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Pats Madness: Voting for the Brady & Gronk Regions has started!

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Below are the matchups in the Brady Bracket. Make sure to vote on every one of them!

#1 vs #8 - Super Bowl 51 vs “We’re on to Cincinnati”

February 5, 2017 - Super Bowl 51 - We all know the story here. The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Patriots down 28-3 late in the 3rd, down 19 in the fourth. There are about 15 plays that were the play of the game. We all remember the big ones: The Dont’a Hightower strip sack, the Julian Edelman catch, the Trey Flowers sack, and converting two two-point conversions. But there were so many others: the sack/penalty combo after the failed onside kick to knock the Falcons out of field goal range in the third, the Chris Hogan third down conversion on the final drive of regulation, and basically everything James White did are just a few. The Patriots had less than a 1% chance of winning, and won anyway. I’ve watched the fourth quarter no less than 20 times, and it’s still saved on my DVR. This game is Final Four material, and, I think, is a good bet to be fighting for the championship.

October 5, 2014 vs Cincinnati - “We’re on to Cincinnati.” The Patriots had gotten blown out the week before in Kansas City. Jimmy Garoppolo had come into the game in garbage time and played well. Trent Dilfer was declaring that the Patriots weren’t good anymore. The team, it seemed, was falling apart. Until Cincy rolled into town the next Sunday night. The Patriots showed their doubters that they were for real. I can still remember Rob Gronkowski at his locker after the game talking about Tom Brady and how happy he was to have “12” back out there. The team rallied around Brady, and each other and became the team we expected to see at the beginning of the season. The Belichick quote and the way the game turned the team around make this game deserving of a spot here.

Poll

1 vs 8 - Super Bowl 51 vs "We’re on to Cincinnati"

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Super Bowl 51
    (677 votes)
  • 4%
    14 vs Cincy
    (30 votes)
707 votes total Vote Now

#4 vs #5 - 2001 vs San Diego vs 2003 at Indianapolis

October 14, 2001 vs San Diego - Tom Brady’s first come from behind victory, only one week after throwing 4 picks in Miami. The Patriots were down 10 after San Diego picked up a Ken Walter fumble and scored with just under 9 minutes left. Brady then led a 15 play drive that stalled at the 5, which led to an Adam Vinatieri field goal. The Chargers went 3 and out, and Brady got the ball back with 2:10 left. He capped the TD drive with a 3 yard pass to Wiggy. In OT, the Chargers again went 3 and out, and Brady led the Patriots down for another Vinatieri game winning FG.

November 30, 2003 at Indianapolis - The final score of this one was 38-34 Pats, but, it was all about the defense in the fourth quarter. With the Patriots up seven late in the game, Kevin Faulk fumbled at the 10. The defense forced three straight incompletions from Peyton Manning, and the Colts had to settle for a field goal. The Patriots got the ball back with just over three minutes left, and promptly went three-and-out (they got a first down on the first play thanks to a defensive hold, but whatever). The Colts got the ball back, and quickly had first and goal from the two. What followed was one of the best goal line stands in Patriots history. An incompletion from Manning a three stuffs of Edgerrin James — the last one made by Willie McGinest, who then took off running down the field with his helmet off. The game helped assure that the AFC Championship Game would be played in Foxboro that year, and we remember how that one ended.

Poll

4 vs 5 - 2001 vs SD VS 2003 @ Indy

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    01 vs SD
    (81 votes)
  • 87%
    03 @ Indy
    (563 votes)
644 votes total Vote Now

#3 vs #6 - 2006 Divisional Round at San Diego vs 2013 vs Denver

January 14, 2007 at San Diego - The Patriots went into San Diego as huge underdogs, with the national media — and the Chargers — assuming the Patriots could never win. They almost didn’t. This game has one of the wildest finishes of any Patriots playoff game. With the Patriots trailing by eight late in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady was picked off by Marlon McCree, but, instead of going down, he started running. Troy Brown came from behind and stripped the ball, and it was recovered by Reche Caldwell. The best part: it was fourth down for the Pats. Just knock it down and the Chargers probably win. But McCree didn’t, and the Pats capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to Caldwell. Kevin Faulk ran in the two-point conversion, and the game was tied. The Chargers went three-and-out, and Brady led the Pats down the field, with Stephen Gostkowski hitting a 31-yard field . goal to take the lead. The Chargers got back into range, but Nate Kaeding missed from 54 to end the game. The Patriots were doing Shawn Merriman’s “Lights Out” dance on the field, and LaDanian Tomlinson was crying on the sideline, and at the podium, talking about how he lost all respect for the Patriots. But it didn’t matter, the Patriots had completed an improbable playoff upset.

November 24, 2013 vs Denver - Another wild comeback. The Patriots trailed 24-0 at the half, and scored 31 unanswered points. The Broncos then scored a touchdown with three minutes left to tie it back up. In overtime, both teams had multiple drives and were unable to do anything with the ball. After the second series by the Patriots, old friend Wes Welker forgot to call “fire” and the punt hit one of his blockers. The Patriots recovered the ball, and Stephen Gostkowski kicked the game winner two plays later.

Poll

3 vs 6 - 06 @ SD VS 13 vs Den

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    03 @ SD
    (325 votes)
  • 49%
    13 vs Den
    (314 votes)
639 votes total Vote Now

#2 vs #7 - 2014 Divisional Round vs Baltimore vs 2017 at Pittsburgh

January 10, 2015 vs Baltimore - Down 14 twice in this game, the Patriots were losing the whole way. Danny Amendola caught the game-tying touchdown on a 51-yard pass from Julian Edelman on a now legendary trick play. The Ravens took the lead again on a Justin Tucker field goal, only for Brady to throw an absolute dime to Brandon LaFell for a 23-yard score to take the lead back with just over five minutes left in the game — the first time they led all game. That pass doesn’t get talked about enough, but LaFell was blanketed, and there was a safety coming over the top, it was a gorgeous throw. The Ravens then started to drive down the field, but Joe Flacco was picked by the king of the fourth quarter, Duron Harmon, and the Patriots were moving on to another AFC Championship Game.

December 17, 2017 at Pittsburgh - One of the most memorable games from last season. The Patriots were down eight late in the fourth period, drove and kicked a field to cut the deficit to five, and then forced the Steelers to go three-and-out. Brady then drove them down the field, hitting Gronkowski three times for 69 yards, and capping the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run by Dion Lewis and a two-point pass to Gronk. The Steelers got the ball back with 52 seconds left, and on the first play Jordan Richards fell down while JuJu Smith-Schuster went 69 yards to set the Steelers up in field goal range. The next play may have been the most controversial of the season, when Jesse James reached for the end zone before securing the ball. The ball hit the ground, and so, after calling a touchdown on the field, the officials overturned the score. Two plays later, Ben Roethlisberger’s pass was deflected and picked off in the end zone by Duron Harmon. The win gave the Patriots home field advantage in the playoffs, something they used to their advantage to make their second straight Super Bowl.

Poll

2 vs 7 - 2014 vs Bal VS 2017 @ Pitt

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    14 vs Bal
    (575 votes)
  • 10%
    17 @ Pitt
    (64 votes)
639 votes total Vote Now

Below are the matchups in the first round of the Gronk Region.

#1 vs #8 - Super Bowl 49 vs 59-0

February 1, 2015 - Super Bowl 49 - At the time, it was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, and it’s almost never talked about when discussing this game. The Patriots trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter against what many considered to be the best defense in NFL history. All the Patriots did was march down the field on consecutive possessions and score two touchdowns to take a 28-24 lead. All TomBrady did was go 14-for-16 for 130 yards and two scoring passes. They also converted a 3rd and 14 and a 3rd and 8, both on the first drive, still trailing by 10. But throw all that out the window. The Seahawks had the ball in a first-and-goal situation at the Patriots’ 5-yard line with just about a minute left in the game. They had started the drive with all three timeouts and the two-minute warning, but somehow only had only one timeout left (they had used the other two when the clock was already stopped). After Hightower made maybe the most impressive tackle I’ve ever seen, Malcolm Butler picked off Russell Wilson at the goal line. Maybe it’s the worst play call in NFL history, and maybe it isn’t. But the Patriots were prepared, and Butler made, in my opinion, the greatest play in NFL history. Brady and the Patriots had finally won another title, 10 years after winning their last one.

October 18, 2009 vs Tennessee (59-0) - Tom Brady threw five touchdowns in the second quarter alone. Overall, he threw for six. Kerry Collins and Vince Young combined to go 2-14 for -7 yards passing in the game. That’s right, the Titans, who had almost 200 yards rushing in a game in which they were being blown out, attempted just 14 passes. They also turned the ball over five times. It was perhaps the most embarrassing display by a team I’ve ever witnessed. Plus it was snowing like crazy in mid October and the Patriots were wearing their throwback red uniforms. It was a great game, with records that should stand for quite a while.

Poll

1 vs 8 - Super Bowl 49 vs 2009 vs Titans(59-0)

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    Super Bowl 49
    (621 votes)
  • 2%
    09 vs Titans(59-0)
    (17 votes)
638 votes total Vote Now

#4 vs #5 - 2013 vs New Orleans vs 2003 AFCCG vs Indianapolis

October 13, 2013 vs New Orleans - Not sure if you know this, but this game happened on the same day as the David Ortiz “bullpen cop” home run against the Tigers. Truly a great day for Boston sports. The Patriots game was bananas. Everyone remembers the “Unicorns! Show ponies!” touchdown pass to Kembrell Thompkins, but Bill Belichick also made one of the most baffling decisions he’s ever made in this game. Trailing by only one with almost three minutes left in the game, the Patriots faced 4th and 6 from their own 24 and decided to go for it. The pass fell incomplete, and, thankfully, the Saints went three-and-out and had to settle for a field goal. So then the Patriots drove down and scored right? Nope. Then Brady threw a pick on the first play of the next drive. Luckily, the Saints went three-and-out again. The Pats had to go 70 yards in 73 seconds with no timeouts. They did just that, scoring with 10 seconds left to win the game. Another absolute dime by Brady, and a really nice catch by Thompkins too.

January 18, 2004 vs Indianapolis - One of the most impressive defensive performances in NFL history. Here’s the drive chart for the Colts: interception, interception, fumble for saafety, fumble, touchdown, punt, interception, interception, touchdown, turnover on downs (4 and out), turnover on downs (5 and out). This was the second best offense in the NFL just crumbling in the Foxboro snow, and it was glorious. Ty Law’s three picks led the Patriots, and, I’m sure, had a hand in him getting called to Canton this year. Adam Vinatieri was also 5-for-5 on field goal attempts for the day, accounting for the majority of the Patriots’ points.

Poll

4 vs 5 - 2013 vs NO VS 2003 AFCCG vs Indy

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    13 vs NO
    (150 votes)
  • 75%
    03 AFCCG vs Indy
    (463 votes)
613 votes total Vote Now

#3 vs #6 - The Tuck Rule vs 2004 Divisional Round vs Indianapolis

January 19, 2002 vs Oakland (The Tuck Rule) - Without the Tuck Rule, there is no Patriots dynasty. I’m not saying that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick aren’t still great, but losing in the first round of the playoffs changes things. Luckily, we’ll never know what would’ve happened in that alternate reality. What we do know is that Walt Coleman did what the NFL had done during a Jets game that year, and said that Brady was tucking the ball back in when he was hit by Charles Woodson, and therefore it wasn’t a fumble, but an incomplete pass. Now, the Patriots still had to drive into field range, Adam Vinatieri still had to make the best kick in NFL history, and the Patriots needed to score in overtime. By the way, during that overtime drive, the Patriots converted two third downs and a fourth down. The Tuck Rule may have been a stupid rule, but it was used correctly, and helped start the best dynasty in sports history.

January 16, 2005 vs Indianapolis - A year after losing in Foxboro, the Colts were back, this time with the top scoring offense in football. They mustered a mere three points. The Patriots did what they’re famous for: they bent, but they didn’t break. The Colts had almost 300 yards of total offense, but when they got close, they weren’t able to come away with points. Defensively, it also has perhaps the perfect Patriots play, when Tedy Bruschi ripped the ball out of Dominick Rhodes’ hands as he was tackling him. That play exemplifies everything the Patriots have done during this dynasty, and was just simply amazing. Late in the third quarter, up 6-3, Brady led back-to-back touchdown drives, of 87 and 94 yards, to put the game away. It was also the last time the Patriots would beat Peyton Manning in the playoffs.

Poll

3 vs 6 - The Tuck Rule VS 2004 Divisional Round vs Indy

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    The Tuck Rule
    (460 votes)
  • 24%
    2004 vs Indy
    (150 votes)
610 votes total Vote Now

#2 vs #7 - Super Bowl 39 vs 2017 vs Houston

February 6, 2005 - Super Bowl 39 - The most boring of the Patriots Super Bowls. Yes, it was a three-point game, and technically was close, but it never felt that way. Donovan McNabb was puking on his shoes and leading the “drive to nowhere.” A 13-play, 4-minute series . that started with just under six minutes left and the Eagles down 10. Harrison then picked off McNabb with seconds left to clinch another Super Bowl for the Patriots. It was their third in four seasons, and second in a row. They are still the last team to win back to back titles. So, historically, it’s important, but if it wasn’t a Super Bowl, no one would remember it. People still forget about it, even though it gave New England another championship, and capped off maybe the best two-year run by a team in NFL history: back to back titles and a 34-4 record over two seasons. Pretty unbelievable stuff. The game, however, was nothing to write home about.

September 24, 2017 vs Houston - The third game of the 2017 season. The Patriots led by eight in the third, but the Texans scored 13 straight points, to take a five-point lead of their own. Tom Brady then led the Patriots 75 yards in just over two minutes, capping the drive off with a sensational pass and catch to Brandin Cooks on the side of the end zone. Brady finished the day with five touchdown passes, and Cooks had five catches for 131 yards and two touchdown. The game also ended with an interception by The Closer, Duron Harmon.

Poll

2 vs 7 - Super Bowl 39 VS 2017 vs Hou

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Super Bowl 39
    (492 votes)
  • 18%
    2017 vs Hou
    (112 votes)
604 votes total Vote Now

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true March Madness tournament without a bracket to print and fill out, and to follow along with as we go. Click here to download the printable .pdf document.

The “6x Champions” design is based on a shirt by our friends at Breaking T. Make sure to head over to get it and countless other Patriots gear!

Patriots Madness

Patriots Nation -- Welcome to Pats Madness! This morning, staff writer Pat Lane is rolling out a new 2019 Pats Madness series, and he jumped on Pats Pulpit Live to tell you all about it. Head to Patspulpit.com, print out your bracket of the Patriots' 64 greatest games, and vote on which ones you think were the best!

Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Friday, March 8, 2019