Tom Brady’s AFC Championship Resume

Tom Brady didn't toss a single TD on Sunday, but still managed to lead New England past Baltimore, 23-20! (Photo Credit: SB Nation)

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.

The Boston Sports Pulse: New England Patriots

By Matt Noonan 

Last year, Noontime Sports ran a column that featured an insightful breakdown of all four major Boston sports teams, as well as their current statuses as of last January, (2011).

This year, we’re making a change.

Instead of combining four teams into one blog, we’ve decided to separate each squad, and provide four individual posts, which will focus thoroughly on that one team.

So, we’ve decided to kick off this four part series with the New England Patriots, who’re technically two wins away from earning their fourth Super Bowl trophy in 10 years.

Here are some thoughts and analysis on the local pigskin squad, enjoy.

Reflecting On The Past Year:  It’s been a rather interesting season for the Patriots, who not only earned their third AFC East championship crown in the past four years, but also, the top seed in the AFC Conference, too.

Tom Brady experienced one his better seasons as a quarterback. He tossed 39 touchdowns and recorded 5,235 yards through the air, as well as helped second year tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez become elite stars.

Both tight ends combined for 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns in 16 games.

However, the biggest weakness for New England was their defense, which yielded 342 points, and 6,577 yards. They also allowed opponents to average 6.2 yards per play, as well as tally 370 first downs and 26 touchdowns.

Yet, the Patriots front seven and secondary did combine for 23 interceptions and 40 sacks.

Biggest Disappointment From The Past Year: During the 2011 season, New England did not defeat a team with a winning record.

They lost to the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, who managed to tally nine wins or more, as well as secure a spot in the postseason, too.

However, against Dallas, Denver, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, New England earned wins, but they weren’t exactly “special” or “great,” especially since all these teams finished the season with roughly eight wins or less.

It’s indeed rather shocking that their opponents didn’t have great records, but earning the top spot in the conference against underachieving squads isn’t exactly something to feel great about, right?

Who knows how the rest of the season will play out, but certainly, Patriots fans will always remember this particular squad as the team that didn’t defeat any true “winners.”

Playoff Success: No Patriots blog would be complete without providing a few intriguing statistics from their past playoff tilt against the Denver Broncos, but also noting that their most recent victory snapped a two-game playoff-losing streak, which dated back to their last win against the San Diego Chargers in the  AFC championship in 2008.

Against the Broncos, Brady completed 26-of-34 passes for 363 yards, and six touchdowns. He tossed five of his six scores in the first half, while his opponent, Tim Tebow, struggled immensely, as well as finished 9-of-26 for 136 yards. He didn’t register a single touchdown or interception, but did manage to get sacked five times.

New England will face a daunting task on Sunday when they welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Gillette Stadium, who defeated the Patriots during the 2009 playoffs, 33-14.

Closing Thought: The New England Patriots finally won their first playoff game in four years, but now, they need to use that momentum to carry them to Indianapolis, Indiana for Super Bowl XLVI.

Yet, do they have what it takes to win their fourth championship in 10 years? Um… I think so, (yes, I am a tad bit unsure).

New England isn’t exactly the flashiest squad in the NFL. Their defense was horrendous, but their offense was stupendous, and yes, I know that rhymed.

However, if they do manage to reach the NFL title match, it will certainly prove to teams like Philadelphia that you don’t need loads of talent to win championships.

The Patriots have always been about teamwork and hard work. They’re not self-centered players. They want to win a championship, as well as continue their modern day 21st century dynasty.

So, in conclusion, I am going to display my “hometown optimism” by saying, they’ll end this current season by celebrating on the same fake grass that Peyton Manning defeated them on November 15, 2009, with a Vince Lombardi championship trophy.

Fans Take: What are your thoughts or “two cents” on the current Patriots squad? Do you think they have what it takes to reach the Super Bowl and win? If so, post your thoughts below, as well as on our Facebook page, too.

Follow Matt Noonan on Twitter @NoontimeSports.

Daily Noontime – January 18, 2012

When do you expect Carl Crawford to return to the diamond? April? June? Never? (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy “Hump Day,” and welcome into another grand edition of the Daily Noontime!

Here are some headlines and news to kick-start your day, enjoy.

* On Tuesday, Carl Crawford underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist due to soreness he sustained during his offseason training regimen in Arizona. GM Ben Cherington believes the Boston Red Sox leftfielder should be able to play this season. However, it’s possible that the Sox will have to explore other options, while Crawford recovers. Will he return to the diamond in April? We’ll have to wait and see!

* The Boston Bruins dropped to 1-2 on their current four-game road trip, as the Tampa Bay Lightning handed the Black and Gold a 5-3 loss on Tuesday. Nathan Horton netted two goals, Daniel Paille scored a shorthanded goal, and Tim Thomas saved 26 shots between the pipes. The Bruins will wrap up their road trip on Thursday when they travel to New Jersey to face the Devils.    

* Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell was recently fired after his team finished the season, 2-14, and according to a report on Wednesday morning, it’s possible that Peyton Manning may not return to quarterback the team next year.

* According to an interesting Yahoo! Sports blog report, it’s possible that the Boston Celtics might actually deal Paul Pierce, as well as Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett to clear cap room. Both Allen and Garnett are expected to be free agents after the season concludes, while Pierce has two-years remaining on his current contract. The Celtics are currently ranked third in their division, as well as one and a half games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Daily Noontime – December 23, 2011

The Colts pulled out a dramatic win on Thursday after their owner stated that he expects Peyton to remain in Indianapolis! (Photo Credit: Flickr.com)

Happy Friday to everyone, and of course, Happy Holidays too! Here’s some headlines, news and other things! 

Headlines: 

* The Indianapolis Colts earned their second consecutive victory, as they rallied to defeat the Houston Texans, 19-16.

* According to the Colts owner Jim Isray, he believes and expects quarterback Peyton Manning to remain with Indianapolis for the upcoming season.

* Sports Illustrated confirmed that Kobe Bryant is expected to play in the team’s season opener on Sunday against Chicago Bulls.

* According to MLB.com — the St. Louis Cardinals have reached a two-year deal with Carlos Beltran.

* The New York Rangers picked up an important win on Thursday, as they defeated the New York Islanders, 4-2.

Games to Watch: 

* Florida at Boston (NHL) – 7:00pm eastern 

* Philadelphia at New York Rangers (NHL) – 7:00pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

With 2011 slowly coming to a close, here’s a video that recaps the past year of YouTube videos, enjoy! 

Noonan: Quick Thoughts on Week 15 of the NFL

Reggie Wayne pumps his fist on Sunday to celebrate the Colts victory on Sunday! (Photo Credit: SB Nation)

By Matt Noonan 

Sunday was a wild day across the NFL, but now, literally hours after all the lights have been turned off, and fans have marched home, I, Matt Noonan have a few things to say about one of the most wackiest days in professional football, so here we go…

* The Chiefs-Packers game was quite intriguing, but so was watching the Colts earn their first win against the Titans. It was also nice to see Jim Isray smile too, as well as announce that Peyton Manning won’t play for the remainder of the season. Hmm… I think that was an obvious, right?

* Sunday was also the first time that New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco caught a touchdown, as well as provided some necessary blocks on offense too. Ochocinco then took to Twitter a few hours after his team’s game against Denver concluded, and wrote, “Never look down on people. My grandma always said whatever’s on the bottom is holding you up.” I guess his grandmother provided the inspiration for his first official touchdown in a New England uniform, eh?

* The Oakland Raiders celebrated Louis Murphy’s first score of the year, but sadly, they couldn’t control their exuberant emotions, which allowed Detroit the opportunity to rally and win their ninth game of the season, 28-27.

* In case you didn’t know, both New York teams, the Giants and Jets, lost. Yep, those losses will come back to haunt Big Blue and Gang Green at some point, but in the meantime, the city that never sleeps still has the Knicks and Rangers to follow.

* What’s the matter with Ryan Fitzpatrick? After signing a rather lucrative contract a few weeks ago, he hasn’t won a game. Doesn’t that bother Buffalo Bills fans?

* As mentioned above, I did find the Chiefs-Packers game intriguing, but also a great moment for interim head coach Romeo Crennel, who spoke rather highly of his team’s effort and performance against Green Bay. Yet, after this particular win, I have to ask the following… Should he be considered for the head-coaching job for next year? My answer… YES!

* The St. Louis Rams are in a world of hurt, and according to reports on Monday; head coach Steve Spagnuolo’s job is in serious jeopardy. He may not be coaching the men dressed in blue and yellow next year, but overall, I think it’s safe to say, he gave it his best shot.

* So, where have the San Diego Chargers been the past few weeks? Suddenly, they want to win? They’ll need a lot of help these next two weeks, but overall, their affair against Baltimore proved that the Ravens might not be the best squad in the AFC.