If you place added value on the biggest postseason game in the NFL, then Tom Brady’s performance in Super Bowl LI is arguably one of the greatest games of his life. Down 28-3 in the third quarter, Brady surgically led five scoring drives through the fourth quarter and overtime to give the Patriots a stunning 34-28 win, capping the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
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Brady finished with 466 yards passing and two touchdowns, hitting on passes to seven different receivers. When the final play—a toss to running back James White that ended with a touchdown—was complete, Brady had added a fifth championship ring to his collection in what will probably go down as the greatest Super Bowl ever. Except Brady wasn’t quite so bullish on his performance.
“I don’t really think that is necessarily the case,” Brady told MMQB on whether Super Bowl LI was the best game of his career. “I think it was one of the greatest games I have ever played in, but when I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half plus overtime as one of the ‘best games ever.’ But it was certainly one of the most thrilling for me, just because so much was on the line, and it ended up being an incredible game.”
That’s a fair assessment. Brady’s pick-6 was a rough one, as the usually heady quarterback appeared not to see Falcons safety Robert Alford lurking behind his targeted receiver. Once Brady threw the ball, Alford was easily able to jump the route. The Patriots quarterback also displayed unusual inaccuracy in the first half, especially on some of the shorter crossing routes, which are the bread and butter of New England’s offense. Still, Brady was transcendent in the second half, and whether he personally subscribes to it or not, Super LI will do down as his masterpiece.