By Matt Noonan
The New England Patriots escaped Sunday’s dramatic AFC Championship contest with a 23-20 victory against the Baltimore Ravens.
However, quarterback Tom Brady didn’t exactly have his best game in a Patriots uniform, which is why Noontime Sports decided to go back in time, and analyze his past conference championship performances, as well as see if there was any parallels from Sunday’s tilt.
January 27, 2002 – New England at Pittsburgh: Against the Steelers, Brady completed 12 of 18 passes for 115 yards, but didn’t manage to toss a single strike to the end zone. Brady sustained an injury midway through the first half, which allowed former starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe to lead the Patriots to a 24-17 victory.
January 18, 2004 – Indianapolis at New England: The New England Patriots defense flexed their muscles by recording four interceptions and four sacks on quarterback Peyton Manning, who only tossed one touchdown. Brady finished the game 22 of 37 for 237 yards and one touchdown. He also tossed one interception, and rushed for one yard on five carries.
January 23, 2005 – New England at Pittsburgh: Brady registered 207 yards and two touchdowns, which included a 60-yard pass to Deion Branch that sparked New England’s offense and defense to eventually defeat Pittsburgh for the second time in three years, 41-27.
January 21, 2007 – New England at Indianapolis: Despite leading the Colts, 21-6 at halftime, Manning and his teammates staged an epic comeback to capture the AFC crown, which ended the Patriots quest toward a fourth Super Bowl title. Brady tossed one touchdown and one interception, as well as was sacked once, while Manning finished the game with one touchdown, one interception, and 349 yards through the air.
January 20, 2008 – San Diego at New England: Against the Chargers, Brady struggled. The New England gunslinger completed 22 of 33 passes for 209 yards, as well as finished the game with two touchdowns and three interceptions. San Diego also recorded two sacks, but only mustered 12 points, thanks to kicker Nate Kaeding, who was 4-for-4.
January 22, 2012 – Baltimore at New England: Similar to the 2001 AFC Championship game, Brady didn’t record a single touchdown, but managed to cough up the ball twice, as he was picked off by cornerbacksJimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb. However, the Patriots signal caller did finish the game with 239 yards through the air, and 22 completions.
Overall, Brady is 5-1 in conference championships, and 3-1 in the Super Bowl clashes.