Tag: Rex Burkhead

Revisiting Tom Brady’s Conference Championships

Tom Brady will make his NFC Championship debut this weekend with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (PHOTO COURTESY: Charles Krupa / Associated Press/LA Times)

By Matt Noonan

By now you probably have heard that Tom Brady – yes, the former New England Patriots quarterback – is headed back to the conference championship for the ninth time in the last ten seasons. Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to beat the New Orleans Saints, 30-20, last night in the NFC Divisional Round to secure a date next Sunday with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

For the most part, Brady’s trips to the conference championship have resulted in trips to the “big game” – that would be the Super Bowl, to be exact – while some have ended in disappointment. But Sunday will mark the veteran signal-caller’s first appearance in the NFC Championship after appearing in 13 AFC title games.

Being a history nerd, as well as a lifelong football fan, I thought we could get ready for this weekend’s big game by revisiting all of Tom Brady’s past appearances in the conference championship round, beginning with his initial appearance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in January 2002.


January 27, 2002: Eight days after leading the Patriots past the Oakland Raiders in what has been dubbed the “snow bowl,” Brady received some help from Drew Bledsoe, who replaced the young quarterback who sustained a sprained ankle late in the second quarter. Bledsoe completed 10 of 21 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown while the defense limited Pittsburgh to just two touchdowns during the final two sessions.

New England would advance to its first Super Bowl since the 1996 season and beat the St. Louis Rams, thanks to a game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

January 18, 2004: Eight days after a dramatic win over the Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady and the Patriots outlasted Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, 24-14.

While Brady tossed one touchdown in the win, it was the New England defense, specifically Ty Law, who highlighted the victory – the unit intercepted Manning four times while recording four sacks.

New England would advance to the Super Bowl and beat the Carolina Panthers.

January 23, 2005: Supposedly, Tom Brady was sick prior to his team’s championship meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he looked pretty good once the game commenced. Brady completed 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards while Corey Dillon led all rushers with 73 yards on 24 carries.

New England would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl two weeks later where they would beat the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 24-21.

January 21, 2007: After scoring back-to-back wins over the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers, the New England Patriots entered the 2006 AFC Championship game with a lot of momentum. However, it slowly disappeared early in the third quarter as Indianapolis erased a 21-6 deficit to beat the Patriots, 38-34.

The Colts limited Tom Brady and the Patriots offense to just 13 points in the second half while Peyton Manning finished the game with 349 passing yards and two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing).

January 20, 2008: Tom Brady played the role of gunslinger in this particular match-up with the San Diego Chargers by completing 22 of 33 passes for 209 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions as the Patriots won their 18th straight contest before falling to the New York Giants two weeks later in the Super Bowl.

January 22, 2012: This was perhaps the most dramatic AFC Championship game for Tom Brady and the Patriots as they somehow edged the Baltimore Ravens, 23-20, thanks to a missed field goal by Billy Cundiff.

Tom Brady rushed for one score in the win, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for a game-high 68 yards on 15 carries.

Sadly, the dramatic win was quickly forgotten two weels later when New England lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons.

January 20, 2013: Tom Brady completed 29 of 54 passes for 320 yards and one touchdown – he also threw two interceptions – but it wasn’t enough to send the Patriots past the Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Baltimore erased memories of the 2011 championship meeting with an impressive 28-13 victory, thanks to three touchdown passes from Joe Flacco.

January 19, 2014: For the second-straight season, the Patriots won 13 of 18 contests, but their final outing with the Denver Broncos concluded with a 26-16 setback. Peyton Manning completed 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns while the Broncos defense limited Tom Brady to just two touchdowns – one through the air, one on the ground.

January 18, 2015: After a dramatic and exciting win over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Round, the Patriots scored a huge win over the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady tossed three touchdowns in the win while LeGarrette Blount rushed for a game-high 148 yards on 30 carries and three scores.

New England’s defense intercepted Andrew Luck twice – they also limited Dan Herron to 51 rushing yards on 10 carries.

The Patriots returned to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2011 season to beat the Seattle Seahawks, thanks to a late-game interception by Malcolm Butler.

January 24, 2016: Weeks after losing to the Denver Broncos in the regular season, the Orange and Blue scored their second victory of the 2015 season against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Brady was sacked four times and picked-off twice, but he did toss one touchdown against a talented Broncos defense.

Peyton Manning concluded the game 17 of 32 for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He was also sacked three times.

January 22, 2017: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the better team in this meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brady tossed three touchdowns, including two to Chris Hogan, who concluded the contest with nine grabs on 12 targets for 180 yards.

Two weeks after an impressive win against the Steelers, the Patriots would complete an improbable comeback against the Atlanta Falcons to secure the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl championship.

January 21, 2018: After knocking off the Tennessee Titans eight days earlier, the Patriots scored their second-straight postseason win against a member of the AFC South. New England rallied to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-20, thanks to two touchdown passes from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola.

Sadly, the exciting win against the Jaguars would follow with a disappointing setback to the Philadelphia Eagles.

January 20, 2019: Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead highlighted an overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs by combining for 154 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Burkhead clinched the victory in overtime while Tom Brady concluded the contest with 348 passing yards and one touchdowns.

Kansas City did intercept Brady twice while Patrick Mahomes completed 16 of 31 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns. New England would go onto capture their sixth Super Bowl with a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Noontime’s NFL Power Rankings: Week Four (Sept. 29, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy Tuesday, everyone! 

After a much-needed bye week – we apologize for the radio silence! – we’re back to producing a weekly National Football League (NFL) Power Rankings. And we’re excited to generate this list every week. 

So, let’s unveil this week’s Top 20 teams through three weeks! 

As usual, make sure to stop by every day for brand new football content while following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube!


Noontime’s Week Four Power Rankings (Sept. 29, 2020)

1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0, Previously: No. 1): Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs looked pretty well last night against the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, we think they looked really good! 

2. Seattle Seahawks (3-0, Previously: No. 3): If you let Russell Wilson cook, then he will make a delicious meal. And so far, Wilson is cooking up some magic after three impressive outings. 

3. Baltimore Ravens (2-1, Previously: No. 2): Yes, the Ravens lost to the Chiefs last night, but they are still the second-best team in the AFC. 

4. Green Bay Packers (3-0, Previously: No. 9): Initially, we thought the Packers would take a step back this year, but apparently our preseason thought has been incorrect, especially with three weeks of the 2020 season in the books. 

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0, Previously: No. 10): Ben Roethlisberger has looked pretty good thus far, but the same could be said for the Pittsburgh defense. Maybe they will be able to challenge the Ravens for the top spot in the AFC North? 

6. Buffalo Bills (3-0, Previously: No. 7): Josh Allen is having a great season thus far. And their win against the Los Angeles Rams was an important one, especially after they squandered a 28-3 advantage. 

7. Tennessee Titans (3-0, Previously: No. 8): Yes, we know the Titans and Minnesota Vikings will be sidelined until this weekend due to eight members of the Tennessee organization testing positive for the coronavirus. But whether they play or not this upcoming week, these Titans should not be overlooked – they’re a good football team. And they certainly remain the favorites in the AFC South. 

8. New England Patriots (2-1, Previously: No. 5): The Patriots are proving they can win games with everyone in their locker room – we saw that on Sunday when they leaned heavily on Rex Burkhead, who rushed for three touchdowns. This week, the Pats face their toughest test of the season: Kansas City. 

9. Los Angeles Rams (2-1, Previously: No. 13): The Rams came close to beating the Bills this past weekend but struggled to stop Josh Allen and the offense down the stretch. But as Sean McVay said after the game, the team will learn from this setback and bounce back. And we certainly expect that to happen this week against the New York Giants

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1, Previously: No. 11): Tom Brady and the Buccaneers have won back-to-back contests. And they should be able to string together another win this week against the Los Angeles Chargers (fingers crossed!). 

11. San Francisco 49ers (2-1, Previously: No. 6): The 49ers have scored back-to-back wins against perhaps the two worst teams in the NFL – that would be the New York Giants and New York Jets. They should tack on another win this week against the winless Philadelphia Eagles

12. New Orleans Saints (1-2, Previously: No. 4): Sure, the Saints have stumbled since beating Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, but this team needs to win this week to regain its week one mojo. 

13. Chicago Bears (3-0, Previously: On The Rise): Somehow, Matt Nagy and the Bears have won three-straight games. Can they continue this momentum this week against the Indianapolis Colts

14. Indianapolis Colts (2-1, Previously: No. Not Ranked): Philip Rivers and the Colts have won back-to-back contests, but face a good test this week against the undefeated Bears. 

15. Dallas Cowboys (1-2, Previously: No. 14): The Cowboys have the talent, but are also banged up. Give the Boys credit for putting up a fight against the Seahawks, but they should be able to learn from this game, as well as their week one loss heading into a must-win contest on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns

16. Cleveland Browns (2-1, Previously: Not Ranked): Nick Chubb highlighted his team’s second-straight win of the 2020 season. He will certainly be a player to watch this week against the Cowboys. 

17. Arizona Cardinals (2-1, Previously: No. 12): The Cardinals should have beaten the Detroit Lions, but instead faltered down the stretch. Can they rebound this week against the 1-2 Carolina Panthers? We’ll have to wait and see! 

18. Las Vegas Raiders (2-1, Previously: No. 19): The Silver and Black sustained their first setback of the season to the Patriots on Sunday, but have looked somewhat decent against both the Panthers and Saints. 

19. Miami Dolphins (1-2, Previously: Not Ranked): The Dolphins finally cracked the win column last week thanks to their tenured quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick

20. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2, Previously: No. 18): The Chargers looked good against the Chiefs one week ago, but did not look good against the Panthers, especially down the stretch. 

On the Rise: Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans 


Noontime’s Preseason Rankings (Aug. 4, 2020) 

Noontime’s Week One Power Rankings (Sept. 8, 2020) 

Noontime’s Week Two Power Rankings (Sept. 15, 2020)