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Tom Brady's late-game brilliance shining brighter than ever

Posted by Erik Frenz  December 9, 2013 07:00 AM

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(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Fall behind early, and rally late. That's been the story in three straight wins for the New England Patriots, and it seems like that'll be the story for the rest of the season.

If that's the case, quarterback Tom Brady will be in rare air.

Sunday's comeback win over the Cleveland Browns was the fifth time this season that Brady has put together a drive in the fourth quarter to win the game. His mark of five such fourth-quarter comebacks is the most in the league this year, and is already the most in a single season of his career. He is two fourth-quarter comebacks behind the single-season record set by Peyton Manning in 2009 with the Colts.

Brady has been working late-game magic throughout his career; according to the researcher responsible for fourth-quarter comebacks, Scott Kacsmar, Brady has the fewest career losses of the eight quarterbacks with 30 or more career fourth-quarter comebacks.

Patriots fans are rarely ever surprised by Brady these days, but is Brady ever surprised with himself?

"Sure. ...But we're just going to keep fighting. Sometimes you may come up short, but it's not going to be for lack of effort or toughness. We showed that we have some of that."

The Patriots haven't gotten those wins without some good luck. On average, a possession lasts 2:11 in the fourth quarter. The Patriots have had five possessions in the final (combined) 6:04 in two of their comeback wins: three in the final 3:29 against the Saints; two possessions in 2:35 against the Browns.

According to Patriots historian Bob Hyldburg, the Patriots' onside kick recovery against the Browns was the first time they recovered an onside kick in a victory since 1964. Yes, it took something that hasn't happened in over 49 years for the Patriots to beat the odds on Sunday.

Take nothing away from the impressive achievements Brady have already accomplished this year, but it's fair to wonder if that kind of success can be sustained through the final three games of the season and through the playoffs.

The Patriots would be better off making sure Brady gets no closer to that record of seven comeback wins in a season.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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