Hannable: Sunday was Tom Brady’s greatest 4th quarter playoff comeback of all time

Ryan Hannable
January 22, 2018 - 12:50 am

USA Today Sports

FOXBORO — Another Patriots playoff game, another unbelievable fourth quarter comeback orchestrated by Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old was at it again Sunday afternoon as the Patriots trailed the Jaguars 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, but Brady led the Patriots to two touchdown-scoring drives to give them a 24-20 win, and a second straight trip to the Super Bowl.

Brady was 9-for-14 with 138 yards and two touchdowns in the final 15 minutes on Sunday. The quarterback connected with Danny Amendola for the first touchdown to bring the Patriots within three with 8:44 remaining, and then hit Amendola again in the back of the end zone wth 2:48 to play for the game-winning score.

It was the fourth time in Brady’s playoff career where he’s trailed by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter and won the game. Besides Sunday it was the Snow Bowl game in 2002 against the Raiders, Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks and Super Bowl LI against the Falcons.

In those four games in the fourth quarter, Brady is 50-for-69 (72 percent) for 551 yards and five touchdowns. Think about that: four quarters is the equivalent of a whole game — unreal.

“That’s why you play all four quarters, too,” Brady said after the game. “The game is never over after the halftime, and you’ve got to go to the end. There’s some things that we’re good at and other things we haven’t been very good at. I think going a little faster in our tempo has been really good for us over the course of the season and we needed to make some plays there, we did, and the guys certainly at the receiver position and all the skill guys made a lot of great plays out there tonight.”

All things considered, Sunday’s fourth-quarter performance may have been his best of them all.

Consider who Brady was working with. Rob Gronkowski was lost for the game with a concussion right before halftime. Julian Edelman has been out for the year with a torn ACL. All Brady really had was Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Amendola and his running backs. Not to mention he was going up against the No. 1 ranked pass defense in the NFL.

And oh yeah, he was playing with 10 stitches in his throwing hand due to an injury suffered in practice on Wednesday. [UPDATE: Brady told Kirk & Callahan Monday morning it was actually 12 stitches.]

“He's the GOAT, man,” safety Duron Harmon said. “He did goat-like stuff. Like you said, it was an injury. Some people didn't think he was going to play but all he did was go out here and show people why he's the best quarterback of all time.”

In 2002, Brady had David Patten, Troy Brown and Jermaine Wiggins, but the Raiders had the 18th-ranked defense in the league. In Super Bowl XLIX, Brady had both Edelman and Gronkowski healthy, and then last year in Super Bowl LI, Brady had Edelman, Hogan, Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell. It's also worth throwing in Atlanta had the 28th ranked pass defense in the league.

No Gronkowski, no Edelman, and facing the No. 1 passing defense in the league, coming back from 10 points down wasn’t supposed to happen, but Brady found a way.

Against the Jaguars, Brady relied heavily on Amendola. In the final quarter, Brady was 5-for-7 for 56 yards when throwing his way. The biggest play may have been when the Patriots were trailing by 10 and it was third-and-18 from the Patriots’ 25-yard line and Brady found Amendola over the middle for 21 yards to jump start the comeback.

“The third-and-18 play, basically I think I had a little bit of an option route in the middle of the field and I saw that there was room,” Amendola said. “I had pointed out the line [to gain] before the play snap so I knew where to get to and Tom [Brady]  had a laser and it was perfect.”

Although AFC championships don’t mean as much as Super Bowls, Sunday may have been Brady’s greatest day ever.

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