JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Neon Deion.
Deion Branch is not the biggest name in the game. But yesterday, in Super Bowl XXXIX, he was the name in the biggest game.
Branch tied a Super Bowl record with 11 catches for 133 yards to be named MVP.
"A couple of Deion's biggest games have been Super Bowl games," said quarterback Tom Brady of the receiver who became his go-to guy when he was going nowhere against the Philadelphia Eagles in the early stages of the game.
A DYNAMITE PLAYER
"He's a dynamite player. He can do it all. He was huge in this game."
Coach Bill Belichick said once they got to the game of pass and catch, his team started to roll.
"Obviously Branch had a big day.
"He made some big catches. And Tom made some good decisions."
Brady, last year's Super Bowl MVP, was 23 for 33 passing. No other receiver managed to catch more than three.
It wasn't until the Eagles had a 7-0 lead and had out-first-downed the defending Super Bowl champions that Brady started hitting Branch and opening up the offence.
Brady took two runs at the end zone late in the second quarter, turning the ball over inside the 10 on the first trip, only to bring the Brady bunch back to the same spot and find David Givens in the end zone to tie it up.
Brady picked up where he left off to start the second half, and went to last year's Super Bowl playbook to borrow Mike Vrabel from defence to finish off an opening series touchdown drive.
Donovan McNabb managed to bring the Eagles back in their turn with the ball, using running back Brian Westbrook for all he was worth, including the touchdown play to make it 14-14 and become the first Super Bowl in history to be tied after three quarters.
FOUND HIS GAME
But Brady had found his game. He turned the Patriots right back around and drove Corey Dillon for another go-ahead touchdown.
A follow up Adam Vinatieri field goal and this one was about to be history and headed to the history books.
"I'm glad that we just came in and fought hard," said Branch.
"We won a big game. We had a lot of doubters and we showed them that we are a big team and came out and won tonight," said the MVP.
"We regrouped and figured out what we were doing wrong and then went out and got it right.
"It was a lot of hard work all week. We played a tough defence.
"They're a game plan team. We didn't know what we were going to see until we got to the game."