Yesterday I posted on the subject of whether or not Joe Flacco could yet again outplay Brady in the AFC Championship game, as he did last year, despite the fact the Ravens lost. I hoped to today be posting on how he did not, and how Brady demonstrated why he is in the discussion as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Unfortunately, yesterday's game showed quite the opposite, and further added to the growing pile of evidence suggesting Brady does not play well on the biggest stage, and has not since he went undefeated in his first 10 post season games, racking up three Super Bowls during the stretch. Since those first ten wins, Brady is now 7 and 7, including 2 devastating Super Bowl losses to Eli and the Giants, a shocking divisional round loss to the Jets where Brady was outplayed by Buttfumble Sanchez, and two losses to Flacco and the Ravens,the latest being last nights fiasco.
Brady didn't lose the Patriots the game last night, but he didn't do enough to win it. There were definite momentum killers that were not his fault (Welker drop, Solder holding penalty, Ridley getting KO'ed by Pollard), but yesterday was a game where Brady needed to be perfect and he wasn't. Even his interception that was tipped at the line (I guess the Pats shouldn't have put away their JJ Watt tennis rackets during practice this week) wasn't his fault. But when it's all said and done, the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl and the Patriots are going to the Pro Bowl. And that is largely because of Joe Flacco's outstanding performance in yesterdays game. The stat line tells the whole story of yesterday's QB battle. It wasn't even very close.
Yesterday's loss should by no means be placed on Brady's shoulders. Our defense was unable to stop the Raven's attack throughout the second half, and Belichick made some very questionable decsions, especially the botched clock management at the end of the first half which prevented the Pats from attempting to score a touchdown.
But Brady is the Patriots best player and in games like these he is expected to be the one who carries them to the Super Bowl. And unfortunately he just didn't do that. There's no bigger fan of Brady than me, and I do truly believe before it is all said and done he will get another Super Bowl ring and finish his career as the greatest quarterback of all time. And I thought he would get another crack at that 4th ring this year. But right now, I have very little evidence to counter the arguments that he does not play well in big games since his initial playoff brilliance.
The Ray Lewis "god's warrior" playoff run is proving to be the most nauseating sports storyline I can remember in a long time. That combined with the inevitable Patriot's hating and "Harbaugh Bowl" talk that is sure to dominate sports media outlets in the next two weeks, it is safe I will not be tuning in for a while.