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The 12 Best Games of Tom Brady's Patriots Career

Oddly enough, this may still be a bit of a secret, but former Montreal Expos catching prospect Tom Brady is set to be inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame today in front of a crowd that'll likely exceed 55,000 plus in Foxborough. This may also shock many, but he has a gigantic catalog of all-time great performances with the Patriots across 20 years. With that in mind, I took the liberty of going down memory lane to pick out his 12 best ahead of his induction ceremony, and believe me; there were some tough cuts here.

12 Honorable Mentions: Super Bowls LII and XXXIX, vs. Miami Week 3 2003, vs. Denver Week 7 2003, vs. Buffalo Week 11 2007, vs. New York Giants Week 17 2007, vs. Buffalo Week 1 2009, vs. Tennessee Week 9 2009, 2011 AFC Divisional Round vs. Denver, vs, New Orleans Week 6 2013, vs. Cincinnati Week 5 2014, vs. Chicago Week 8 2014

No. 12) Super Bowl XXXVI

Statline: 16/27, 145 Yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, Passer Rating of 86.2

Kicking off this list was one of the most important games not just in Patriots history but also in Boston Sports history, given the lack of Championship hardware after the 1986 Celtics up until this point, followed by the avalanche that followed for the next two decades. You saw the lack of experience from Brady here in spots, namely a bad miss on what would've been a walk-in TD for David Patten on the second half's opening drive, but the real magic came on the last drive of each half—one of many Brady outings that there isn't much else to say about.

No. 11) vs. Pittsburgh, Week 13 2007 (The Anthony Smith Guarantee Game)

Statline: 32/46, 399 Yards, 4 TD, 0 INTs, Passer Rating of 125.2

Then second-year Pittsburgh Steeler Anthony Smith, some days before this game, boldly proclaimed that he and his team would roll into Foxborough and defeat the then 12-0 New England Patriots. Spoiler: that aged as badly as you'd expect. Not only did Brady verbally go after him, but he made it a point to repeatedly go after him in coverage, most notably Smith giving up a 60-plus-yard strike to Randy Moss and then a 50-plus-yard double pass to Jabar Gaffney. Even Bill Belichick piled on, making the very rare public comments about how the Patriots had played much better safties than Smith. Overall, this was one of Brady's best outings against his softest punching bag in the AFC.

No. 10) AFC Divisional Round vs. Oakland (Snow Bowl/Tuck Rule Game)

Statline: 32/52, 312 Yards, 0 TDs (1 Rushing), 1 INT, Passer Rating of 70.4

Brady's first-ever postseason bout would go down as one of the most important games in league history, which was also the final game ever played in Foxborough/Sullivan Stadium. The 312 yards he threw for pop out immediately, the first and only time in '01 that the Raiders gave up that many. For Brady to sling it 52 times in those conditions was a wildly impressive way to make his playoff debut. Was it a fumble? Probably, but if you want to go there, call it an IOU from 1976. Lots of timely clutch plays by Brady in this one either way.

No. 9) vs. Cleveland, Week 5 2016 (Beginning of the Revenge Tour)

Statline: 28/40, 406 Yards, 3 TD, 0 INTs, Passer Rating of 127.7

There's being in the wrong place at the wrong time; then there's the 1-15 Browns having to be the first team to play the Patriots with Brady off the Deflategate suspension. He rarely made a wrong move, had unreal zip on the ball, and just played like a guy who'd you never guess, missed the first month of the year with how quickly he got into a rhythm. This was the perfect tone-setter for the rest of that season, given that only the Seahawks beat them the rest of the way.

No. 8) vs. Miami, Week 7 2007 (Yeah, That Game)

Statline: 21/25, 354 Yards, 6 TDs, 0 INTs, Perfect Passer Rating

I don't have to say anything here; enjoy the ride down memory lane.

No. 7) vs. Denver, Week 12 2013 (24-0)

Statline: 34/50, 344 Yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, Passer Rating of 107.4

Before there was a 28-3, there was 24-0 one faithful evening, a windy one that I vividly remember. Looking back at this tilt, the wild thing was that Peyton Manning, that season's MVP with an all-time great campaign, was notably outplayed by Brady in this one. Despite this, the Patriots fumbled on their opening three drives before turning it over on downs or punting on the ensuing four drives.

17 free points for Denver, plus an 11-play drive for seven later for Denver, and it was 24-0 at the half with the Patriots set to go into the wind in the third quarter. Then the magic happened. Brady sliced and diced up Jack Del Rio's unit to the tune of 28 unanswered points, 21 of which were with the 20 mph winds at the Patriots' back. A botched punt return by Denver in the final minutes of OT ultimately sealed things, but Brady was the biggest reason they even got back into this one.

No. 6) Super Bowl XXXVIII

Statline: 32/48, 354 Yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, Passer Rating of 100.5 (Super Bowl MVP)

Really one of the tragically forgotten all-time instant classic NFL games; this was when Brady truly ascended from a guy you won with into a guy you won because of. All 61 points in this one were scored in the second and fourth quarters, 42 coming in the final five minutes of each.

Brady never had the chunk play scores like Jake Delahome and the Panthers did in this one, but he made big throw after big throw after big throw. Sadly, what to this day might be the best defense in team history gave up a ton of timely bad plays, notably an 85-yard score to Moose Muuhammed with about seven minutes left on a busted zone coverage look, then a certain bitter cornerback whose name escapes me got obliterated to his inside to give up the tying score with about a minute left.

Rodney Harrison, who broke his arm on the final play before the two-minute warning, was "sweating bullets" in the interlude after the Panthers had tied it up, and Ty Law told him word for word, "We're not going to lose this game, because we have [Tom Brady]." Spoiler: he was right. After a botched kickoff set Brady up at the 40, he went 4/5 for 47 yards, capped off by a gigantic 17-yard 3rd & 3 conversion to Deion Branch, turning what would've been a 58-yard attempt for Adam Vinatieri, who had missed twice before this night, into a 41 yarder. Say what you want about Vinny being the guy who sealed it; this was a big boy throw by Brady to give him a shot. Also, Deion Branch forever.

No. 5) 2014 AFC Championship Game vs. Kansas City (Brady vs. Mahomes II)

Statline: 30/46, 348 Yards, 1 TDs, 2 INTs, Passer Rating of 77.1

Brady's final-ever road playoff game as a New England Patriot was one for the books. Patrick Mahomes had made himself a made man in Kansas City a few months before this game even kicked off and was just weeks away from winning his first MVP trophy. Unfortunately for some (not me, which is what really matters), his first Super Bowl birth would have to wait another year.

Sony Michael deserves a ton of credit for this win, but this was one of those cases when this game truly started (once the Chiefs got their first lead of the game), Brady went unconscious and went blow for blow with Mahomes once he got his feet wet after what was the worst first half of his career to that point. Between the fourth quarter and overtime, Brady went a perfect 5/5 on third down (all 3rd & 5 or longer) for 86 yards, famously including three straight 3rd & 10s in OT for 50 of those. An actual supervillain performance where you could see the oxygen gets sucked out of Arrowhead more and more with each conversion.

No. 4) 2014 AFC Divisional Round vs. Baltimore (The "Your Love" Game)

Statline: 33/50, 367 Yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, Passer Rating of 99.3

A game fondly remembered for the Julian Edelman to Danny Amendola touchdown and the now infamous Gillette Stadium sing-a-long to "Your Love" by The Outfield was another instant classic playoff performance from Brady. Overcoming two separate 14-point deficits to outlast a Ravens core that had given the Patriots fits for the better part of the last five years by this point.

The pick Brady threw here was a bit of a backbreaker, coming inside of two minutes to go to set up the Ravens with a seven-point halftime lead. Still, outside of that, he took a ton of punishment in this game and made a ton of big-time throws, including what I believe to be the single-best throw of his entire career; this bucket shot down the boundary to Brandon LaFell to take the lead and win. He could not have placed this any better with the safety shading inside; it was simply an unreal toss.

No. 3) 2004 AFC Championship Game vs. Pittsburgh (Fever Game)

Statline: 14/21, 207 Yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, Passer Rating of 130.5

Of the dozen or so times the Patriots curb-stomped the Steelers in the Brady era, this one was comfortably the most satisfying and the best, by all accounts. A rookie Big Ben snapped the Patriots' then-21-game win streak (regular and postseason), a record that still stands today, in a blowout victory on Halloween. However, in true Steeler fashion, they didn't show up when things actually mattered.

This performance was all the greater for Brady because he was battling a fever in the ballpark of 103 degrees that week and into this game. After two turnovers on the Steelers' first two drives, Brady made one of his own, precisely one play after a fourth-down fumble by Jerome Bettis. That being this laser beam to Deion Branch off of play action, making Troy Polamalu look silly.

Brady only hit 14 completions, but most of those were some genuine backbreakers on a night he was nowhere near 100 percent physically with his illness. Tons of good regular seasons made Brady's road postseason starts a rarity, but this was by far his most notable up until 2018, and even then, I'd rate this one higher.

No. 2) Super Bowl LI

Statline: 43/62, 466 Yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, Passer Rating of 95.2 (Super Bowl MVP)

Not so much at the moment, but watching it back, this is one of the 10 funniest things to ever happen on a nationally televised broadcast in the history of this country. Larry David couldn't have scripted a funnier Curb episode on his best day. I remember clear as day thinking this one was lights out after the Robert Alford pick-six, but against my better judgment, I stuck through. That was the right call because the second the Dont'a Hightower strip sack happened, you could've simulated to the end and got the same result.

In a performance that showed just how out of their element the Falcons were when things got into the deep end, Brady got whatever he wanted in the fourth quarter. The only reason they didn't end things in regulation was an out-of-this-world game by Falcons' IDL Grady Jarrett. What else can you say about 28-3 that hasn't been said already? Comical in every sense of the word. An all-time Matt Ryan to Julio Jones pitch and catch was instantly lost to the sands of time; the entire country knew this game was for sure over the second the Patriots won the overtime coin toss, and you could watch the life get sucked out of the Falcons' defense with each passing play. Categorically, it is hilarious, no matter how you slice it.

The 282 yards Brady put up in the second half and OT was one of the best second half performances of his career, however, it wasn't the best. That would be reserved for the final entry on this list.

No. 1) Super Bowl XLIX

Statline: 37/50, 328 Yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, Passer Rating of 101.1 (Super Bowl MVP)

It's obvious to say this given the placement, but if you could point to one game and one game only to explain why Brady is the best QB ever, I'm going here 100 times out of 100 with zero hesitation. This was the single best collection of defensive talent Brady ever had to face (prime Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, plus Bruce Irvin and K.J. Wright), on the biggest possible stage, trying to prevent said defense from reaching the top of the mountain for the second straight year, and he walked them down the field like the terminator, not once, but twice in the fourth quarter.

On those two drives, Brady was the most surgical as he'd ever been in his career, going 12/14 for 120 yards and two scores, converting a pair of third and longs to Julian Edelman on the drive to cut it to three, then never even needed third down on the game-winning drive. Full stop. This is the definitive Tom Brady game, and that's been the case since this game ended.

Seeing MVP Aaron Rodgers not seal the deal on this team two weeks prior despite getting five free possessions off of turnovers (six total points on those drives), and then roughly the same group run the all-time great '13 Broncos offense and MVP Peyton Manning out of the gym in Super Bowl XLVIII, then get beat like a drum by Brady and co. was when I knew he had surpassed Joe Montana. It was a Hallmark performance in what's probably the greatest game played in league history.

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