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Sports

January 17, 2011

Brady's recurring playoff woes doom Pats in stunner

FOXBORO - The coach was brutally honest.

Rex Ryan laid the numbers, as mediocre as they are, right on the table for his defense to feast.

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, whenever. Rex read the stats for Tom Brady's last four playoff games," said linebacker Bart Scott, after he and the Jets stunned the Patriots, 28-21 in the AFC Divisional playoffs here yesterday. "If somebody read those to you, you wouldn't be afraid either. A 66 percent quarterback rating over the last four playoff games. Would you be afraid of that?"

Seriously, this morning, much of New England should be. Maybe those 36 TDs with only four picks this year were a mirage, a fluke, some kind of statistical anomaly.

Think about it. Since his near-perfect undressing of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2007 season's playoff opener, Brady has shriveled up into a shell of his former self.

Remember, this is the same guy who most sane people had placed in the same breath as Joe Montana after nine straight playoff wins, three Super Bowls, to open his career.

Since then, he is 5-5, currently riding a three-game playoff losing streak. Two of those were here, the third was on neutral turf in Super Bowl XLII - and in all three the Pats were more than a touchdown favorite.

Yesterday, Brady played like Matt Cassel in his playoff debut. He danced and tiptoed in the pocket, seeking out answers downfield with little or no success.

"He just couldn't get a beat on us," said New York defensive end Shaun Ellis. "It was one of those things where he was expecting one thing and we showed him another."

Brady finished the effort at 29 of 45 for 299 yards, a pair of TDs and an interception, with a QB rating of 89.0

On paper, that might be acceptable, but most of his work was fourth-quarter window dressing against the Jets' prevent coverage.

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