Never Count Out Tom Brady and the Patriots
He did it again. After being held to just 10 points through three quarters of the AFC Championship Game, it was looking like the Jaguars were about to pull off the improbable upset over the Patriots. Turns out Tom Brady had other plans, and not even a broken hand or some stitches could slow him down. Down by 10 in the 4th quarter, it was time for Brady to get the comeback started.
But they weren’t done just yet. Brady looked to Amendola over and over again, and Amendola came up huge when it mattered most.
Since coming to New England, Amendola has taken a supporting role to Edelman and Gronkowski, but with Edelman out for the season, Amendola stepped up to help fill that gap. While he had a productive regular season with 61 catches for 659 yards and 2 touchdowns, his play this postseason has been the real difference for the Patriots.
In just two playoff games, Amendola has as many touchdowns as he had in 16 games all season, while he’s at nearly 1/3 of his total yards for the season. At times he’s been the forgotten receiver in New England, getting stuck behind guys like Edelman and Gronkowski as I mentioned, but also behind more recent additions Chris Hogan and Brandin Cooks. This playoff run is showing that Amendola still has more left to give, and maybe this time around he won’t have to take another pay cut to stay with the team next season.
With the win, the Patriots are off to their second consecutive Super Bowl and their 3rd in 4 years. It’s looking like this is the last year for the current coaching staff working together, as Matt Patricia is expected to become the head coach in Detroit, while Josh McDaniels is about to get his second shot at a head coaching position, this time with the Colts.
The NFC Championship was looking like it would be another close game, as the Eagles and Vikings had some of the top defenses in the NFL this season. When Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL, nobody gave the Eagles much of a chance. They had a playoff spot locked up, but with Nick Foles behind center it seemed like they weren’t going to be giving anybody a hard time in the playoffs.
The Vikings scored the first touchdown of the game, but the wheels fell off almost immediately after. Case Keenum wasn’t make the same plays he made a week earlier against the Saints, completing just 28/48 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown along with two interceptions. Meanwhile, Nick Foles was on another planet.
The Eagles rolled on to an easy 38-7 win, ending the Vikings dream of playing in a Super Bowl at home.
The win sets up a Super Bowl 39 rematch, but things are much different now than they were 13 years ago. The only members still involved from either side of that last meeting are Brady and Belichick. Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison and Asante Samuel were some of the big names on the Patriots defense, while Deion Branch, Troy Brown and Corey Dillon were gamechangers on offense. On the other hand, the Eagles were led by Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and head coach Andy Reid.
For Brady and Belichick, this Super Bowl is a chance to further solidify their spot as the best head coach and quarterback duo of all time, and for Brady to pull even further ahead of the rest of the back in the conversation of “Greatest of All Time.”