Brady swings for the fences against Seahawks . . . and misses

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Brady swings for the fences against Seahawks . . . and misses

SEATTLE Even after all hes accomplished in his NFL career or perhaps because of it there are small things that Tom Brady uses as motivators.

On Sunday, after throwing a first-quarter touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez, it seemed we got a look at what was fueling him against the Seahawks. He wanted to muzzle the much-ballyhooed 12th man of Seattle.

When Brady got back to the bench after that touchdown, he stared into the stands and made a point of letting them know what he thought of the home-field edge they were giving him. In the days leading up to the game, Brady talked of how he relishes getting a crowd to turn on its team.

Those words didnt go unheard in Seattle, as cornerback Richard Sherman indicated on Twitter after the game when he said,

Brady sure looks like a man who turned the 12thMan against us twitter.comRSherman_25st Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) October 15, 2012

Maybe, just maybe, Tom Brady got himself a little too fired up on Sunday. He didnt want to win. He wanted to go for the throat.

Which might help explain why, when the Patriots were trying to run one quick play before the half to look for a touchdown before settling for the field goal, he worked too long trying to go for seven and the Patriots got nothing.

And that might be why Brady tried to go over Shermans head with a third-quarter pass to Deion Branch that you dont usually see him make. That throw was picked while Rob Gronkowski ran free underneath for what would have been another 10- to 12-yard gain.

In the second half of Sundays 24-23 loss, the harder Brady tried to stick the dagger in, the more he seemed to turn it on his own team.

I think we just need to do a better job when it counts, said Brady. We moved the ball up and down the field, a lot of guys were making plays, a lot of guys made some really great plays and we had some really good opportunities to score points.

Brady then looked at his own mistakes, recounting them.

The interception in the end zone on the throw to Wes Welker. We are driving the ball and I throw an interception to Sherman up the seam. I make a play at the end of the half to squander three points and you lose by one point and there are a lot of things we could have done better to not be in that situation. We have to do a better job and I have to do a better job.

Bradys numbers were great if you had him on your fantasy team 395 yards, 36 completions, two touchdowns but in real football, the mistakes that cost points cost the Patriots this game and dropped them to 3-3.

The squander before the half was lamentable.

That is my responsibility to take care of the football and do something good with it, said Brady. When the play comes in from the sidelines, they are not thinking that we are going to have intentional grounding. They trust me to be smart with the ball and to get three at the worst and I just made a bad play.

It was one of two groundings Brady had on the day. And it was part of a number of rushed or hurried throws Brady made when he seemed unnecessarily harried. A player whos known for poise lost his a little bit Sunday. You could see it when he flipped out on the refs as he lobbied rightly and wrongly for calls.

Maybe the shot to the noggin he took from Jason Jones in the third impacted his play some in the fourth. After going 31-for-45 for 324 yards in the first three quarters, he closed by going 5-for-13 for 71 yards with the end-zone pick to Welker.

Whatever happened late, Tom Brady didnt play like Tom Brady normally does. And the last word belonged to the Seahawks and their 12th man.

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.

Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased. 

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve. 

Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.  

"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."

The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes. 

Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).

Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.

"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.

"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."

They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.