HOUSTON -- Tom Brady is getting quite a collection of
playoff wins and Super Bowl MVP trophies.
The New England quarterback has won all six of his postseason
games, including two Super Bowls in three years. He threw for 354
yards and three touchdowns Sunday in leading the Patriots past the
Carolina Panthers 32-29.
Brady also made up for a critical interception in the Carolina
end zone by guiding the Patriots to a go-ahead score with 2:51
"We realized we had done it so many times this year," Brady
said of coming back. "We knew we could come up with the plays."
When the scrappy Panthers came back to tie it, Brady engineered
a 37-yard drive in the final minute. His 17-yard completion to
Deion Branch on third-down -- against a shockingly soft defensive
alignment -- set up Adam Vinatieri's 41-yard field goal to win it
with :04 seconds remaining.
It was a more masterly performance than in 2002, when Brady,
then a first-year starter, helped New England upset St. Louis
20-17. Vinatieri also won that game on a late field goal, from 48
"Maybe it was a little deja vu of two years ago," Vinatieri
said. "Tom did it again, he's amazing. This supporting cast did it
again and gave me a chance."
And just as against the Rams, Brady made clutch throws
throughout the final quarter in taking New England to its 15th
"I think each game is different," Brady said. "To win this
the way we did is incredible, unbelievable. A great all-around
"I don't know how I do it."
"In this day in the NFL," offensive coordinator Charlie Weis
said, "who else would you want throwing the ball? I'll take Tom
Brady 10 times out of 10."
Brady made sure the interception by Reggie Howard with 7:38
to go did not cost New England the championship. Carolina turned
that pickoff into an 85-yard touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme to
Muhsin Muhammad, the longest play in Super Bowl history.
"I kind of threw it right to him, but he made a great play,"
With Carolina on top 22-21, Brady went 6-for-8 on a 68-yard
drive. He converted two third downs on the series with perfect
passes, then found Vrabel in the front portion of the end zone.
After Delhomme rallied Carolina again and the first overtime in
Super Bowl history loomed, Brady and New England got a break. John
Kasay's kickoff sailed out of bounds, giving the Patriots the ball
at their 40 with 1:08 left.
"The kick out of bounds helped us out tremendously," receiver
Troy Brown said. "I said, 'We got a chance, especially with Tom.
He'll just advance (the ball) and we'll win the game.'"
Brady had two 13-yard completions to Troy Brown, leading to the
17-yarder to Branch when the Panthers played a conservative
"Deion ran a great route, I laid it up for him, and it gave us
enough time for Adam to run on the field," he said. "We made
enough plays at the end there to win it."
Brady always does. His overall record is 40-12. He is 26-4 in
games played after Nov. 1. And like Bart Starr and Terry Bradshaw,
he is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Only Joe Montana, with three, has
"You can never say enough about Tom Brady," Brown said. "He
wins games. What more can you ask for?"