to line up and fight for that yard the hardest is going to win. That's what it really comes down to."
This much we know: Brady has heart. And he'll do whatever it takes to win, sexy play or not.