Tag: Sony Michel

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.

Noonan: Wicked Early Thoughts On The 2019 Patriots Schedule

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Tom Brady will attempt to guide the New England Patriots to its seventh Super Bowl this upcoming season. (PHOTO COURTESY: USA TODAY Sports Images)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

The National Football League (NFL) unveiled its 2019 schedule last night – there are some intriguing match-ups to watch this fall, so get excited.

But like many of us, we were more interested in seeing who the New England Patriots would play in 2019, especially in week one when they celebrate their sixth Super Bowl championship.

And the answer for who the Patriots would play in week one was a familiar foe, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Yep, the Steel Curtain will invade Gillette Stadium on the first Sunday evening of the 2019 season, and you know it will be a great game with hopefully the Patriots prevailing.

With a new season just months away, but a schedule now available to analyze (and think about), why not share some thoughts on how the hometown team will do in each contest, beginning with its week one match-up with the Steelers.


Noonan’s 2019 Game-By-Game Predictions 

Week One: Pittsburg Steelers at Patriots (Sept. 8th, 2019 | 8:30 p.m.): There will be a lot of storylines heading into this one, but the most important one will be how will the Patriots do with Rob Gronkowski? I think they will do just fine. There will be some growing pains, of course, but in the end, the Patriots should find a way to sneak past the Steelers without two of their key pieces from the past few seasons. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Steelers 21 

Week Two: Patriots at Miami Dolphins (Sept. 15th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): Coach Bill Belichick takes on former defensive coordinator Brian Flores. This will be yet another one of those master versus apprentice battles, but in the end, I think the Dolphins win this one, but the Pats will even the score later in the season. PREDICTION: Dolphins 24, Patriots 17 

Week Three: New York Jets at Patriots (Sept. 22, 2019 | 1 p.m.): Adam Gase seems to think the Jets are better suited than his former team to beat the Patriots. He even inspired them to bring back a bad (and remixed) version of their Neil O’Donnell uniforms, too. The Patriots will be eager to bounce back from their week two loss to the Dolphins and earn their first divisional win. PREDICTION: Patriots 37, Jets 15

Week Four: Patriots at Buffalo Bills (Sept. 29th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): After cruising past the Jets, the Patriots should have no problem ending the month of September with a second-straight AFC East victory. PREDICTION: Patriots 24, Bills 10 

Week Five: Patriots at Washington Redskins (Oct. 6th, 2019 |1p.m.): The last time the Patriots and Redskins squared-off in our nation’s capital, I believe there was some sort of shouting match between Tom Brady and Bill O’Brien. I don’t see Brady yelling at O’Brien this year – he coaches the Houston Texans, by the way – but I do see our hometown hero yelling at his teammates during the pregame to fire them up for another win. PREDICTION: Patriots 31, Redskins 21

Week Six: New York Giants at Patriots (Oct. 10th, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): It seems like ages ago when these two teams met in the Super Bowl, but this game won’t be like the ‘big game.’ Nope, the Giants are rebuilding – should be competitive, though – but in the end, this has the makings for Sony Michel two or three-touchdown game. PREDICTION: Patriots 35, Giants 17 

Week Seven: Patriots at New York Jets (Oct. 21, 2019 | 8:15 p.m.): As usual, the Jets usually play well at home, but can they rebound from a week three setback to the Patriots? Probably not, right? PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Jets 17 

Week Eight: Cleveland Browns at Patriots (Oct. 27th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): Welcome to Foxboro, Baker Mayfield. The Browns should be in the mix for an AFC Championship this season – yes, I know what I just wrote (and said in my head!) – but somehow I see the Patriots pulling this out with a late touchdown. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Browns 24

Week Nine: Patriots at Baltimore Ravens (Nov. 3rd, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): Coach Belichick versus quarterback Lamar Jackson should be an enticing game of chess. The Ravens always play the Patriots tough, and I think this is a tough spot for New England to secure a win before the bye week. PREDICTION: Ravens 21, Patriots 17 

Week Ten: Bye Week (Nov. 10th, 2019) 

Week 11: Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles (Nov. 17th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): Coming off their bye week (and a disappointing setback to the Ravens), the Patriots will return to their early season form and cause havoc to quarterback Carson WentzPREDICTION: Patriots 27, Eagles 20

Week 12: Dallas Cowboys at Patriots (Nov. 24th, 2019 | 4:24 p.m.): Quarterback Dak Prescott does quite well in chilly temperatures – cold weather doesn’t seem to bother the young signal-caller. This should be a competitive game like the 2011 meeting, but in the end, I somehow see Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott winning the game on a one-yard score. PREDICTION: Cowboys 21, Patriots 18 

Week 13: Patriots at Houston Texans (Dec. 1st, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): After a tough loss to the Cowboys – I know, I showed some bias to my second favorite football team – the Patriots will find a way back into the win column, but it won’t be an easy win. PREDICTION: Patriots 29, Texans 23 

Week 14: Kansas City Chiefs at Patriots (Dec. 8th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): This has the making for a very exciting contest – perhaps the winner could take over the top spot in the AFC for the upcoming playoffs. The Chiefs almost beat the Patriots last season but should be a tougher opponent this year, thanks to new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. PREDICTION: Chiefs 31, Patriots 27 

Week 15: Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals (Dec. 15th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): Welcome to the beginning of a three-game winning streak. Sure, the Bengals will have a new coach this year, but they won’t be able to stop the Patriots at this point of the season. PREDICTION: Patriots 31, Bengals 20 

Week 16: Buffalo Bills at Patriots (Dec. 21st or 22nd | TBD): The pre-Christmas game at Foxboro usually results in a win for the hometown team. Who knows what shape the Bills will be in at this point of the season, but the Patriots will once again dominate their divisional foe. PREDICTION: Patriots 28, Bills 14

Week 17: Miami Dolphins at Patriots (Dec. 29th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): One week after handing Buffalo an early holiday present, the Patriots will once again dish out an early Happy New Year gift by beating the Dolphins before the postseason. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Dolphins 10


Stay connected with our New England football coverage by following @Noontime_FB on Twitter! 

Brady Wins His Sixth Super Bowl As New England Tops L.A. In Super Bowl LIII

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Tom Brady has now won six Super Bowl championships. (PHOTO COURTESY: Patriotswire.USAToday.com)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Tom Brady will be adding an additional ring to his championship collection, thanks to a hard-fought 13-3 win this evening by the New England Patriots over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

Brady, who became the first-ever NFL quarterback to win six Super Bowls, engineered a key five-play, 69-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter, which was capped by a two-yard plunge by Sony Michel to provide the Patriots with a 10-3 advantage.

The Rams attempted to answer on the ensuing possession but saw quarterback Jared Goff‘s pass down intercepted by Stephon Gilmore. Nine plays later, the Patriots sealed the win with a 41-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, who concluded the contest with a pair of field goals (his second attempt in the second quarter provided the Patriots with a 3-0 lead).

Los Angles did have a chance to slice the deficit on the game’s final drive, but Greg Zuerlein‘s second field goal sailed wide left.

The win – New England’s sixth Super Bowl since winning its initial crown 17 years earlier – ties the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most championships won in the Super Bowl era. The Patriots captured their first championship 17 years ago on this exact date when they defeated the Rams, 20-17, thanks to a game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

Neither team was able to produce points until New England’s fourth drive when Gostkowski capped a seven-play, 39-yard drive with a 42-yard field goal.

Los Angeles had a chance to even the score before halftime, but all three of its final series ended with a punt.

Extra, Extra

  • In the Brady-Bill Belichick era, the Patriots are now 3-2 in Super Bowls when leading at the break. The Patriots are 2-0 when tied at the break (won in 2004 and 2014), and 1-1 when trailing (won in 2016, lost in 2017).
  • Los Angeles is now 0-2 in Super Bowl era with their initial loss coming in 1980 against the Steelers.
  • Los Angles hasn’t won a championship in football since defeating the Cleveland Browns in the 1951 NFL Championship.
  • As an organization, the Rams are 1-2 in the Super Bowl with their lone win coming in 1999 when they defeated the Tennesse Titans, 23-16. The win over the Titans occurred in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • As an organization, the Rams are 1-1 when competing in Super Bowls in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • LA was held to a season-low three points – they scored just six points two months ago when they lost to the Chicago Bears, 15-6.
  • The last team to hold the Rams to just three points in a game was the Seattle Seahawks on December 15, 2016.
  • Sony Michel led all rushers with 94 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown, while Todd Gurley was held to just 35 yards on 10 carries (3.5 yards per carry).
  • Julian Edelman hauled in a game-high 10 receptions for 141 yards, while Brandin Cooks led the Rams with eight catches for 120 yards.
  • New England’s defense recorded four sacks, while the Rams recorded just one sack.

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