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 9, 2012

Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos punched their ticket to the AFC Divisional Round on Saturday, Jan. 14! (Photo Credit: Helmet2Helmet.net)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Good Monday morning to everyone, and welcome to yet another grand edition of the Daily Noontime! Here are some headlines, news, and much more.

* The Denver Broncos earned a rematch against the New England Patriots on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium, as Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime on Sunday to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 29-23.

* Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault released some harsh words toward Boston’s Brad Marchand, who recorded a vicious low hit on Sami Salo. The NHL office is expected to phone Marchand on Monday in regards to a possible suspension, which isn’t good news for the Bruins.

* According to sources – the Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with free agent pitcher Aaron Cook on a minor league deal, yet, it’s pending a physical. Cook spent the past three years in Colorado, and appeared in 18 games in 2011.

* The New England Patriots announced on Sunday evening that they’ve officially re-hired and signed Josh McDaniels as an offensive assistant for the remainder of the season/postseason, too.

NFL Postseason Schedule Announced

By NoontimeSports.com 

The NFL announced the 2011 playoff schedule on Sunday, and here are the potential match-ups.

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 – Wild Card Round 

* (No. 6) Cincinnati at (No. 3) Houston Texans — 4:30pm eastern 

* (No. 6) Detroit at (No. 3)  New Orleans — 8:00pm eastern 

Sunday, January 8, 2012 — Wild Card Round 

* (No. 5) Atlanta at (No. 4) New York — 1:00pm easter 

* (No. 5) Pittsburgh at (No. 4)  Denver — 4:30PM eastern 

Saturday, January 14, 2012 — Divisional Round 

* Atlanta/New York/New Orleans at (No. 2) San Francisco (Afternoon) 

* Cincinnati/Denver/Pittsburgh at (No. 1) New England (Evening)

Sunday, January 15, 2012 — Divisional Round 

* Denver/Houston/Pittsburgh at  (No. 2) Baltimore (Afternoon)

* Atlanta/Detroit/New York at (No. 1) Green Bay (Afternoon) 

Sunday, January 22, 2012 — AFC/NFC Championship Games

* AFC Championship — 3:30pm eastern 

* NFC Championship — 6:30pm eastern 

Sunday, January 29, 2012 — NFL Pro Bowl

* AFC vs. NFC — Time TBA 

Sunday, February  5, 2012

* AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion — Time TBA 

Breaking Down the AFC Playoff Picture

Photo Credit: Logo Inspirations

By Brian Willwerth 

With one week left in the regular season, here’s the way the AFC is shaping up…

The New England Patriots have clinched the East and a first-round bye. If they beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, they’ll wrap up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

In the North, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have both clinched playoff spots.  One of them will win the division; the other will be a wild card. Baltimore owns the tiebreaker by virtue of beating Pittsburgh twice. The Ravens will travel to Cincinnati, while the Steelers play at Cleveland.

The Houston Texans have won the South, and are locked into the No. 3 seed.

The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders are tied atop of the West. If they’re still tied after next week, Denver owns the tiebreaker. Those two teams face the Chiefs and Chargers, respectively. Whoever doesn’t win the division will be out.

That leaves one card spot open. The “win and you’re in” team is Cincinnati. All the Bengals have to do is beat the Ravens at home, in one of the marquee games of the final weekend. If Cincy stumbles, the Raiders, Titans and Jets can all sneak in, but they’ll also need help from the respective squads.