Branch grabs glory

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

When you are a receiver with the New England Patriots you have a way of getting lost in the shuffle.

Quarterback Tom Brady likes to mix and match with his legion of capable ball catchers to keep opposing defences guessing.

Deion Branch found a way to distinguish himself last night at Alltel Stadium here in Jacksonville, and as a result was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX.

"Our plan was just to come in here and win the game," said Branch, who caught 11 passes for 133 yards, several coming on crucial third-down situations. "It doesn't make a difference who gets what, our plans were just to come in and win the game."

His 11 catches tied the Bowl record shared by Jerry Rice and former Bengal Dan Ross.

Brady, MVP of the previous two Super Bowls in which the Pats appeared, certainly was glad to have Branch, who had missed seven regular-season games because of injuries, as a target.

"Some of his best games have been Super Bowls," Brady said. "He's a very dynamic player ... I was looking to find him (last night)."

When Brady wasn't looking for Branch, he was looking to hand off to running back Corey Dillon, who made the ultimate rebound this season.

CHAMPION

After eight years of misery as a Cincinnati Bengal, Dillon is a Super Bowl champion. Dillon was held to 75 rushing yards on 18 carries, but added 31 yards on three catches.

He also scored on a two-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter which gave the Patriots a 21-14 lead that they would not relinquish.

"It has been a long season and a great one, too," Dillon said. "For the first time in my career, I enjoyed every minute of a season. The reward is great."


Videos

Photos