Tom Brady is pretty good at football. On Sunday in Foxborough, after Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints took a 27-23 lead with just 2:29 left in the game, the future Hall of Fame quarterback of the New England Patriots simply marched his offense down field—70 yards in eight plays—for the game-winning touchdown with just 10 seconds left on the clock. It was a thing of beauty, even if you hate everything about Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots.
Of course, as anyone who follows the NFL knows, this was hardly the first time Tom Brady has come through in the clutch. In fact, it was the 27th time he has led the Pats on a 4th quarter game-winning drive, and the 19th time he’s conducted a game-winning or game-tying drive with three minutes or less in the 4th quarter.
Seriously. Just think about that for a second.
Anyway, today, in honor of Tom Brady’s latest miracle, we’re going to count down the best 4th quarter comebacks of his legendary career. So let’s not waste any more time and get on with the show.
I couldn't quite bring myself to insult Raiders fans by calling what happened to their team during the famous "Snow Bowl" in 2002 a "comeback." So instead, it just gets an "honorable mention."
Yes, the Patrtios trailed 13-3 entering the 4th quarter in a heavy snowstorm, and yes, Brady led the Pats downfield twice in the final 10 minutes to tie the game. But, if you'll recall, he was also aided by the stupid "tuck rule," which stated very clearly that, if a QB lost the ball while doing a pump fake, it would be classified as an incomplete pass—even if the ball was lost while he was bringing the ball back toward his torso.
That cold night in Foxboro, Charles Woodson sacked Brady with less than two minutes left in the game while he was bringing the ball back toward his chest after doing a pump fake. The ball came loose and was recovered by the Raiders, but the referees correctly interpreted this stupid, stupid rule. Thus, the Pats retained possession and were able to kick the game-tying field goal with 0:32 left on the clock.
Then they won in overtime on another great Brady drive. So it was kind of a clutch comeback.
Sorry for bringing it up, Raiders fans.
Honorable Mention: Patriots 16, Raiders 13 (2002 AFC Divisional Playoff)
This 4th quarter comeback wasn't capped with less than three minutes remaining in the game, but it did come against Peyton Manning and the Colts. After Manning had put the Colts up 20-10 with a touchdown pass with just 9:50 left in the game, Brady answered with a TD pass of his own the very next possession, cutting the lead to 20-17 with just over eight minutes remaining. Then, after the Colts ate up another four minutes on the clock, Brady got the ball back with 3:58 to go and needed just three plays and 37 seconds to move the ball 53 yards for the game-winning touchdown to Kevin Faulk.
9. Patriots 24, Colts 20 (November 4, 2007)
The Patriots trailed the Broncos by one point when they got the ball on their own one-yard line with 3:06 left in the 4th quarter. However, they were able to move the ball just two yards, up to their own three-yard line, and on the ensuing punt attempt, kicker Ken Walter fumbled. The Broncos then scored a safety to make it 26-23, so it seemed like the Pats were done. However, Denver wasn't able to run off much of the clock on their next possession, and Brady got the ball back with 2:15 left—this time on his own 42-yard line. From there he threw passes of five, 19, 16, and 18 yards, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 0:36 left on the clock.
8. Patriots 30, Broncos 26 (November 3, 2003)
The 2006 season almost got off to a pretty terrible start for the Pats, as they very nearly lost to the Buffalo Bills in week one. How close did they come? Well, the Bills led 24-13 with just 5:38 left in the game.
Of course, the Bills did not beat the Pats that day. Brady led 4th quarter drives that culminated in touchdowns with 2:10 and 0:55 left on the clock, and New England came out on top 25-24. (Math not adding up? Well I'm not that crazy. The Pats attempted two-point conversions after each touchdown and missed both times.)
7. Patriots 25, Bills 24 (September 14, 2009)
In 2001, in just his third start since taking over for the injured Drew Bledsoe (permanently, as it would turn out), Tom Brady notched his second win and his first even on a 4th quarter comeback. The Pats trailed 26-16 with 8:57 to go, but a FG with 3:35 made it 26-19. Then Brady led the Pats on a drive from their own 40 with 2:10 left, culminating in a game-tying TD pass with 40 seconds to go. And of course, he followed that by getting the Pats from their own 23 to the San Diego 26 to set up the game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri.
6. Patriots 29, Chargers 26 (October 14, 2001)
This game featured one hell of a 4th quarter. It started with the Patriots trailing Big Ben and the Steelrs 13-10, but they an 86-yard drive culminated in a touchdown with 10:46 left in the game, which gave them a 17-13 lead. After that they added a field goal with 3:23 left to extend the lead to 20-13. However, on their next possession, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers from their own 49 into the end zone with a minute and a half remaining. So, overtime, right? Wrong. Brady took the ball at his own 38 with 1:14 left, got the Pats to the Pittsburgh 25, and Vinatieri kicked a game-winning 43-yard field goal.
5. Patriots 23, Steelers 20 (September 25, 2005)
At number four we have our first playoff comeback from Tom Brady. The scene? The 2007 AFC Divisional Playoff Game between the 14-2 Chargers and the 12-4 Patriots. The climb facing New England? A 21-13 deficit with just 8:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. The comeback? A touchdown pass to Reche Caldwell with 4:41 to go—followed by a two point conversion—and then a drive from the New England 15 to the San Diego 13, where Steve Gostowski kicked the go-ahead field goal with 0:14 left.
4. Patriots 24, Chargers 21 (2007 AFC Divisional Playoff Game)
The Patriots struggled in 2002, but Tom Brady proved Bill Belichick was right to ditch Drew Bledsoe midway through season with a thrilling comeback victory. Chicago was up 30-19 with just 6:27 left in the game, but Brady orchestrated touchdown drives of 67 and 56 yards take the lead with just 0:28 left on the clock. It was pretty clutch, and a sign of more great things to come...
3. Patriots 33, Bears 30 (November 10, 2002)
Of course, Brady's first monumentally clutch performance came in Super Bowl XXXVI. The Rams had trailed 17-3 heading into the 4th quarter, but Kurt Warner rallied the Greatest Show on Turf to 17-17 tie with two touchdown passes—the second with just 1:37 left on the clock.
How did the rookie Brady respond? He just led the Pats down field from their own 17-yard line to the Rams 30, and Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yarder to win the Vince Lombardi trophy.
So, yeah, he responded pretty well
2. Patriots 20, Rams 17 (Super Bowl XXXVI)
As clutch as Brady was in Super Bowl XXXVI, that was nothing compared to Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Panthers, which featured the most exciting 4th quarter in Super Bowl history.
The Pats were up 14-10 heading int and took 21-10 lead with 14:53 left to play. However, the Panthers answered with a TD of their own with 12:48 left, making it 21-17. Then they scored another TD with 7:06 left, taking the lead 24-21. Then Brady and the Pats made 28-24. Then Jake Delhomme and the Panthers make it 31-28 with 1:13 left.
Game over? Nope. Brady got the ball one last time with 1:08 on the clock, and he did it again: he led the Patriots from their own 40 to the Carolina 23, and Vinatieri kicked another Super Bowl-winning field goal with nine seconds to go.
1. Patriots 32, Panthers 29 (Super Bowl XXXVIII)
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