Here are the matchups for the first round of the Bruschi Region. Make sure to vote on every matchup!
#1 vs #8 - Super Bowl 38 vs Mo Lewis Game
February 1, 2004 - Super Bowl 38 - Zero points scored in both the first and third quarters, but there was plenty of scoring in the second and fourth, including a total of 39 points in the period. Back and forth the Patriots and Panthers went, with New England first losing an 11-point lead in the fourth, then scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a pass to Mike Vrabel, with a two-point conversion on a direct snap to Kevin Faulk. After Ricky Proehl, the same guy who scored the Rams’ game-tying touchdown in the Super Bowl two years earlier, tied the game again, the Patriots drove down the field and Adam Vinatieri buried another last-second field goal to give New England its second Super Bowl victories in a three-year span.
September 23, 2001 - Mo Lewis Game - Not much to talk about, game-wise: the Patriots lost 10-3, with the only touchdown being an 8-yard run by ex-Patriot Curtis Martin. But we all know why this is so important. Drew Bledsoe almost died (literally) in the fourth quarter, and was eventually replaced by Tom Brady. Brady tried to lead the Patriots on a game-tying drive at the end of regulation, but fell just short. The rest, as they say, is history. I loved Drew Bledsoe more than most, but this game still has to be on the list, even if it’s just to lose in the first round.
1 vs 8 - Super Bowl 38 vs Mo Lewis Game
This poll is closed
Super Bowl 38
Mo Lewis Game
#4 vs #5 - 2003 at Miami vs 2007 at Baltimore
October 19, 2003 at Miami - What would convince you of the importance of this victory? Maybe it would be the players going nuts on the field after Troy Brown’s 82-yard touchdown in overtime. Or maybe it’s Bill Belichick showing as much emotion as a Super Bowl victory, tossing his headset into the air in celebration. Maybe it’s years later, Brady still talking about this game as one of his favorite memories of his playing career. It took quite a bit to get there though. As is typical when the Patriots play in Miami, some crazy things happened. The Dolphins had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth but their 35-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Richard Seymour. Then, in extra time, another attempt, also from 35 yards, went wide. Then, with the Patriots still unable to get anything going, Jay Fiedler was picked off at the Patriots 18. The next play went 82 the other way, to give Brady his first win in Miami.
December 3, 2007 at Baltimore - The game that basically started the heated rivalry between the Patriots and Ravens. The Patriots were 11-0, trying to stay perfect, and the Ravens were 4-7, but still with a great defense. The Patriots were down four points late in the game, and got two fourth down calls to extend their last-minute drive — one that ended with Tom Brady hitting Jabar Gaffney in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, a play that was reviewed and upheld. The game is probably best known for Bart Scott losing his mind, getting a 15-yard penalty after the touchdown, and then another one when he threw the referee’s flag into the stands. Ed Reed was then offsides on the extra point attempt as well. Gostkowski ended up kicking off from the Ravens 35 after the penalties were applied... and the Ravens still came almost back on a Hail Mary pass that was completed just short of the goal line as time expired.
4 vs 5 - 03 @ Miami vs 07 @ Bal
This poll is closed
03 @ Miami
07 @ Bal
#3 vs #6 - 2017 AFCCG vs Jacksonville vs 2004 AFCCG at Pittsburgh
January 21, 2018 vs Jacksonville - Last year’s AFC Championship Game was an instant classic. With the Patriots down 10 in the fourth against a really good defense (sound familiar?) Brady led two touchdown drives to win the game. Two pictures alone would make this game worth it: Danny Amendola tapping his toes in the back of the end zone for the go ahead score, and Stephon Gilmore going fully horizontal to knock away a fourth down pass attempt by Blake Bortles. I have no idea how either of those guys made those plays, but those they catapult this game into a three seed.
January 23, 2005 at Pittsburgh - Another example of the dominance of the 2004 team. In the playoffs, they played the number one scoring offense and held them to three points, and played the number one scoring defense and hung 41 on them. My favorite moment from this game was the Rodney Harrison pick-six late in the second quarter: he took it back 87 yards, but my favorite part of the play is that Ben Roethlisberger was warned. All week, the coaches told him not to test #37. They told he’d make it look like the guy was open, but he was just baiting him into making a bad throw. The Steelers’ quarterback just couldn’t resist, and what started out as a really promising drive ended up giving the Patriots a 24-3 lead — a lead they wouldn’t come close to giving up again.
3 vs 6 - 2017 AFCCG vs Jax VS 2004 AFCCG @ Pitt
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2017 AFCCG vs Jax
2004 AFCCG @ Pitt
#2 vs #7 - Super Bowl 53 vs The Butt Fumble
February 3, 2019 - Super Bowl 53 - Yes, a Super Bowl victory is a #2 seed. What do you want from me, there’s only four #1 seeds available? This game doesn’t need much explanation, it just happened: it was a classic defensive battle from both teams, with experience and coaching completely evident down the stretch. When the game was on the line, the Patriots went to a formation that they hadn’t run all season, and executed at the highest level possible, scoring the go-ahead, and eventual game-winning, touchdown on a run by Sony Michel. Contrast that with the Rams, who never changed a single thing they were doing all game long, and, in a huge situation, Jared Goff panicked under pressure and hung a pass that Stephon Gilmore was able to pick him off with relative ease.
November 22, 2012 - The Butt Fumble - Oh, the Butt Fumble. It is a play that will live in NFL history forever. But it wasn’t just the Mark Sanchez’s turnover that makes this game memorable. When the Patriots snapped the ball with 9:56 left in the 2nd quarter, they were up 7-0. Just over a minute later, they would be leading by 28 points. First came a quick pass to Shane Vereen that ended up an 83-yard touchdown reception. Then, two plays later, came the infamous Butt Fumble, with Steve Gregory scooping the loose football up and running it in. Then, on the ensuing kickoff, the ball was jarred loose by Devin McCourty, only to pop up and into the arms of a sprinting Julian Edelman, who ran it in for the score. All told, the Patriots would score 35 points in the second quarter, with those 21 coming in a span of 53 seconds.
2 vs 7 - Super Bowl 53 VS The Butt Fumble
This poll is closed
Super Bowl 53
The Butt Fumble
Here are the first four matchups of the Brown Region.
#1 vs #8 - Super 36 vs 2009 vs Buffalo
February 3, 2002 - Super Bowl 36 - The game that started it all. The great final drive by Tom Brady is what sticks out, but there were some unreal plays all game long — including the Ty Law pick-six, a great touchdown pass by Brady, and a fumble recovery by Tebucky Jones that, if not for a holding call against Willie McGinest, would’ve turned the game into a blowout. I still get chills listening to Gil Santos’ call of Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning kick, which might make this the most memorable game in Patriots history. It was also, at the time, the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.
September 14, 2009 - vs Buffalo - The Bills scored a touchdown to go up 24-13 with just over five minutes left in the game. Tom Brady then went 8-10 for 81 yards, capped with a touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson. The two-point conversation failed, however, so the Patriots were still down five. They elected to kick it deep instead of trying the onside kick and the Bills’ returner, Leodis McKelvin, took the ball out of the end zone and fumbled — the ball . was recovered by kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Brady then hit Watson again with less than a minute left to win the game. To add to the game, it was Brady’s first one back after missing 2008 with a torn ACL, and they were in their red throwback uniforms.
1 vs 8 - Super Bowl 36 vs 09 vs Bills
This poll is closed
Super Bowl 36
09 vs Bills
#4 vs #5 - 2003 Divisional Game vs Tennessee vs 2011 AFCCG vs Baltimore
January 10, 2004 - Patriots vs Tennessee - The coldest game ever played in Foxboro. The Patriots were facing co-league MVP Steve McNair, and it turned into not only a defensive battle but a great game. Of course, Adam Vinatieri hit a late field to take the lead. At that point, the Titans trailed 17-14 late in the fourth quarter, but were driving to try to tie the game. It was 2nd and 3 on the Patriots 34-yard line, and they took two horrible penalties in a row — the first an intentional grounding by McNair, then a holding call on the back side of a quick screen pass — before, on fourth down, Drew Bennett had a shot at the final pass by McNair, but dropped it. The Patriots had to call timeout on fourth down with three seconds left, and decided to chuck it deep to Givens, running out the clock and winning the game. Smart football is how the Patriots have won so much, and it was very evident at the end of this one.
January 22, 2012 - Patriots vs Baltimore - Two huge plays on the final defensive drive were made by Sterling Moore and of all people Julian Edelman: Edelman forced a fumble by Anquan Boldin, but the ball went out of bounds, so the Ravens maintained possession. Then, with a 2nd and 1 at the Patriots 14-yard line, the Ravens threw at Moore twice, and both fell incomplete. The memorable play was obviously Moore knocking the ball away from Lee Evans in the end zone on second down, but they also threw to Moore, who was defending Dennis Pitta, on the ensuing play. Billy Cundiff then shanked a 33-yard field goal to seal the victory for the Patriots. They would go on to lose the Super Bowl, but the win was a small victory for an owner who had just recently lost his wife. In fact, there are those who will tell you, me included, that Myra Kraft . pushed that ball left to get the Patriots back to the Super Bowl.
4 vs 5 - 03 vs Titans VS 11 vs Ravens
This poll is closed
03 vs Titans
11 vs Ravens
#3 vs #6 - 2001 AFCCG at Pittsburgh vs 16-0
January 27, 2002 - at Pittsburgh AFCCG - Tom Brady’s first AFC Championship game, and he wouldn’t finish it. It was a great day for those fans and writers who thought Drew Bledsoe should get his starting job back, though. Brady got hurt by Lee Flowers just after the two-minute warning in the second quarter, and Bledsoe took over and had an immediate impact, throwing a touchdown pass to David Patten four plays later. Where the Patriots really dominated, though, was on special teams. They did what they had been doing all season long, which is score non-offensive touchdowns. Troy Brown kicked off the scoring with a 55-yard punt return for score, and then, after Brandon Mitchell blocked a field goal attempt, Brown scooped it up and lateraled to Antwan Harris, who took it in for another touchdown. In a game where the Steelers were heavy favorites, the Patriots dominated in every phase of the game.
December 29, 2007 - at New York (16-0) - The game where the Patriots clinched a 16-0 regular season, and Brady broke the passing touchdowns record, and Randy Moss broke the receiving touchdowns record. Not to mention, it was a wild game. The record-breaking scoring pass from Brady to Moss put the Pats ahead early in the fourth quarter before Laurence Maroney added his second touchdown of the game to put them up 14. A late touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress (sound familiar?) cut the lead to three, but the Patriots recovered the onside kick to remain unbeaten — at least until the next time they played the Giants...
3 vs 6 - 01 @ Steelers vs 07 @ Giants
This poll is closed
01 @ Steelers
07 @ Giants
#2 vs #7 - 2018 AFCCG at Kansas City vs 2003 at Denver
January 20, 2019 - at Kansas City AFCCG - The second most recent game the Patriots have played is a #2 seed, and it is incredibly deserving. The Chiefs became just another loser trying to change the rules, and the Patriots went on to win their sixth Super Bowl. 38 points between the two teams in the fourth quarter would make this a game to remember, but the individual plays put it over the top. The catch by Rob Gronkowski down the sideline against Eric Berry. The Sony Michel touchdown on fourth down. The three 3rd and 10 conversions in overtime. Not to mention the potential game-clinching interception being called back because Dee Ford lined up offsides. Fans in New England will be talking about this game for years to come.
November 3, 2003 - at Denver - You might not remember this game, but you should. One of those contests where we learned just how big Bill Belichick’s stones were: down one point with just under three minutes left, Belichick decided to take the safety instead of trying to punt out of the end zone. Danny Kannell playing quarterabck for the Broncos might have made the decision a bit easier, but it was still a gutsy call. The Broncos went 3-and-out, and the Patriots drove 58 yards for the game-winning score with 36 seconds left. Considering Brady’s record at Mile High, this one is a very memorable game.
2 vs 7 - 18 @ Chiefs VS 03 @ Broncos
This poll is closed
18 @ Chiefs
03 @ Broncos
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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