Logan Ryan ended Tom Brady’s Patriots career: ‘Greatest challenge’

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Logan Ryan can say he intercepted Tom Brady’s last pass as a Patriot. He’s hoping to catch the next one Brady throws his way.

The former Rutgers star defensive back will be counted on again on Monday night when the Giants welcome in Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Ryan is second on the Giants with 44 tackles after playing every defensive snap for the last five weeks. Few players have a better understanding of what it’s like to face the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

“I feel like he brings the best out of me,” Ryan said. “I know I have to be my best in order to compete with him. I love playing against him because it’s the greatest challenge in football.”

Ryan and Brady spent four years as teammates in New England, but their last encounter was as rivals. It came in the AFC Wild Card game last year when Ryan, then a member of the Tennessee Titans, scooped up a deflected pass with nine seconds left.

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His pick-six in chilly Foxborough was the unceremonious ending to Brady’s season – and career as a Patriot.

“He reached out to me afterwards,” Ryan said. “I had dropped one earlier in the game and he said, ‘Why can’t you drop them both?’ Even though I like you, I can’t drop them both. So we got much respect for each other, but to me he’s the ultimate test as a player.”

Titans CB Logan Ryan celebrates his late-game pick-six of Tom Brady. (Photo: Winslow Townson, USA TODAY Sports)

That interception was one of so many critical plays that Ryan made last season for the Titans. He set career highs with 113 tackles, 4.5 sacks and four forced fumbles for a team that reached the AFC final.

Yet the 29-year-old had to wait several months for it to pay off during a COVID-affected offseason. It wasn’t until late in training camp when he signed a one-year deal worth up to $7.5 million. The Giants were looking for help in the secondary after losing rookie Xavier McKinney to a fractured foot. 

In Ryan, they found a durable replacement who’s missed only three games in eight NFL seasons. The Berlin, N.J., native has filled up the stat sheet with 33 solo tackles to go with one sack and forced fumble.

The only problem for Ryan? He’s on the verge of his first losing season since his freshman year at Rutgers.

“We’ve had chances and opportunities to win, maybe four or five of the games this year and we didn’t,” Ryan said. “But at the same time, all you can do is learn from those experiences. So I can’t say to these

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‘Greatest play of Cameron Smith’s career’: Could this be one of Smith’s last moments of NRL magic?

Every game he plays Cameron Smith produces some magic that solidifies him as the greatest we’ve seen and in Friday night’s preliminary final against the Raiders the Storm skipper came up with perhaps his finest piece of work.

Smith’s retirement decision dominated the headlines in the build-up to this finals match and it’s being widely reported the 400-game champion will hang up the boots after this season.

And with an incredible defensive play late in Melbourne’s incredible 30-10 win at Suncorp Stadium, Smith reminded us all just what we’ll miss once he’s gone.

With Melbourne’s foot on Canberra’s throat with eight minutes left on the clock, Smith stopped a certain Nick Cotric try, stopping the powerful Raiders back with an incredible one-on-one tackle on his knees above the line and forcing his opponent into error.

But it was Smith’s 60-metre chase from marker to stop the Raiders from scoring that showed exactly why, at 37 years of age, he continues to defy the doubters.

In his 19 years in the NRL, Smith has had his hand in some of the biggest moments the modern game has seen – however Fox League’s Andrew Voss labeled the tackle on Cotric his finest.

“That’s just about the greatest play of Cameron Smith’s career,” Voss said in commentary.

“He’s at marker when Canberra started this rush. He’s chasing at full pelt, he’s the last man to stop the try with his team in front by 24 (points), the great one produces that.

“I salute him, I think we all do at this point, even those who might not be his biggest fan for whatever reason. That was an incredible piece of play.”

Premiership-winning great Braith Anasta said it was a tackle that defined the type of player Smith has been.

“It epitomises his career and the type of players he is and what type of competitor he is. That’s why he’s still playing at the highest quality,” Anasta said on Fox League.

Smith’s jaw-dropping defensive effort headlined what was a relentless performance from Craig Bellamy’s men whose first-half onslaught ensured a spot in next week’s grand final and perhaps the opportunity to send off their skipper in the best way possible.

Melbourne scored four unanswered tries in the opening 25 minutes and went on to secure a remarkable 20-point win and book their place in the grand final for the fifth time in 10 years.

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