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Brady won't need Luck against the Colts, but after that...

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  January 6, 2014 09:15 AM

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Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes, the first four of his playoff resume, Saturday in Indianapolis’ improbable comeback victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to kick off the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend. It was only the second playoff game for the notable Luck, hype be damned.

Tom Brady, the quarterback he’ll face this weekend when the Colts take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the divisional round? He threw his fourth career postseason touchdown pass in his sixth postseason game, believe it or not, in the Super Bowl win over the Carolina Panthers, despite coming into that game with a career 5-0 playoff record.

On the flip side, Luck also threw three interceptions against the Chiefs Saturday, giving him four postseason turnovers in two games. Brady? It took him until his 11th playoff game to throw his fourth, which also just happened to be the first playoff loss of his career at Denver in 2005.

Since that 38-34 loss to the Broncos, Brady is only 7-6 in the playoffs, albeit with a pair of Super Bowl appearances under his belt. He’s thrown 27 touchdown passes over that span, including six against the Tim Tebow-led Broncos two years ago. Interceptions over the same timeframe? Try 17.

When he was 10-0, Brady possessed a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 14-to-3, a clear reason why (other than having a superior defense over those years), Brady has been an average playoff quarterback going on almost a decade now. There’s still no other quarterback you’d rather have behind center. For the most part. Guys like Luck and, dare I say it, (gulp) Colin Kapernick can make you think after watching their performances over the weekend.

Guys like Andy Dalton can make you want to sign Brady to a 10-year extension immediately.

In what the Chargers proved you could do with costly turnover after turnover against the Bengals Sunday, the Chiefs failed to capitalize on against the Colts on Saturday, as their defense started to resemble Frosty in the greenhouse, a puddle of its former self. How much of the game to we attest to Luck’s coming out party, and how much do we attest to the fact that T.Y. Hilton is still beating the coverage as we speak?

In his first playoff game of the year since 2006, Brady has put up a quarterback rating greater than 100 in five of the seven years. The only two times he hasn’t: the pathetic playoff losses to the Ravens and Jets in back-to-back years. In those games, his TD-to-interception ratio is a sparkling 21-to-5.

But each time he hit the century mark in those games, his performance dipped dramatically the following week, A 74 against Denver in 2006, 57.6 against San Diego in 2007, 66.5 against the Chargers the following year, 57.5 against the Ravens two years ago, and 62.3 against Baltimore last year.

If that recent resume holds true, this week, with the bye behind them, will be a cake walk for the Patriots against the Colts. But it’s been a long time since Brady has had a solid AFC Championship game, the 41-27 win at Pittsburgh in which he threw two touchdowns, no interceptions, and had a 130.5 rating remaining the last standout performance. That was in 2005.

Luck’s a nice storyline, but he’s not coming away from here with a win.

Unfortunately, based on what we know about Brady over the last decade or so, the Broncos or Chargers may have the right to say the same about the Pats quarterback in a week’s time.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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