INDIANAPOLIS — For a while Sunday night, Tom Brady was lights out. At one point he completed 16 consecutive passes, which had many scoffing at the notion that the Giants defense was in Brady’s head.
That’s what many of us barked about in the week leading up to this game. Brady flinched in the regular-season matchup. Brady was pummeled by that pass rush in his last Super Bowl. Brady wasn’t the same when facing pressure since suffering a major knee injury in 2008.
Maybe they never were in his head, or maybe he somehow got them out during a solid first half. Either way, they appeared to find their way in there thanks to one big play.
Brady took a big hit from Justin Tuck early in the third quarter, aggravating the injury to his left shoulder that had caused him to miss practice time earlier in these playoffs. And although Brady had been working with a relatively clean pocket for much of the night, that one sack might have been enough to throw him off.
Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com did the math so that I wouldn’t have to:
Brady’s line, pre-Tuck sack: 20 of 24 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, the pass just prior to Tuck’s takedown broke Brady’s completion streak and it came 6:12 into the third quarter.
Brady’s line, post-Tuck sack: 7 of 17 for 75 and an interception.
On paper, it doesn’t appear as though New York’s pass rush was the game-changer it was supposed to be, but maybe all it took was one play.