Brady and the New England Patriots shocked league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers on Sunday, winning 24-21 to move within one win of their fourth Super Bowl trip in six seasons.
Brady overcame three interceptions, his career playoff high, to lead the Patriots to 11 points in 3:26 late in the game. He and coach Bill Belichick now have a 12-1 postseason record and are heading to Indianapolis for the AFC championship game next Sunday.
“That was as tough of a game as I can ever remember playing,” Brady said.
While the Chargers respected the mystique Brady and the Patriots had built with Super Bowl wins following the 2001, 2002 and 2004 seasons, they hoped to be the ones raising the Lombardi Trophy in Miami on Feb. 4.
San Diego had nine players voted to the Pro Bowl team and five to the All-Pro team. And it had been supercharged by Tomlinson, who became the most prolific scorer in one season in NFL history with 31 touchdowns and 186 points while winning the rushing title with 1,815 yards.
But Brady is the one who's been there before in January. And nearly always has won - it was Brady's 24th career game-winning drive.
He left behind some frustrated Chargers, including Tomlinson, who went after an unidentified Patriots player when the game ended. Tomlinson ran for 123 yards and two scores, and caught two passes for 64 yards.