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Tom Brady is the comeback king in the playoffs.

From his past two Super Bowl wins to the AFC championship game rally against
Jacksonville that got the Patriots to the NFL’s biggest stage for the third in
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no quarterback has engineered more late-game playoff comebacks than Brady.

But he is not alone. Whether it was Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans
in the wild-card round against Kansas City earlier this postseason, or Russell
Wilson against Green Bay in (2015) or Andrew Luck against the Chiefs the
previous year, there have been as many playoff comebacks from at least 10 points
down in the fourth quarter the past five seasons as there were the previous 26
seasons.

”What happens is instead of playing the team, they start playing the clock.
Sometimes you win and sometimes you go against a bad boy like Tom Brady and you
get burned,” former Colts receiver and current NFL Network analyst Reggie Wayne
said. ”A lot of that falls onto the coaches. The players are going to run what
the coaches call.”

Whether it’s Atlanta failing to run the ball enough late in last year’s Super
Bowl that helped the Patriots rally from 28-3 down to win in overtime or
Seattle’s decision to pass at the goal line instead of hand it to Marshawn Lynch
back in 2015, questionable coaching decisions have contributed to some of those
comebacks.

But nobody is better at exploiting those mistakes than Brady and the
Patriots. He has four playoff wins in games he trailed by at least 10 points in
the fourth quarter, including the ”Tuck Rule” game against Oakland in 2002. No
other quarterback has led more than one such comeback in playoff history.

”There’s a great belief no matter what the circumstances, that we have enough
to overcome it,” Brady said. ”I don’t think we want to try to overcome that
again this year. That was pretty tough to do. Hopefully we can get a lead, play
from ahead, play on our terms.”

The Patriots are comfortable when that happens. They are 6-6 in the playoffs
when trailing after three quarters under Brady and coach Bill
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, while the rest of the NFL has a 27-140 record in that
span with only Russell Wilson and Eli Manning having more than two
fourth-quarter comebacks with four each.

Not that it is by design.

”That whole comeback thing is overrated,” said NFL Network analyst Willie
McGinest, who won three Super Bowl titles as Brady’s teammate in New England.
”Players can’t go in and say, `Hey, we want to win this game in dramatic
fashion, be down 11 with eight minutes to go and come back and have the crowd go
crazy.’ You want to be in control, play a certain way and be in front. Because
that changes how you play the game.”

The biggest deficit overcome to win a Super Bowl before last season was just
10 points and the Patriots were the first team to overcome a deficit that big in
the second half when they did it against the Seahawks three years ago.

The only other teams to come back from 10 points down to win a Super Bowl
faced those deficits early in the second quarter with New Orleans rallying
against Indianapolis in 2010 and Washington against Denver in 1988.

Brady’s postseason passer rating when trailing in fourth quarter the past
four years is a staggering 121.2, compared to 75.6 for the rest of the NFL.

In last year’s Super Bowl comeback, the Falcons appeared to tire and
struggled to generate pressure, sending more than four pass rushers on just two
of 24 pass plays in the fourth quarter.

The Jaguars also only brought more than four rushers on two of 15
fourth-quarter pass plays in the AFC title game when New England came back from
20-10 down to win 24-20.

”What teams do wrong is they go zone,” Wayne said. ”He’s going to pick zone
apart all day Mikael
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, every day. He’s going to spread you out and
they’re the best at creating mismatches.”

The rest of the NFL can dispense with any notions of luring Drew Brees away
from the team – and city – where the star quarterback has flourished for more
than a decade now.

Two people familiar with the contract say Brees has agreed to a two-year, $50
million extension with the New Orleans Saints. The people say $27 million is
guaranteed in the first year.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Tuesday
because the agreement has not been announced.

Brees, who turned 39 in January, was due to become a free agent on Wednesday.
But he has said he wanted to finish his career in New Orleans, where he has
played since 2006, won a Super Bowl and led what has been one of the most
productive offenses in the NFL since he and coach Sean Payton arrived.

”I’ll be here as long as they’ll have me,” Brees said after last season ended
in January.

Now his return is assured to a team that came within one play of advancing to
last season’s NFC championship game, falling at Minnesota when the Vikings
scored an unlikely, 61-yard touchdown on the final play of their
divisional-round NFC playoff game.

Last season, Brees completed an NFL-record 72 percent of his passes for 4,334
yards and 23 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He ranked fourth in the NFL
in yards passing and the Saints ranked second in the NFL in total offense.

A second-round draft choice by San Diego in 2001 Womens
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, Brees has passed for 70,445 yards and 488
touchdowns in 17 seasons – 58,097 yards and 408 touchdowns in 12 seasons with
New Orleans.

He has passed for more than 5,000 yards in a season five times, most recently
in 2016. In 2011, Brees was at the helm of an offense that gained an NFL-record
7,474 yards.

By the time Brees’ new contract expires, he could very well be the NFL’s
all-time leader in yards and touchdowns passing. Currently, Peyton Manning holds
those marks with 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns. Brett Favre also is ahead of
Brees – for now – with 71, 838 yards and 508 TDs passing.

Brees has been New Orleans’ franchise player during the franchise’s greatest
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, which has been highlighted by a Super Bowl
championship in the 2009 season and five other playoff seasons.

He arrived when his NFL future was uncertain, as was the future of Hurricane
Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. Coming off throwing-shoulder surgery, Brees led the
Saints – who had gone 3-13 the year before he arrived – to their first NFC title
game.

In the process, Brees and the Saints became a symbol of New Orleans’
resurgence after the storm that flooded 80 percent of the city, flourishing
together during the past decade-plus of recovery.

”Certainly, the relationship with this city will always play a strong role in
me wanting to be here and … wanting to finish my career here,” Brees said.

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