Four times this season, Luck and the Colts have erased
double-digit deficits and rallied for wins.
Their never-say-die belief was on full display last weekend when the
Colts staged one of the greatest comebacks in NFL playoff history,
recovering from 28 points down in the third quarter to edge the
Kansas City Chiefs 45-44.
The Colts will not want to spot Brady a four touchdown advantage
like they did against the Chiefs, especially at Gillette Stadium
where the Patriots went an unbeaten 8-0 during the regular season.
Brady was not always at his absolute best but the future Hall of
Famer has always saved that for the post-season, recording more
playoff games (17) than any other NFL quarterback.
With four touchdown passes against Indianapolis on Saturday, Brady
would claim another line in the record books, surpassing Brett Favre
and Joe Montana for the most post-season strikes.
"It's incredible to play in this," said Brady, who will try to send
the Patriots through to their third straight AFC championship game.
"These are the moments you dream about and you have a chance with
eight other teams to be the last team standing.
"It's why we work hard. It's why every guy puts a lot out there. You
sacrifice a lot of things. A lot of people would die to be in our
Indianapolis and New England are no strangers to the playoff
The Colts have made the playoffs in 11 of the last 12 seasons,
reaching the Super Bowl twice, for one win and a loss. The Patriots
have advanced to the postseason in 12 of the last 13 seasons,
appearing in five Super Bowls, and claiming three titles.
The experience between Saturday's starting quarterbacks, however, is
While Brady has been under center for each of those playoff games,
Luck will be making just his second postseason start.
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Both quarterbacks had similar seasons with Brady throwing 25
touchdowns and 11 interceptions while Luck tossed 23 touchdowns and
was picked off nine times.
It was a particularly trying campaign for Brady, who has had to work
with an almost entirely new supporting cast, after Wes Welker joined
the Denver Broncos, Rob Gronkowski was plagued by injuries and Aaron
Hernandez was dropped by the Patriots after he was charged over the
fatal shooting of a friend.
Brady was still able to work enough of his magic so the Patriots
join the post-season well-rested and on a roll, having won five of
their last six.
New England's 10th ranked defense will have to deal with the Colts'
dynamic young offence, led by Luck and second year wide receiver
T.Y. Hilton, who had the best game of his young career against the
Chiefs, hauling in 13 catches for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
One of the most intriguing matchups will occur on the sidelines
where Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano will match wits with one of
girdiron's top tacticians, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, whose
18 playoff wins rank third on the all-time list behind Hall of
Famers Tom Landry (20) and Don Shula (19).
"He's one of the best in the business and his record obviously
speaks for itself," Pagano said about his opposite number. "He does
a tremendous job with his football team week in and week out, season
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Julian Linden)
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