There were some milestones and big moments for Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLVI.
He set an NFL record for postseason completions.
At one point, he had completed 20 of 23 passes, with the incompletions being two batted-down throws and a throwaway.
He completed 16 consecutive passes, breaking a single-game Super Bowl record set by his idol, Joe Montana.
Maybe some of that will matter to him someday. But that seems doubtful. Because for whatever went right Sunday night, the ultimate goal — winning a fourth Lombardi Trophy, just like Montana — was out of reach.
“We just didn’t make enough plays,” said Brady after the Patriots’ 21-17 loss. In the first quarter, we didn’t have the ball a ton. The second quarter, we played a little better. Third quarter, we started well and it came down to the fourth quarter. [The Giants] made some plays there at the end. We went out there to win the game. We just didn’t make enough plays.
In his fifth Super Bowl, Brady completed 27 of 41 passes for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
But his one interception was a bad one — a deep pass to the determined but ailing Rob Gronkowski, who couldn’t go up as high as usual and outmuscle the Giants’ Chase Blackburn, who picked off the pass at the New York 8.
And he was also called for intentional grounding in the end zone on the Patriots’ first play from scrimmage, giving the Giants a safety and a 2-0 lead. The two points proved significant.
“We just came up a little bit short,” said Brady. “I think we had a couple of missed opportunities out there. Every guy in the locker room wishes he could have done a bit more and maybe the outcome would be a little bit different. It was a very hard fought game and we fought until the end. I’m very proud of that. I’d say we just came up a little short.”
Brady stuck up for Wes Welker, who dropped a key pass on the Patriots’ penultimate drive and was taking it hard after the game.
“Welker went up to try to make [the catch], as he always does, and we just couldn’t connect. He’s a hell of a player. I’ll keep throwing the ball to him for as long as I possibly can. He’s a phenomenal player and I love that guy.”
There will be plenty of chatter about Brady’s legacy this week. Had the Patriots won — had that last-second Hail Mary not been just out of the reach of Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez — he’d have four titles and a case as the greatest quarterback of all time. He’s still in that argument, of course, but he’s also lost two Super Bowls to Eli Manning.
“I do hope we get back here again,” Brady said. “I’ve been lucky enough to play in this game five times in 10 years. I’d love to keep coming back to this game and taking a shot. It’s better than sitting home and not playing in this game, so I hope another opportunity comes.”
Brady lamented that the Patriots offense couldn’t make that one pivotal play in the fourth quarter to tilt the game their way. Instead, it was Manning and the Giants scoring last and celebrating in front of the Patriots again, four years after they first did it.
“That is what it comes down to in football,” Brady said. ”That’s one lay. You look at our game four years ago, it was a miracle play that they made. Today we had the chance to make one of those and we couldn’t come up with it. It always comes down to one or two plays in this game and if you make it, you’re celebrating. If you don’t, then you don’t sleep for a week.”