Contributor: Alex Hoegler
2006 AFC Championship vs. Indianapolis Colts
Tom Brady put up 34 points against one of the NFL’s elite defenses. He threw for 232 yards and one touchdown. Only question is: Why is this such a choke-job, when he put up a rather impressive performance in one of the biggest games of his career?
Easy, you should never blow an 18-point lead when you’re supposedly “perfect” like the Patriots quarterback.
Down 38-34 late, Brady had a chance to drive his team down-field for a last minute score, but near midfield he threw a pick right to Marlin Jackson, sealing the Colts a win.
To make matters worse, Brady’s arch-nemesis, Peyton Manning, went on to win his first Super Bowl. That wouldn’t have happened if Brady didn’t put up a disgusting second half performance.
2005 Divisional Round vs. Denver Broncos
341 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Tom Brady was able to move the ball well, but pulled off his first career choking job in this very game.
The Patriots traveled to the Mile High City to take on Jake Plummer’s Broncos. The Patriots’ quarterback had never lost a playoff game.
Down 10-6 late in the third quarter, Brady faced a crucial third-and-goal situation. Brady faced a blitz and just threw it straight to the end zone. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey returned it 100 yards to setup an eventual TD run for Denver. The Broncos took the momentum the rest of the way and won 27-13.
Brady’s first playoff loss was painful. He changed the game in one disgusting decision. The Pats haven’t won a Super Bowl since. This one play may have very well changed his career. Very disgusting, indeed.
2012 AFC Championship vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Patriots had the league’s number one offense going into this game, scoring a total of 557 points, and Baltimore barely limped into the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
The long and short of it? The Patriots scored just 13 points.
Brady threw for 320 yards and one touchdown, but posted a quarterback rating of just 45.1. He threw two fourth quarter interceptions and zero points in the second half. Simply unacceptable for “the greatest quarterback of all time.” Unacceptable to say the least. But this isn’t close to his closest choking job.
Super Bowl XLVI vs. New York Giants
After winning the league MVP and posting a 14-2 record the year prior, Tom Brady and his Patriots were Super Bowl favorites going into the 2011 NFL season.
The Patriots did not disappoint, their offense was one of the strongest in the league.
The Patriots had a chance to avenge a famous loss (more on that later) to the New York Giants. Tom Brady had an exceptional game, going 27 for 41 and throwing 276 and two touchdowns. That’s a pretty tremendous stat line, so why is he a choker here?
Because, he had three chances to put the game away, but the Pats found themselves on the losing end.
Up by two points early in the fourth, Brady had a chance to put away the game potentially by scoring a touchdown and making it a two possession game. For some reason, he lobbed a long ball to an injured Rob Gronkowski. The Giants intercepted it. The Patriots forced a punt. Brady had a chance to put the game away. He threw two incompletions, the Giants took the ball down field and scored a major to go up 21-17 with under a minute left.
Brady missed open receivers and was stopped after a last-second Hail Mary. He could have won his fourth ring, but he didn’t. He choked.
2009 Wild Card Round vs. Baltimore Ravens
Okay, so the Patriots weren’t exactly a powerhouse in 2009 with a 10-6 record—but they did put up a disgusting performance against Baltimore in the Wild Card round that is, in the words of Jim Mora: “inexcusable,” and “pitiful, absolutely pitiful.”
Brady—wait for it, wait for it—threw 154 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He threw two interceptions in the first quarter and had one lost fumble. Baltimore went up 24-0 and eventually won the game 33-14. How does a three-time Super Bowl Champion do that?
Super Bowl XLII vs. New York Giants
The greatest team to never win the Super Bowl. The Patriots went 16-0. Tom Brady threw a record 50 touchdown passes in a season, Randy Moss caught a record 23 touchdowns, and the offense scored a record 589 points. The Pats were 12-point favorites against the aforementioned New York Giants.
The Giants ultimately won 17-14 after a last minute touchdown. Brady threw for just 266 yards, one touchdown and was sacked five times.
Blame the offensive line all you want, but there’s no excuse for a 589 point-scoring team to only put up 14 points when they had a chance to go down in history as the best ever. Absolutely disgusting.
This is the game that told the NFL world that Brady is overrated and in fact a choker.