Though Tom Brady left the Patriots he’ll always belong to New England.
After 20 seasons, six Super Bowl titles and countless other accomplishments for the Patriots, Brady goes down as the region’s biggest football star. No contest.
While Brady never got to win one of his Super Bowl titles on his home field in New England, with those games played at neutral site, Brady still authored some iconic moments at the Patriots’ home stadium.
The Patriots played at old Foxboro Stadium in Brady’s first two seasons in the NFL before moving into the newer Gillette Stadium. Since first appearing there when it opened in 2002, Brady has made 157 starts in the regular season and playoffs there, winning 134 of them while throwing for 41,285 yards and 304 TDs. Those are all records for any QB in any stadium in NFL history.
Here’s a look at some of Brady’s most memorable games in New England:
Brady’s first playoff game was his only one at old Foxboro Stadium and one that still gets talked about. On a snowy New England night on Jan. 19, 2002, long before Brady was considered the greatest QB ever, he almost was a goat of a different kind.
With the Patriots trailing the Raiders 13-10 in the final two minutes, Brady went back to pass and had the ball knocked out by former Michigan teammate Charles Woodson. The Raiders recovered the apparent fumble and celebrated, only to have the call reversed on replay by referee Walt Coleman because of the little-known Tuck Rule that was later eliminated.
Given a second chance, Brady got the Patriots in field goal position for Adam Vinatieri to tie the game, then drove New England to the winning kick in OT to launch the first Super Bowl run.
”You just do whatever you got to do to win,” Brady said at the time.
PEYTON VS. TOM
The rivalry that defined much of Brady’s career was the one he had with Peyton Manning. Brady won 11 of the 17 meetings, including the first time they met in the playoffs.
In the AFC title game at New England on Jan. 18, 2004, Brady set the tone with an opening drive TD pass to David Givens. Brady drove the Patriots to field goals on the next two drives following interceptions by Manning and New England went on to win 24-14.
While Manning threw four interceptions, Brady made few major blunders in a pattern that was repeated often early in the rivalry. Manning lost again in New England in the playoffs the following season before winning the final three postseason meetings.
Brady had one of his most prolific playoff games at home on Jan. 14, 2012, when he and the Patriots ended Tebow Mania.
Tim Tebow had led the Broncos on an improbable run with an OT win over Pittsburgh in the wild-card round, but Denver had no answer for Brady.
Brady threw six TD passes on the first nine drives of the game, tying a playoff record held by Daryle Lamonica and Steve Young, as the Patriots won 45-10.
Brady has engineered nine fourth-quarter comebacks in the playoffs, just four of those at home. Perhaps the most memorable of those New England comebacks outside of the Tuck Rule game came on Jan. 10, 2015, against Baltimore.
The Ravens had knocked Brady out of the playoffs two of the previous five years and he hadn’t won a Super Bowl in nine straight seasons.
That streak looked like it could extend when Baltimore went up 28-14 early in the third quarter in the divisional round. But Brady threw a TD pass to Rob Gronkowski to start the comeback and capped it with a 23-yard TD to Brandon LaFell with 5:13 to play to launch the run that delivered the Patriots their fourth title.
The win over the Ravens set up an AFC title game the following week that was rather ordinary on the field. Brady threw for 226 yards and three TDs in a 45-7 win over Indianapolis on Jan. 8, 2015, that sent the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl of the Brady era.
Soon after the game, reports emerged that several of the balls the Patriots used in the first half of the game were underinflated. That set off a long league investigation followed by a lengthy legal fight that eventually led to Brady being suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for his role in the ”Deflategate” scandal.
Brady’s final home game with the Patriots was memorable for the unusual way it ended – with a Brady blunder.
The 20-13 loss to the Titans on Jan. 4, 2020, showcased how the supporting cast around Brady had deteriorated over the years and likely led to his decision to find a new home in Tampa last year.
New England could barely move the ball and was held to one TD as Brady threw for 209 yards on 37 attempts and failed to score a TD running or passing for just the second time in 24 home playoff starts.
The game ended when Brady threw a pick-six to Logan Ryan on his final pass attempt, sending him on a slow walk off the field – and eventually to Tampa Bay.
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