How Belichick's Patriots have fared on road in playoffs
The Patriots have played in 38 postseason games in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Era . . . and very few of them have been in enemy stadiums. Of the 30 non-Super Bowl playoff games, 23 have been played in Foxboro and only 7 on the road. Sunday’s game will be the seventh. The Pats are 20-3 in the home games. And here's a look at the seven road games:
2001 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT PITTSBURGH: Patriots 24, Steelers 17
The Patriots first road playoff game with Tom Brady under center didn’t end with Tom Brady under center. Drew Bledsoe, who had been replaced by Brady in Week 2 of the regular season due to injury, came on after Brady got hurt during the game, and helped the Patriots to a big win in Pittsburgh. Still, this game was won with special teams and defense. Troy Brown returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown to open up the scoring, and then in the second half picked up a blocked field-goal attempt and lateraled it to teammate Antwan Harris (pictured) for a touchdown that made it 21-3. The defense had three interceptions, and Steelers running backs were shut down. The Patriots were Super Bowl-bound.
PATS' BRADY/BELICHICK ROAD RECORD: 1-0
2004 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT PITTSBURGH: Patriots 41, Steelers 27
The Patriots stamped their third Super Bowl ticket in four years, once again knocking off the Steelers in their own back yard. Rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who earlier in the regular season beat the Patriots, was overwhelmed this time around, failing to take his team on a touchdown drive until the third quarter when the score was 24-3. Before that, Brady and Patriots had gone to work. Brady hit Deion Branch for a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and then he hit David Patten for another in the second quarter. Rodney Harrison’s 87-yard pick-six made it 24-3 before the half, and Corey Dillon’s 25-yard touchdown run put the Patriots up 31-10 midway though the third. They’d go on to win, 41-27.
PATS' BRADY/BELICHICK ROAD RECORD: 2-0
2005 AFC SEMIFINALS AT DENVER: Broncos 27, Patriots 13
For the first time under Bill Belichick, the Patriots lost a playoff game. With the Patriots looking to go ahead 14-10 in the third quarter, Tom Brady’s pass from the 5-yard line was picked off by Champ Bailey in the end zone and returned 100 yards for what was almost a touchdown. Ben Watson, chasing Bailey all the way down the field, caught up with him and knocked the ball from him at the 1-yard line. Or did it go out of bounds in the end zone, which would have given the ball back to New England? The refs said no, and the die was cast for defeat.
PATS' BRADY/BELICHICK ROAD RECORD: 2-1
2006 AFC SEMIFINALS AT SAN DIEGO: Patriots 24, Chargers 21
The Patriots went into San Diego to face league MVP LaDanian Tomlinson and the 14-2 Chargers in the Divisional Round . . . and they left there moving on to the AFC Championship. Brady had the worst playoff game of his career -- up until the last couple drives he'd thrown three interceptions and found himself down 21-13 -- but, thanks to Troy Brown's strip of Marlon McCree (who'd made what should have been a game-clinching interception) -- drove them back to a 24-21 victory that they clinched on Stephen Gostkowski's last-second field goal. They celebrated by doing Shawn Merriman's 'Lights Out' dance on the Bolt midfield logo, which infuriated Tomlinson and still rubs some Chargers the wrong way.
PATS' BRADY/BELICHICK ROAD RECORD: 3-1
2006 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP AT INDIANAPOLIS: Colts 38, Patriots 34
The third time was a charm for Peyton Manning, who had previously lost his first two playoff games against the Patriots. But with this one in Indianapolis, the Patriots couldn’t hold on to their cushy 21-6 halftime lead. They were still ahead by three with 3:49 remaining in the fourth quarter before Manning took the Colts 80 yards, finishing with a Joseph Addai three-yard run with one minute left. There was no Brady magic this time. He was picked off by Marlin Jackson and the Manning Colts would go on to win their only Super Bowl.
PATS' BRADY/BELICHICK ROAD RECORD: 3-2
2013 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP AT DENVER: Broncos 26, Patriots 16
Having lost Rob Gronkowski to a torn ACL, the Pats were left scratching and clawing for offense any way they could get it. The Broncos? They didn’t have that problem. Peyton Manning had landed in Denver and found the Fountain of Youth (for a season-and-a-half, anyway). He had plenty of weapons in his arsenal and when then-Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib went down with a knee injury, they became that much easier to use. The Broncos raced out to a 23-3 lead and easily held on for the win.
PATS' BRADY/BELICHICK ROAD RECORD: 3-3
2015 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP AT DENVER: Broncos 20, Patriots 18
It was the last Tom Brady-Peyton Manning battle . . . and what a battle it was. Manning, his arm reduced to the strength of wet spaghetti by age and injury, summoned the old magic just long enough to give Denver the lead. That let the Broncos' carniverous defense pin back their ears and get after Brady. He was hurried 18 times, knocked down 14 times, sacked four times, and threw two damaging interceptions on rushed throws. And yet he almost pulled out a miracle. With 12 seconds left, he threw a four-yard TD pass to Gronk on fourth down that made the score 20-18. But Talib, now in Denver orange, broke up the potential game-tying two-point conversion pass, giving the Broncos the victory and setting the stage for their Super Bowl victory.
PATS' BRADY/BELICHICK ROAD RECORD: 3-4