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Brady has been brilliant all season, starting with a total of 940 yards passing and seven touchdown throws in his first two games. And in his last nine - all wins - he’s thrown for 25 scores and just three interceptions.

“We never look at the individual. We all try and do our job,” defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “If [Brady] plays well, everyone else plays well. When he has an off day, we try to rally around him as a team to help Tom and the offense. We aren’t going to get 20-30 points all the time.”

Of course not. There was that one game, on Oct. 30 at Pittsburgh, when they scored only 17.

Brady’s six scoring passes Saturday matched his career high. He completed 26 of 34 passes for 363 yards, a team record for a postseason game. He wasn’t sacked, hardly even pressured, all game.

“That’s Tom, week-in-and-week-out,” running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis said, “so I don’t think anyone else in this locker room or in this country would expect anything else from him.”

It wasn’t always that promising.

The Patriots were just 5-3 and had lost two consecutive games for just the third time in nine seasons. Their defense, last in the league at the time, was getting pushed around.

It was time for Brady’s bunch to turn things around.

They beat the Jets in New York 37-16 to start the nine-game winning streak. In three of the last four games, they’ve scored more than 41 points. The only other time that happened since Brady arrived in 2000 was in 2007 when they did it in three consecutive games and four of five.

That team had Randy Moss, the deep threat who caught an NFL-record 23 touchdowns.

This one has Gronkowski and Hernandez, the short, middle and deep targets who combined for 24 in the regular season and, in just one playoff game, another four.

“These two are changing the game,” guard Brian Waters said. “If you decide to take away one, that opens things up for the other. You add the fact that we have receiving threats and some good guys at the running back position. It limits the things you can do defensively as far as trying to take one person out of the game. That’s something that we are able to take advantage of.”

The danger doesn’t end when they get their hands on the ball. Often, it’s just starting.

On the Patriots third play against the Broncos, Gronkowski caught a 7-yard pass and ran for another nine. On the fourth, Hernandez tricked the defense by lining up at running back and rambling 43 yards. And on the next play, Brady found Welker for a 7-yard touchdown pass.

Three plays, three ballhandlers, one impressive drive against a befuddled defense.

Story Continues →