How many quarterbacks in the NFL could have stepped under center with his team trailing by 28 points with just over 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter and led his team back into the game?
After the Patriots pulled to within three touchdowns at 31-10 with just under six minutes left in the third quarter, not even the most ardent Patriots fan was thinking comeback.
When New England opened the fourth quarter with another touchdown to cut the deficit to 14 points, you started to think, "If the Pats can get another stop, maybe..."
It wasn't until Brady connected with Aaron Hernandez on a five-yard touchdown less than three minutes later, pulling to within seven points, that people said "No way...is he really going to pull this off?!"
And when he finally did the unthinkable, leading New England on its fourth consecutive touchdown drive, capped off by Danny Woodhead's second rushing touchdown of the game with 6:43 remaining in the game, it was once again clear that we were watching one of the all-time greats do what he does best.
Via Twitter, B/R's NFL draft guru, Matt Miller, offered his commentary on what was transpiring at Gillette Stadium:
Tom Brady. Sweet Jesus. Just sit back, sip your drink and enjoy watching one of the NFL's greatest players of all-time.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 17, 2012
Johnny Manziel, winner of the 2012 Heisman Trophy put things a bit more bluntly (via Twitter):
Tom Brady is A BAD DUDE!— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) December 17, 2012
A bad dude, indeed.
Sure, Brady ultimately fell short of his goal of winning the game, but not only did he lead the Patriots back from the brink of suffering a blowout and turn it into a shootout, he also managed to put his team in position to win—or tie—the game with 38 seconds remaining.
And he did all of that in about 25 minutes.
Some will be quick to point to the fact that Denver's Peyton Manning overcame a 24-point deficit against the San Diego Chargers and won earlier this season, but there's no comparison to be made. San Francisco's defense is on a different level than San Diego's.
Just as Tom Brady is on a different level than every other quarterback in the NFL.