- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 13, 2008

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady was almost perfect. The Patriots still are.

Their poised and prolific quarterback knocked another mark out of the books in their record-breaking season, completing all but two of his 28 passes to lead New England to its second straight AFC Championship game with a 31-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars last night.

The Patriots pulled away in the second half to improve to 17-0, matching the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only team to go unbeaten from the first game of the season through the Super Bowl.

Two more wins and the Patriots will join them — much to the chagrin of some of those Dolphins.

Just one more win next Sunday at Gillette Stadium will put the Patriots back in the Super Bowl for the first time in three years after three championships in the previous four years. They’ll face the winner of today’s game between San Diego and Indianapolis, which beat New England in last year’s AFC title game.

“We’re definitely going to enjoy it,” defensive end Richard Seymour said. “Winning is always the most important thing at this time of the year.”

Brady completed 92.9 percent of his passes, breaking Phil Simms’ record of 88 percent (22-for-25) set in the Super Bowl after the 1986 season in which he led the New York Giants to a 39-20 win over the Denver Broncos.

And Brady did it mostly without Randy Moss, who had only one catch.

He hit all the other receivers — throwing for three touchdowns and 262 yards.

Tom is terrific,” Seymour said. “He’s a great leader and he does all the little things.”

While Jacksonville’s defense struggled to stop Brady and crew, New England’s defense had no such problems against the Jaguars‘ one-two rushing punch of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. The league’s second-most productive duo during the regular season combined for just 66 yards.

It was the Patriots who dominated on the ground as Laurence Maroney rushed for 122 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown.

Add Brady’s on-target passing to these regular-season records — 50 touchdown passes by Brady, 23 scoring catches by Moss and 589 points by the team — and Jacksonville (12-6) became just another team that couldn’t stop the Patriots.

And they’re not done yet.

Brady completed his first 16 passes before the next one went off the hands of Benjamin Watson, who caught two others for touchdowns.

Story Continues →