Brady may not have been six-touchdowns-against-the-Broncos Brady. He wasn't even 26-of-28-against-the-Jaguars Brady. But he was pretty close.
The future Hall of Famer completed 25-of-40 throws for 344 yards, three touchdowns and zero picks. His QB rating was a staggering 115.0 and he entered a few (more) record books in the process (via ESPN Stats & Info and the Patriots' official Twitter account):
A win tomorrow would move Tom Brady into 1st place for most playoff wins by a QB in @nfl history.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 12, 2013
The scary part isn't the fact that Brady is arguably the most dangerous quarterback alive in January in February. It's the fact that in 2013, he can afford to be average
For the first time in a while, Brady has a dominant run game behind him and a stellar defense to back him up.
Stevan Ridley, who gained over 1,300 total yards and found pay dirt 12 times during the regular season, gives Brady his most dangerous backfield mate since Corey Dillon.
But when Shane Vereen is tallying 124 total yards and three touchdowns as a mere "complement back," then this offense gets just a tad bit frightening.
Even safety Chris Harris knows it:
The Patriots with Tom Brady + legit running game = Dangerous— Chris Harris (@ChrisHarrisNFL) January 13, 2013
The Patriots will reportedly be without Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the playoffs, but if you show me an offense with Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd, Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, I'll show you an offense that could score 24 points per game under Tim Tebow.
Let alone Tom freakin' Brady.
Is this the most balanced Patriots team of the past 15 years?
On defense, the Pats are better than most people recognize.
Sure, they gave up 425 total yards on Sunday, but the run defense, which ranked sixth in yards per attempt allowed during the regular season, quietly held Arian Foster to an average of 4.1 yards per carry.
The secondary can still be beaten and the special teams wasn't so special on Sunday, but the presence in the running game on both sides of the ball makes this an incredibly balanced team, which in turn takes a lot of pressure of Tom Brady.
That makes him the favorite to win his fourth Super Bowl.