- Super Bowl 49: Patriots 28 Seahawks 24
Maybe I chose this over the next game on this list because it is fresh in my mind, but I honestly believe that this was the best game I’ve seen in my time watching the Patriots. There have been larger comebacks and better stories, but none were in the Super Bowl. After Brady’s interception to Bobby Wagner late in the third quarter this game was OVER. Seattle was up 10 and with that defense you could almost guarantee they weren’t blowing it, and then Tom Brady did what he’s done his whole career. He led the largest 4th quarter comeback in Super Bowl history, by going 13 of 15 for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Even after Edelman caught the go ahead score the Patriots faced near certain death, but then the Seahawks did the unthinkable, they passed on 2nd and goal from the one yard line, and the rest is history.
- Super Bowl 38: Patriots 32 Panthers 29
Before Super Bowl 49 this was the greatest Super Bowl of all time. This game had everything. It was a battle of two of the best defenses in the NFL in quarters 1 and 3 with no points being scored, and a barn burner between two offenses capable of putting up points in bunches in the 2nd and 4th, with 37 points in the 4th quarter alone. Mushin Muhammad’s 85 yard touchdown with just under 7 minutes to play put the Panthers up 22-21 for their first lead of the game. The Patriots responded with a 1 yard touchdown reception by Mike Vrabel and a direct snap to Kevin Faulk for the 2 point conversion. These were 2 staples of the Pats offense in the early 2000s and seemed to work every time they were run. After the Panthers tied the game up with 1:08 to play, they put the kickoff out of bounds and gave the Patriots the ball at the 40. Needing only 30 yards to get into field goal range Brady calmly drove down the field and set up Vinatieri for a 41 yarder (this was no gimme because he had already missed and had a kick blocked) which he drove through the uprights.
- Super Bowl 36: Patriots 20 Rams 17
The biggest upset in Super Bowl history, and the game that started it all. “The Greatest Show on Turf” versus the team of nobodies quarterbacked by a backup 6th round draft pick. At the time the Rams had just put up the single greatest offensive season in NFL history, and no one expected them to be stopped by the 11-5 Patriots, who needed the Tuck Rule to even win one playoff game. Despite this the Patriots led 14-3 at the half. This was a different time in the NFL, and the Patriots defense made the Rams receivers and backs pay the price when they had the ball and when they didn’t, as a result the Rams offense didn’t get on track until the fourth quarter when they scored 14 points to tie the game with 1:30 left on the clock. After the last Rams score John Madden was calling for the Patriots to take a knee and play for overtime since they only had one timeout remaining, instead Brady led a drive to set up Adam Vinatieri, who had never missed in a dome, for the game winner
- Week 13 2003: Patriots 38 Colts 34
Our first non Super Bowl and only Brady/Manning game on this list. Much like Super Bowl 38 this game had everything, the two best quarterbacks in the league going head to head for the 4th time in their careers, and the game was decided not by them, but by a goal line stand. Brady started the game 14/14 and threw a touchdown to Dedric Ward of all people, Bethel Johnson (quick #tbt to the curse of Bethel Johnson) returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and Deion Branch did the worm on his back after the go ahead score. After Branch’s touchdown Manning drove the Colts down to the Patriots 1 yard line before being stopped on 4 consecutive plays, the last ended with Willie McGinest stuffing Edgerrin James behind the line, McGinest then proceeded to run all the way down the field with his finger in the air. This is the second best goal line stand in Patriots history.
- AFC Divisional Round 2014: Patriots 35 Ravens 31
This game has a special place in my heart because I brought my younger brother as his Christmas gift. The temperature was well below freezing and the only thing keeping us warm was the nips of fireball we hid in our boots and the $8 Bud Lights. The crowd did not sit for second during this game, even when the Pats got down 14-0 early in the first. When Brady ran it in to cut the lead to 14-7, and spiked the ball the place went ballistic and we knew there was no way we were going down without a fight, but then Owen Daniels scored with 10 seconds left in the first half and Forsett walked into the end zone on the first drive of the 3rd quarter to put them back up 14. Little did we know the game was just starting. Belichick and McDaniels broke out the ineligible receiver formations, throwing the Ravens defense completely out of sync and we were able to cut it to 7 again. The very next possession Julian Edelman motioned across the formation and caught a swing pass from Brady, only he didn’t turn up field, he stopped and threw a strike to Danny Amendola for a 50 yard touchdown to tie it. When that happened the building erupted and I honestly thought the stadium was going to collapse, I couldn’t feel my feet, but I was jumping up and down until the next kickoff. Just two plays later Flacco was picked by Devin McCourty, and during the commercial break they played “Your Love” and showed Zolak hanging out of the broadcast booth waving a towel, the place went nuts and we knew there was no shot we were losing. The Ravens went up 3 with 10 minutes left, but with just over 5 minutes to go the Patriots retook the lead for good on arguably the most perfectly placed pass of Brady’s career. Duron Harmon closed the game out with another pick of Flacco, and the Patriots had officially over come not one but two 14 point deficits. Without this game Brady still doesn’t have his fourth ring.