The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 71 BY CHRIS BALAS N ever bet against Tom Brady and the New Eng- land Patriots in the playoffs. The former Michigan great completed 26 of 38 passes for 290 yards with two touch- downs to lead the Patriots back from 10 down in the fourth quarter to yet another AFC title, this time a 24-20 win over Jacksonville. Brady was 9-of-14 passing for 138 yards with two touch- downs in the fourth quarter, a quarterback rating of 136.3. His rating was 87.5 the first three quarters (17-of-24 passing for 152 yards), The Boston Herald reported, but he was at his best when it mattered most. "I was proud of the way we fought," Brady said after leading his 11th playoff come- back. "It's a mentally tough team, and we needed a lot of mental toughness. "We found a way to dig deep and get it done, even on offense without one of our very best players. It was a great win." The Patriots lost tight end Rob Gronkowski with a concussion in the first half. Before that, Brady started the game 6-of-6 passing for 57 yards on his first drive in leading New England to a field goal. But after scoring a touchdown late in the second quarter, the Patri- ots couldn't find the end zone again until the fourth quarter. "Points are a product of play- ing really good football down af- ter down," Brady said. "We finally could get the field on our side and get some field position, some short fields and turn the one score into two scores. That's why you play all four quarters, too. The game is never over after the halftime, and you've got to go to the end." The game-winner went to wide receiver Danny Amendola, whose two scores were the difference. To add to the legend, Brady played with 12 stitches in his throw- ing hand thumb, the result of an injury suffered in practice. "Tom's the best," Amen- dola said. "He's the toughest guy I've ever met physically and mentally. If there is any- thing that happens to Tom, I know he can handle it. "It was unfortunate to see him get injured mid-week. I know mentally it probably stressed him out a bit, and physically I know it's hard to throw a football with stitches in your thumb. "Everybody knows how tough h e is. Everybody knows that he's our leader. It's a testament to his career, his personality, the man he is. Not only is he the best player in our locker room, but he gets everybody else to play well and step their game up. That's why he's the best." And, defensive captain Du- ron Harmon said, the greatest of all time (GOAT). "He did GOAT-like stuff. … 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," Harmon noted. Defensive tackle Alan Branch and linebacker David Harris are former Wolverines who will also be on the Patriots' Super Bowl roster. Defen- sive end Brandon Graham will rep- resent U-M and the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC. FORMER WOLVERINES ON NFL PLAYOFF ROSTERS Through Jan. 22 • Alan Branch (Played at U‑M from 2004‑06), DT, New England Patriots: Was inactive for New England's 35‑14 win over Tennessee in the divisional round and its 24‑20 victory over Jack‑ sonville AFC Championship Game due to a knee injury. • Jehu Chesson (2013‑16), WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Did not catch a pass, but notched two special teams Brady will be making his eighth appearance in the Super Bowl, the most by any quarterback in NFL history. Former Denver quarter- back John Elway is second with five. PHOTO COURTESY NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS/DAVID SILVERMAN   MICHIGAN IN THE PROS Tom Brady And New England Headed To Another Super Bowl Tom Brady Playoff Records Most Postseason Touchdown Passes 1. Tom Brady, 68 2. Joe Montana, 45 3. Brett Favre, 44 Most Postseason Passing Yards 1. Tom Brady, 9,731 2. Peyton Manning, 7,339 3. Brett Favre, 5,855 Most Postseason Playoff Wins By A QB 1. Tom Brady, 27 2. Joe Montana, 16 T‑3. Terry Bradshaw, 14 T‑3. John Elway, 14 T‑3. Peyton Manning, 14 Most 300‑Yard Passing Playoff Games 1. Tom Brady, 13 2. Peyton Manning, 9 3. Drew Brees, 7

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