Featured — 06 February 2012
Brady Loses Again To ELI

INDIANAPOLIS—For Tom Brady, losing another Super Bowl to the Giants felt just as painful as it did four years ago.

Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana remain the only quarterbacks with four Super Bowl victories. Brady could have joined them. However, Brady and the Patriots fell to the Giants again, this time 21-17, in a dramatic Super Bowl XLVI that came down to the game’s final play.

After Brady’s game-ending Hail Mary pass fell to the ground incomplete, the Giants celebrated. The confetti fell. And Brady was forced to handle another devastating defeat.

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“I’d rather come to this game and lose than not get here,” said Brady, who won his first three Super Bowls, but has now lost his last two. “Hopefully we’ll be back at some point.

“Four years ago it was a miracle play that they made (David Tyree’s catch). Today we had a chance to make one and couldn’t come up with it. It always comes down to one or two plays. If you make it, you’re celebrating. If you don’t, it’s going to sting for a while.”

The Giants’ pass rush put Tom Brady on the ground often during Super Bowl XLVI. (AP Photo)

Brady’s numbers were solid—27-of-41, 276 yards, two TDs, one interception. But they were not as good as Eli Manning’s—30-of-40, 296 yards, one TD, no interceptions. Manning was the NFL’s best quarterback this postseason with nine touchdowns, one interception and four victories that gave Manning his second Super Bowl ring.

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Brady will spend the entire offseason thinking about several throws he wanted back. One came early in fourth quarter, when his deep pass intended for Rob Gronkowski was intercepted by Chase Blackburn. The Patriots led 17-15 at the time, and had they scored a touchdown, they would have put the Giants in a nine-point hole that would have been difficult to recover from.

“I wish I had gotten a little more on it, given Gronk a better chance to make the play,” Brady said.

Another mistake by Brady came on his first throw of the game, when he dropped into the end zone to pass and was rushed by Justin Tuck. Not wanting to take a sack, Brady airmailed his pass well over the head of any receivers. After a brief conference among the officials, Brady was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, which meant a safety for the Giants and a 2-0 lead.

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The Patriots argued the call, but Brady would not say it was a bad call.

“It’s a referee’s judgment call,” Brady said. “I threw it in the middle of the field. Tuck was coming to get me and I tried to get rid of it.”

There were also times when Brady’s teammates could have done more to help him. Still leading 17-15, the Patriots took possession with 9:24 left in the game and had another chance to take a two-score lead. However, with just over four minutes to play, Wes Welker failed to haul in a pass that would have given the Patriots a first down in Giants’ territory. It was not an easy leaping catch, but Welker got two hands on the football and felt he should have caught it. The Patriots’ drive stalled, and they were forced to punt to the Giants, who drove for the winning touchdown.

“I saw the ball in the air, I made a play on it,” Welker said. “It was right there. I should have brought it down. It’s one I’ll have to live with.”

Brady refused to single out Welker, or anyone else.

“It wasn’t one play,” Brady said. “Everyone feels like we could have done more.”

Brady was one of the last players to address the media, but he answered questions patiently, although somberly. Afterward, he walked back toward the locker room where he was met by his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen. They shared a long hug and kept walking, leaving behind a season that ended one victory short for Brady.

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He is still a great quarterback, but Brady will turn 35 years old in August and cannot be certain if he will ever return to the Super Bowl. Nobody’s NFL future is guaranteed. Ask Peyton Manning. But Brady vowed to come back as determined as ever.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be in this game five times in the last 10 years, Brady said. “I’d love to keep coming back. It’s better than sitting home. I hope we have another opportunity.”

But for Brady and the Patriots, another opportunity for glory was snatched away by the Giants.

Read more: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/feed/2012-01/super-bowl-xlvi/story/super-bowl-2012-tom-brady-and-patriots-lose-to-giants-again#ixzz1lcBHq14u

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