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January 14, 2013

NFL Wolverines: Tom Brady breaking playoff records

Once again, former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady headlines the Wolverines in the NFL, having led his New England team to the AFC Championship game. Here's the playoff update

NFL Playoff Wolverines
Played at Michigan
Tom Brady
New England Patriots

Brady connected on 401 of 637 passes for 4,827 yards with 34 touchdowns and eight picks in the regular season, and he also rushed for four scores this year for the 12-4 (No. 2 AFC seed) Patriots. He finished seventh among NFL starters in passer rating (98.7), fourth in passing yards and fourth in touchdown passes.

Brady has led the Patriots to the playoffs in 10 of his 13 seasons, only missing them once as the starter (2002). He broke San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana's record for playoff wins by a starter (17) in a 41-28 victory over Houston in an AFC Divisional contest Sunday.

Brady completed 25 of 40 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.

"We all follow him," head coach Bill Belichick said. "We all respect him. He led the team today, along with a lot of other guys, but he certainly did his part, as he's done many times before.

"There's no quarterback I'd rather have than Tom Brady - we used some different formations, tried to move guys around and as Tom usually does, he finds the best match-ups depending on the route and the coverage and does a great job getting the ball to the guys that have a great opportunity to win on those routes."

Brady and New England will host the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday at 6:30 in the AFC title game.

"I think the two best teams are in the finals," Brady said. "Baltimore certainly deserves to be here, and so do we. It's very fitting. We played them earlier in the year and they got us. We blew a pretty good lead there at the end, and we're going to have to play our best game this week."

Brady needs one more Super Bowl victory to tie Montana and Terry Bradshaw's record of four each. With 227 yards next week, he can become the all-time leader in postseason passing yards, and with 41 touchdowns, he's only four shy of Montana's all-time record of 45. Brady also has the highest playoff winning percentage by a starting quarterback at .739, better than Bradshaw (.736), Troy Aikman (.733) and Montana (.696).
Alan Branch
Seattle Seahawks

Branch recorded 16 solo tackles, one sack for four yards, one tackle for loss, 14 assists, two pass break-ups and five quarterback hurries in 16 starts this year and enjoyed a very good game in Seattle's upset win at Washington. He started and notched one solo tackle in the Seahawks' 30-28 loss at Atlanta in an NFC Divisional game Sunday.
Jonathan Goodwin
San Francisco 49ers

Goodwin started all 16 games this season for 11-4-1 and NFC No. 2 seed San Francisco, which beat Green Bay, 45-31, in an NFC Divisional game Sunday. Goodwin has already won one Super Bowl (with New Orleans) and made it to the NFC title game a year ago with the 49ers - San Francisco will play at Atlanta Sunday (3:30) for the right to go to the Super Bowl.
Tim Jamison
Houston Texans

Jamison blew out his Achilles and was lost for the year in a 42-24 loss to Green Bay in Week Six, so he didn't play in Houston's 41-28 AFC Divisional game loss at New England. He notched two solo tackles, one assist, a sack for 12 yards, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hurry and one pass break-up in six games this year.
Mario Manningham
San Francisco 49ers

Manningham's last reception of the year was a catch for no yards, followed by a fumble in a 42-13 loss at Seattle in Week 16, one in which he suffered a torn ACL ad PCL and was lost for the year. He missed San Francisco's 45-31 NFC Divisional game win over Green Bay as a result.

Manningham hauled in 41 passes for 449 yards and a touchdown and rushed three times for 64 yards in 11 games (nine starts) this year.
Zoltan Mesko
New England Patriots

Mesko punted 60 times this year, averaging 43.2 yards per kick (37.9 net) and dropping 28 inside the 20. He was outstanding in an AFC Divisional win over Houston, averaging 52.8 yards on five punts in a 41-28 win (49.4 net) and dropping two inside the 20.
Charles Woodson
Green Bay Packers

Woodson returned from a broken collarbone suffered in a 30-20 win at St. Louis in Week Seven to notch four solo tackles, two assists and a tackle for loss in a wildcard win over Minnesota - he recorded five solo tackles, an assist and two pass break-ups in a 45-31 NFC Divisional loss at San Francisco.

The AP speculates the 36-year-old Woodson may have played his last game in Green Bay. Former Raiders teammates spoke recently of just what a change of scenery meant to his career: Woodson article

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