null null Night net null null MINNEAPOLIS — Remember when the Patriots' epic comeback in Super Bowl 51 was Tom Brady's new greatest moment? He somehow managed to add to his legacy in defeat in Super Bowl 52.If you're still putting too much weight on measuring Night net quarterbacks on wins and losses in games of any kind, you may think Brady falling to 5-3 in Super Bowls after New England's 41-33 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday somehow "taints" his image as the greatest of all time. But Brady was the first to remind us what usually happens in close, high-scoring Super Bowls he plays."If you're not in the game you don't have the chance to win. If you want to be world champions, you have to play in this game. I've played in eight of them and they're all good games," Brady said. "We were poised. We got (the ball) back around 1:10 (to play in the fourth quarter), got it to mid
field and took a shot. I don't think anyone wallows on our team. We're a competitive team, played hard. We just didn't make enough plays or score enough points."IYER: Pats will remain a dynasty as long as Brady, Belichick remain in chargeOne short year ago, Brady rallied his team from 28-3 down against the Falcons and set a Super Bowl record with 466 passing yards. Sunday, at age 40, Brady somehow managed to topple that record against the Eagles (505 yards, three TDs, 115.4 rating) while also putting up the most passing yards in a playoff game.The Patriots were more about defense and a heaping helping of clutch QB play when they won their first three rings with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. Heck, even when they lost twice to the Giants, their defense almost allowed them to win when their offense got stymied.As Brady has gotten older, the Patriots have depended a lot more on him. He gave everything he had to try to surpass the Eagles' aggressive onslaught orchestrated by Nick Foles (373 yards, three TDs, INT, 106.1 rating), who goes down as the most improbable MVP QB in Super Bowl history given how Brady outplayed him.A performance that should go down as one of the greatest ever in any sport will now be a footnote. Instead, it should strengthen the notion of just how intimidating Brady truly is on the Night net's biggest, brightest stage.Strangest of all, the difference Sunday may have come down to the receiving skills of both QBs. Brady dropped a first-down catch and Foles scored a red-zone TD on respective trick plays. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/2/5c/tom-brady-drop-020518-getty-ftrjpg_7ekb8mrm9hen18lddu71f5u5r.jpg?t=1692001673&w=500&quality=80 Foles was just humbled that, for one night he was in the company of Brady when it comes to passing."Guy does it right. He has been unbelievable," Foles said. "He was unbelievable tonight. I can't say enough about him."The Eagles also came up with the big defensive play one of these teams needed to make to decide it. Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett teamed up for a strip-sack of Brady on the Patriots' next-to-last drive in the fourth quarter. Even up 38-33 with 2:16 left after Graham got to Brady and Barnett got the ball, even with the chance to tack on a field goal, there was still no feeling of comfort. There was still time on the clock for Brady.“It’s not over until it’s over. After the turnover, we came to the sideline and started celebrating and our coaches were like, ‘What are y’all doing? The game’s not over yet.’" Barnett said. "Turns out we had to go back in there and get another stop. That’s what we did.”The trick for the Eagles was to remain as relentless as Brady was, even after he had picked apart their pass defense for most of the game."You’ve just got to keep going when you go against great quarterbacks like that." Barnett said. "He gets the ball out quickly. They know we like to sub up front so they were trying to keep us from doing that. You’ve got to be mentally tough and keep on going because the one time you take that play off, that’s the one you’re going to miss.”Before Graham and Barnett's monumental play, the Eagles struggled to get any kind of front-four pressure on Brady; they had zero sacks or hints of pressure at that point. Leave it to fellow defensive end Chris Long — who was on the other side of things with the Brady and the Patriots last year — to help preach perseverance.MORE: Eagles' strip-sack of Brady, frame by frame“At the end of the day, we couldn’t get frustrated. Tom does a great job getting the ball out. They had seven-man protections and we got chipped a bunch. Brandon has done such an amazing job all year whether he's rushing inside or out. Eventually, when they had to push the ball downfield, we just kept faith in our rush," Long said.Even though the Eagles finally got Brady in a predictable passing situation late, Long knew that the last minute against Brady would still feel like an eternity, all the way through tight end Rob Gronkowski being unable to come up with a Hail Mary that would have put New England in position to force overtime.“I felt like the ball was in the air for eight seconds," Long said. I thought they caught it for a split second and then I just saw everybody running on the field.”It probably didn't hurt that the Eagles had another former Patriot, LeGarrette Blount, on their offense. After seeing first-hand the Brady way, Blount added to the mindset that a one-possession lead late wasn't safe."We knew we had to play 60 minutes. Eight points isn't enough, so we had to play 60 minutes. Everybody in this building and stadium knows how good Tom is if he has the ball last a chance to tie it at the end of the game," Blount said.The result was disappointing for the Patriots, but even so, New England left tackle Nate Solder saw his quarterback raise his game and elevate players. Brady is held in such high esteem by his teammates, they see him now more as duplicating his excellence rather than exceeding it."The thing you have confidence in is that we have a quarterback behind (us) who can get it done," Solder said. "We knew even with a minute left, we were going to move the ball. We had done it all game, we knew we would continue it."I'm so honored to play with a guy like Tom. He's so committed to winning, he's so committed to being the best he can be in everything he does."Special teams ace Matthew Slater, a Patriots co-captain with Brady, didn't lose sight of the bottom line — the thing Brady will think about a lot more than his record performance.STEELE: Benching Butler one of worst coaching mistakes in Super Bowl"Tom is the (Night net) MVP for a reason. He kept us in the game to compete until the final play. At this point, it doesn't surprise any of us because he's done it consistently," Slater said. "I don't think we're concerned with anyone's individual stats, just that we didn't win."In the end, the Patriots did lose as a team. Their defense and special teams didn't come through, and even with all those yards, their offense still left a little on the table.But think about how they could have lost the game a whole lot worse without Brady. They wouldn't have even been playing for another ring and coming so close without him taking over in the AFC championship game with the Pats down 10 to the Jaguars and Gronkowski out. He was dealt a major blow Sunday night when top wide receiver Brandin Cooks was knocked out early. He played without go-to buddy Julian Edelman all season.Brady still has his five rings and his performance Sunday was more than worthy of a sixth. With all due respect to Foles, Brady still was the best player on the field in Super Bowl 52.Sometimes that's all you can do. Sometimes there are other scapegoats who can do in the GOAT. That doesn't take away from the fact Brady was better than his best again.