Tom Brady‘s retirement sent shockwaves throughout the world. Even the casual fan who only watches the Super Bowl understands his significance to the NFL. Seven rings. 15 pro bowl selections. 624 touchdowns. 84,520 yards. That’s 8,984 yards more than all Houston Texans quarterbacks combined. The Texans have played 321 games all-time while Brady has played 318. Simply outstanding. In this article, 318 games are shrunk to just 12 as we relive some of Tom Brady’s most memorable games in his career.
Tom Brady’s 12 Most Memorable Games
Patriots @ Bills, Week 11, 2007
Brady’s most memorable games start in 2007. Building off of their nine-game win streak, the Pats traveled to play the Buffalo Bills who were without starting quarterback Trent Edwards. His absence was evident as backup J.P. Losman threw an interception within the first four plays.
His play didn’t improve as the game went on. That sparked the Patriots to score touchdowns on seven of their eight offensive possessions. Brady threw for 373 yards along with five touchdowns, four to four-time all-pro receiver Randy Moss. The conversations of this team being one of the best teams of all time began to get louder.
Titans @ Patriots, Week 6, 2009
Brady was playing in just his sixth game back from suffering a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee after taking a nasty hit from Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard. Leading up to the game, there was concern about how comfortable Brady was from a physical standpoint. The Patriots had only won one game by more than one possession. They didn’t look like the dominant dynasty that has instilled fear in the entire NFL.
That would change as Brady dominated in blizzard conditions at Gillette Stadium. Brady threw for six touchdowns, four of which came on throws of 25 yards or more. He only had five incompletions the entire game. It was a game that was over before halftime and shook off any rust Brady may have had. It would eventually set up an MVP campaign the following year.
Patriots @ Lions, Week 11, 2010
Fast-forward to that following year, Brady and the Pats traveled to Detroit to take on the Lions on Thanksgiving. In honor of the holiday, he feasted on the Lions, although it didn’t start that way. The Patriots fell into a 14-3 hole early. With Moss out of the picture after being traded just a month prior, it became clear someone had to step up. Brady looked to Deion Branch and Wes Welker, who combined for 203 yards and four touchdowns, and helped engineer a 35-7 run in the second half which was enough for the win.
Patriots @ Dolphins, Week 1, 2011
The Patriots were eager to seek retribution after being upset by Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets in the divisional round in 2010. They began the season traveling to Miami where Chad Henne and the Dolphins methodically marched down the field to start the game. The Patriots, however, moved at a much faster pace.
Brady connected on a deep post that went for 46 yards to Matthew Slater that put them in the red zone quickly. BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished the drive with a rushing touchdown. On the next drive, the Patriots’ offense went 65 yards in less than three minutes. Then both teams went seven straight drives without scoring.
The Patriots started with the ball in the second half. Then, they lost it within the first two minutes as Brady threw his first interception since October of 2010. Brady took it personally. He went on to throw two straight touchdowns and got his offense within field goal range to get ahead 31-17. The Dolphins got the ball back and attempted to go for it on fourth down and it didn’t pay off.
The Patriots would have 99 yards to go and the expectation was to get multiple first downs and bleed the clock down to zero. Instead, Brady found Welker beat the safety over the top and went all the way for six. It would go on to be Brady’s longest touchdown pass. He’d also finish with the most passing yards (514) in his career. Not the prettiest win, but statistically one of Brady’s best games.
Saints @ Patriots, Week 6, 2013
Yes, the Patriots did blow a ten-point lead that they built at the end of the first half. However, leading a touchdown drive for the win with only one minute and eight seconds left and no timeouts is the stuff of legends.
“He did it! Brady’s back! That’s your quarterback” said Scott Zolak who called the game and had Patriots fans ready to run through a wall after a beautiful pass to the back of the endzone to receiver Kenbrell Thompkins.
Bengals @ Patriots, Week 5, 2014
Who could forget? The infamous “On to Cincinnati” game. Simply put, it was quite spectacular to hear the doubters be silenced once again by Tom Terrific. They rebounded from a 41-14 defeat just a week earlier that put Brady’s starting job in “jeopardy”. He heard the noise and threw for 292 yards with a pair of passing touchdowns to win 43-17.
Ravens @ Patriots, AFC Divisional Game, 2015
The Patriots quickly fell in a 14 point hole in the first quarter. No problem. They came back and tied the game thanks to a Brady rushing touchdown and Danny Amendola shaking off defenders and leaping into the endzone. However, the Ravens controlled the “middle 8” by scoring touchdowns to end the half and start the second half. This game was going to require a double comeback.
The Patriots moved the ball with urgency and found the endzone as Brady spotted 6’6 Rob Gronkowski one on one against 6’1″ Will Hill. Minutes later, a flea-flicker works to perfection as Julian Edelman throws to Amendola to tie the game once again. The Ravens attempted to take as much time off of the clock as possible in the fourth quarter. A sixteen-play, 73-yard drive that only resulted in a field goal gave Brady five minutes and thirteen to win. They did it with nine seconds to spare.
Colts @ Patriots, AFC Championship, 2015
Now that Deflategate has been rumored to be debunked, it is time to appreciate how great the Patriots played in this game. Running back LeGarrette Blount‘s three-touchdown game helped set up the pass and play-action game. Brady was deadly once again in brutal weather conditions throwing for 226 yards and three touchdowns and went on to win the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks.
Patriots Vs. Falcons, Super Bowl LI
“Tom Brady’s just about done. It could be his next game, it could be a year from now, but he’s going to fall off of a cliff”. said sports analyst Max Kellerman a quarter-way through the 2016 NFL season. He then proceeded to lead his team to a super bowl that season. During the game, however, the “cliff-theory” didn’t appear so absurd. The Patriots were down 28-3 with two minutes to go in the third quarter. The Patriots looked mortal. Might as well bring in Jimmy G to give him experience for next season.
Once again, it was time to silence the critics. While the Falcons played a more conservative approach in the fourth quarter, Brady took advantage and scored on the final five offensive possessions to overcome the impossible. His legacy was now cemented. This was easily Brady’s most memorable game in his career.
Texans @ Patriots, Week 3, 2017
After falling to the Chiefs in the season opener, fans were concerned about a potential Super Bowl hangover. Not so fast. Brady embarrassed the Saints the week after, throwing for 447 yards and three touchdowns. He followed up with the performance by throwing for five touchdowns against the Texans, one of which came from yet another successful two-minute drill. A beautiful throw and catch to Brandin Cooks was very reminiscent of the Santonio Holmes catch in Super Bowl XLIII. Brady was not done yet.
Jaguars @ Patriots, AFC Championship Game, 2017
A botched handoff during practice left Brady with a brutal injury to his throwing hand. It was described as “bent back so far and violently that the base of the thumb ripped through the skin of his palm”. The media was in a frenzy. There is no way he is 100 percent, right? The slow start by the Patriots helped shape that narrative. They fell into a 14-3 hole, but Brady effectively ran the two-minute drill to near perfection and brought the game within four heading to halftime. New England fans were relieved for the moment.
The Patriots allowed two field goals and couldn’t capitalize on the momentum they had at the end of the 1st half. Now the Pats were down ten and without the football after a fumble by running back Dion Lewis with only thirteen and a half minutes remaining. This is where most panic. Brady, however, remained calm and poised in the pocket, distributing the ball to Cooks, Phillip Dorsett, James White, and unlikely hero, Amendola. Two drives that led to two touchdowns were enough to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl.
Buccaneers @ Jets, Week 17, 2022
A game in which Antonio Brown quit the team midway through the game and ESPN gave the Bucs a .1 percent chance to win with 39 seconds remaining in the fourth, Brady did it again. The Bucs went nine plays, 93 yards with slim pickings at the receiver position. It proved that he still had some left in the tank and arguably should have won MVP over Aaron Rodgers.
Broncos @ Patriots, Week 12, 2013 (24 point comeback)
Patriots @ Dolphins, Week 7, 2007 (six touchdown game)
Chiefs @ Buccaneers, Super Bowl LV (Seventh ring)
As we enter the next generation of quarterbacks, don’t forget the ones who started it all. There were plenty of memories along the way and with Brady leaving the door open to returning, who knows? More memorable games could be on the way.