Tom Brady has put up some amazing postseason performances over the course of his career. (Elsa/Getty Images)
When Tom Brady steps on the field for Sunday’s AFC title game, he’ll have an impressive body of postseason work. With 32 playoff games over the course of his career, he’s had a few that stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. Here are our pick for his five best postseason performances.
5. 1/19/02 vs. Raiders in Foxboro (AFC divisional playoffs) — 32-for-52, 312 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 70.4 passer rating in a 16-13 overtime win. His playoff debut. Everyone knows about Adam Vinatieri’s two big kicks and the tuck rule and all that, but Brady throwing for 300-plus yards in a snowstorm is something worth remembering. Strange to recall he didn’t throw for a touchdown that night, but ran for one, one of only two times in his postseason career that happened.
4. 2/3/02 vs. Rams in New Orleans (Super Bowl XXXVI) — 16-for-27, 145 yards, 1 TD, 86.2 passer rating in a 20-17 win. The numbers are nowhere near as impressive as some of the others on this list, but we’re going to include it here in our top five for a few reasons, not the least of which was the final drive to get the Patriots into field goal range. For the youngster, it was the stuff of legend.
3. 1/12/08 vs. Jaguars in Foxboro (AFC divisional playoffs) — 26-for-28, 262 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 141.4 passer rating in a 31-20 win. This might be the most underrated performance of Brady’s career, regular season or postseason. The quarterback was positively surgical that night against Jacksonville; of the two incompletes, one was a dropped ball. Afterward, Jacksonville defensive back Reggie Nelson sniffed: “Anyone can go 26-for-28 in a dropdown game.” The very definition of a sore loser.
2. 1/14/12 vs. Broncos in Foxboro (AFC divisional playoffs) — 26-for-34, 363 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT, 137.6 passer rating in a 45-10 win. One of the more underrated performances of his career, Brady and Rob Gronkowski (10 catches, 145 yards, 3 TDs) were at the peak of their powers in this one. When it comes to his playoff stats, this game represented a career-high for touchdown passes, and was second-best when it came to passer rating, passing yards and completion percentage.
1. 2/1/15 vs. Seahawks in Arizona (Super Bowl XLIX) — 37-for-50, 328 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 101 passer rating in a 28-24 win. Given the stakes, the opponent and the way it all finished, this one ranks at the top of the list for any Brady performance, regular season or postseason.