Blog Entry

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:08 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 10:08 pm
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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tom Brady's left shoulder had been an issue for most of the season. In fact, he missed practice the Wednesday before the Patriots faced the Ravens in the AFC Conference Championship and went on to play his worst game of the season. He appeared to injure the shoulder again Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVI, after Giants defensive end Justin Tuck sacked him on New England's second drive of the third quarter.

At the time, the Patriots led 17-12 and up to that point Brady looked every bit the future Hall of Famer he is. Earlier in the third quarter, Brady broke Joe Montana's Super Bowl record of 13 straight completions. As colleague Will Brinson noted during the completion streak, Brady was so spectacular that he even managed to get Chad Ochocinco involved.

But after the Tuck sack, Brady looked more like the quarterback who struggled against the Ravens two weeks ago, and the Giants … well, every time he's faced them the going back four years.

Brady's line, pre-Tuck sack: 20 of 24 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, the pass just prior to Tuck's takedown broke Brady's completion streak and it came 6:12 into the third quarter.

Brady's line, post-Tuck sack: 7 of 17 for 75 and an interception. The pick, arguably the play of the game, came courtesy of linebacker Chase Blackburn, who was a substitute teacher earlier this season before the Giants signed him. Blackburn ran stride for stride with tight end Rob Gronkowski down the middle of the field and actually out-Gronk-ed Gronk to haul in the slightly underthrown pass.

"We were in a defense where I had to carry [Gronkowski] vertical all the way down the field," Blackburn said. [Brady] had a lot of time. I think he busted out of a sack and he just threw it up for grabs. I finally found the ball. I just tried to box him out and go up and get the ball."

Giants 21, Patriots 17
And that's exactly what happened. Blackburn was the beneficiary of Gronkowski's bum ankle, which kept the tight end out of practice early in the week and certainly limited his effectiveness.

But the road to a championship requires more than precise game-planning or flawless execution. A lot of luck is involved too. Four years ago, it was David Tyree's helmet. Sunday night it was Blackburn making the play of his career.

Here's the thing, though: Blackburn's grab would've been nothing more than a sidenote had Brady -- injured left shoulder or not -- been able to complete a pass to a wide open Wes Welker with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. By that time, the Pats were clinging to a 17-15 lead but driving. Another score and the game likely would have been over and New England would finally have their fourth championship after a six-year drought that included no postseason victories until three weeks ago.

Instead, Brady missed Welker down the seam on a throw he must've completed a hundred times this season, a thousand times in his career.

"Wes was running down the field and it looked like they messed the coverage up a little bit and I threw it to him," said Brady. "(Welker) went up to try and make it, as he always does, and we just couldn't connect. He's a hell of a player. I'll keep throwing the ball to him for as long as I possible can. He's a phenomenal player and teammate and I love that guy."

When New England finally got the ball back, they trailed 21-17 and had to navigate 80 yards in only 57 seconds. If this had been 2004, we'd all be lamenting that the Giants gave Brady too much time to do what he does. But this is 2012, four years removed from Brady succumbing to New York's pass rush on that final, fateful Super Bowl XLII drive. We've seen this movie, we know how it ends: five incomplete passes and a sack sandwiched around two harmless completions, and Brady walks off the field sullen and beaten.

"We could have done a better job in a lot of things," head coach Bill Belichick said afterwards.

But that sentiment holds for the Giants, too (and every team that has ever played a game).  Things may have turned out differently had New England just been luckier.

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Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:40 am

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

This is an absurd story.  This is what you took away?  And those are the stats you used?  Five of the incompletes came on the final Hail Mary drive with 57 seconds left.  Take those out and the supposedly statistically significant 7-for-17 goes down to 6-for-11.  Take away the dropped ball by Hernandez and the ball that Welker catches any other time, which most wouldn't granted, and it's 6-for-9 after the Tuck sack.  Brady looked somewhat out of sorts because they were losing by a TD with less than a minute to go in the SB, and his guys couldn't hang on to the ball even when he hit them in the hands.

Since: Sep 1, 2009
Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:12 am

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

Most overrated QB in NFL history. He beats an under-manned Philly and Carolina team to win a couple of Super Bowls, but gets bitch-slapped by legit teams (Giants twice). BTW, the Eagles and Panthers almost beath them too in the Super Bowl. Sure he upset the Rams many years ago, but the defense stepped up for that.  Patriots suck it!

Since: Jan 15, 2012
Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:10 am

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

Couldn't invoke the "Tuck Rule" this time. Instead you got ruled and schooled by the Tuck.

Since: Aug 1, 2010
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:46 pm

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

Oh, did precious get hurt. Maybe Roger will make a new rule that it's two hand tap versus Tommy Terrific from now on. Here come the excuses.

Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:43 pm

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

I'd have to say the dropped passes and Hail Marys at the end were a bigger factor in Tom Brady's decline in statistical output than any dropoff in his play. While his shoulder looked sore coming off the field, he came back out and played at an incredible level.

Since: Feb 16, 2007
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:41 pm

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

Lets face it, it's been incredibly obvious that if Brady has to deal with the same things most QB's do which is getting knocked down, sacked, and rushed a lot, he's an incredibly average QB.  When he can sag back and just scan the field for an infinite amount of time, which his offensive line allows him to do, he's all world.  It took a long time for somebody to finally get to him, but once they did, he was average.  He was average the entire game when they met in 2007 for the exact same reason.  Don't forget that Matt Cassel of all QB's put up pro bowl numbers when Brady missed an entire season.. With that kind of protection, many QB's would look as good as Brady. 

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:40 pm

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

brady amde the throw too welker, wlekr has too make the catch, and the pats will still have another run in them, and if gronk comes back healthy, and lets say next year they get too the afc championship, and gronk makes it threw healthy, could be much differnet

Since: Jan 25, 2009
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:39 pm

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

A LOT of truth in this article. These 2 teams were VERY evenly matched and each club had some lucky plays go their way. For the Pats, there was the non-interference call on Moore in the 4th quarter, and the drive-killing holding penalty on Kevin Boothe that allowed the Pats the chance to mount that huge drive late in the 1st half. For the Giants, among other plays were the 2 fumbles that the Pats were unable to recover and the 12 men on the field call against the Pats D that nullified what would've been their only turnover.
This game was a total nail-biter and I was on the edge of my seat the entire 2nd half

Since: Feb 5, 2012
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:38 pm

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

Just another CBS Sports____ up. Brady's arm didn't look too battered up on that last hail mary 50+ yard heave.

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:35 pm

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

I think it was his receivers who let him down, not his shoulder...

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