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Patriots QB Tom Brady didn’t win, but his legacy remains intact

After winning his first three Super Bowls Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has lost his last two. | Getty Images

After winning his first three Super Bowls, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has lost his last two. | Getty Images

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Updated: March 7, 2012 9:55AM

INDIANAPOLIS — Tom Brady lined up at his 20-yard line with 57 seconds left Sunday, with the New England Patriots trailing by four points and one timeout in his pocket.

Brady needed a touchdown to secure his third Super Bowl MVP award and, more important, to pay the ultimate tribute to Myra Kraft, the Patriots’ matriarch who died
in July.

When Brady converted an
improbable fourth-and-16 with a pass to Deion Branch, many fans wondered whether he would cobble together another classic comeback. But he only could lead the Patriots near midfield, only could attempt a Hail Mary on the final play and only could lament his prayer wasn’t answered.

‘‘It was a very hard-fought game,’’ Brady said. ‘‘We fought to the end. I’m very proud of that. We just came up a little bit short. We kind of ran out of time.’’

The loss, however, doesn’t change Brady’s legacy the way the victory changes New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s.

In five Super Bowls, Brady has completed 127 of 197 passes for 1,277 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. His overall passer rating is 93.8.

That rating isn’t exceptional, but it bolsters Giants defensive end
Jason Pierre-Paul’s comments from last week.

‘‘Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but at the end of the day he is just a quarterback,’’ Pierre-Paul had said. ‘‘It is not like he is God.’’

In his five Super Bowls, Brady has guided the Patriots to an aver-
age of 21.4 points, a modest total considering the prowess of their offense. His most dominant game was against the Carolina Panthers, when he completed 32 of 48 passes for 354 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

And even in defeat, Brady hasn’t been miserable, posting an 86.4
rating with three touchdowns against one interception.

But he threw a costly interception at the start of the fourth quarter, when he escaped a sack and launched a deep pass for tight end Rob Gronkowski. But Gronkowski wasn’t himself because of a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss most practices for the last two weeks. The pass was slightly underthrown, and Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn leaped up and hauled in the interception.

‘‘When I spotted it,’’ Blackburn said, ‘‘I tried to block out and go up for a rebound, like basketball.’’

The most important rebound of his life.

Meanwhile, Patriots receiver Wes Welker couldn’t believe he missed out on his chance, either.

On second-and-11 from the
Giants’ 44 with 4:06 left, Brady had Welker open for a long pass. But Welker botched his jump and dropped the ball.

‘‘It’s one of those plays I’ve made a thousand times,’’ Welker said. “Just didn’t make it.

‘‘I’ve got to make the play. It comes to the biggest moment of my life, and I don’t come up with it. It is discouraging. I mean, it’s a play I never drop. Most critical situation, and I let the team down.’’

Brady, though, keeps on ringing up the records. He’s first all-time in Super Bowl passing yards with 1,277, surpassing Kurt Warner (1,156). He completed a Super Bowl-record 16 consecutive passes, breaking the mark previously held by Joe Montana (13).

And while he lost his second
Super Bowl, he had no problem with being there.

‘‘I’d rather keep coming to this game and trying [to win],’’ he said.

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