Tom Brady became the NFL's all-time leader in postseason passing touchdowns.For the fourth consecutive season and the ninth time under Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots are on to the AFC Championship Game, following a 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
This game turned on each team’s passing game. Here’s how it broke down:
Patriots go solely through the air
The Patriots leaned heavily on the pass. In fact, in the second half, the team attempted four rushes. One was a Tom Brady sneak for a first down, the other three were Brady kneeldowns before the Ravens' final heave at the end zone.
For the game, the Patriots registered 29 first downs, 22 of them coming via the pass. Of the Patriots' 422 total yards, 408 of them were passing. The Patriots finished with 14 rushing yards on 13 carries.
Tom Brady Postseason Career
At Home vs Ravens
Brady finished with 367 pass yards, the most he’s had in 27 career playoff games. The previous most came in a Divisional Playoff win over the Broncos in the 2011 season, when Brady had 363 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-10 win.
He also added three touchdowns, which gave him 46 career postseason touchdown passes, breaking Joe Montana’s NFL record (45). Brady entered the day third on the all-time list, also trailing Brett Favre.
It was a far cry from Tom Brady’s first three postseason home games against the Ravens, when he threw three touchdowns with seven interceptions combined, as the Patriots lost two of those three meetings.
EdelmanEven wide receiver Julian Edelman got into the mix, throwing a 51-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola. Edelman’s last pass attempt came in Nov. 2008, when he was the quarterback at Kent State.
Edelman is the first non-quarterback to throw a postseason touchdown pass since Antwaan Randle El for the 2005 Steelers in Super Bowl XL.
Flacco’s Historic Run Comes to a Halt
Joe Flacco entered this game on a five-game postseason win streak, and over that stretch, he had 13 touchdown passes without a single interception. He then opened Saturday by throwing another four, stretching his streak to 17 postseason touchdown passes since his last interception. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the second-longest such streak in NFL postseason history, trailing only Joe Montana, who had 18 straight over the 1989-91 seasons.
Most Consecutive Passes Without an Int
NFL Postseason History
The final tally for Flacco was 197 pass attempts between postseason interceptions, also the second-longest such streak in NFL history, trailing only Drew Brees’ stretch of 226 pass attempts from 2007-12, also according to Elias.
Flacco started the game completing 22 of his first 29 pass attempts for 231 yards with four touchdowns. But after that hot start, he finished 6-16 for 61 yards, no touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
Baltimore was in trouble from the moment Flacco threw a pick. In his 15 career postseason starts, the Ravens are 1-5 in games in which he throws an interception and 9-0 when he doesn’t.