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This Tuck had a different ending: Tom Brady before and after the sack

02.06.12 at 10:51 am ET
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Tom Brady was amidst a historic run in the middle of Super Bowl XLVI.

Though he got off to a rocky start by getting called for intentional grounding and a safety on the Patriots’ first offensive play of the game, the Patriots quarterback soon found his footing. Between the second and third quarters, Brady completed 16 consecutive passes, the longest such streak in Super Bowl history. Even after his streak was snapped on an incompletion to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brady’s numbers in the middle of the third quarter looked like this:

20-24, 201 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 141.9 QB rating

In other words, to that point in the game, Brady had his highest QB rating ever in a Super Bowl game, and was tracking for the fourth-best rating ever in a Super Bowl, behind only Phil Simms (150.9 in SB XXI), Joe Montana (147.6 in XXIV) and Jim Plunkett (145.0 in XV).

But then, Brady encountered a game-changing Tuck play that had a very different effect than the one that famously occurred in the Snow Bowl of the 2002 playoffs.

On third-and-8, Giants lineman Justin Tuck broke through the Patriots line to sack Brady for a 4-yard loss. Tuck, listed at 6-foot-5 and 268 pounds, plowed the New England quarterback into the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium, with Brady wincing as his left shoulder was driven into the ground. After he came off the field, members of the Patriots medical staff checked in on Brady while backup quarterback Brian Hoyer warmed up on the sideline.

Whether directly related to an injury incurred on that play or not, Brady’s performance was not the same from that point forward. For the rest of the game, the efficient Patriots passing game stalled, with Brady posting the following stats (excluding his clock-killing spike on the final drive of the game):

7-16, 75 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 32.0 QB rating

Those numbers, of course, were hampered by some drops, though Brady also appeared slightly imprecise on some of those incompletions.

Whatever the cause — the Giants defense, injury, drops, etc. — the Patriots offense sputtered, unable to score on its final three drives of the game and setting the stage for the Giants’ 21-17 victory in the Super Bowl.

Read More: Justin Tuck, qb rating, Tom Brady,
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