Can Tom Brady overcome playoff missteps to beat Tim Tebow?
Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos didn't stop Tom Brady last month. But the Patriots' quarterback has a history of recent playoff losses to overcome.
Tom Brady is on his usual late-season roll. He'd just like to stop his recent playoff slide.Skip to next paragraph
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The New England Patriots quarterback with tunnel vision, focusing on the next practice and the next game, is on an eight-game winning streak. That may be a better sign of how his next one will go than his three-game postseason losing streak.
Preparing for the upcoming game is all Brady cares about.
"I haven't thought about anything about last year or last week," he said before practice this week. "I'm trying to think about today."
Before last week's bye, the Patriots (13-3) scored 49 straight points and beat the Buffalo Bills 49-21. During the winning streak, Brady has thrown for 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions. An acknowledged plodder, he's even run for three touchdowns in his last three games.
In the last four regular-season games over his 10 seasons as a starter, he is 34-6.
Brady's success has made an impression on Tebow.
He can learn, Tebow said, from "being able to watch a quarterback like that — how he handles himself, the emotion that he plays with but at the same time the calmness that he plays with, the accuracy, the leadership, the way he motivates his players, the way he gets in and out of great plays, the way he's able to handle any situation."
Except, lately, the playoffs.
Brady won his first 10 postseason games and three Super Bowls. He was 14-2 before having a drastic reversal with three consecutive losses — 17-14 to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl of the 2007 season, 33-14 to the Baltimore Ravens two years ago and 28-21 to the New York Jets last year. Those last two were at home.
How long did it take for him to get over the loss to the Jets?
"I don't know," Brady said. "I don't remember."
Other Patriots haven't forgotten the post-season slide.
"It sits in all of our minds for the guys that have been here and been a part of that," tackle Matt Light said. "You work that much, you put that much time into a season, you have success to a degree during the regular season and then you go out and you can't get it done in the postseason. That's a difficult thing to swallow."
The Broncos (9-8) want to make that even tougher.
They lost their last three regular-season games but still made the playoffs as champions of the weak AFC West.
Then they beat Pittsburgh 29-23 on an 80-yard pass play from Tebow to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime last Sunday. But Steelers quarterback Ben Roethsliberger was limited by a bad ankle and running back Rashard Mendenhall was sidelined with a knee injury.