New England Patriots: Top 5 AFC Championship game moments

New England Patriots Tom Brady (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
New England Patriots Tom Brady (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots Troy Brown (Rick Stewart /Getty Images) /

5. Troy Brown punt return – Pittsburgh Steelers (2001)

Late in January, the 2 seeded New England Patriots traveled to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers with a Super Bowl berth on the line. The Patriots were huge underdogs, looking to upset.

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After the first Patriots drive resulted in a punted ball to Pittsburgh, the Steelers also were forced to punt. Troy Brown received the punt, avoided a few tackles, and took it to the house; giving the Patriots a very early 7-0 lead and all the momentum.

The Patriots grabbed the early lead and never looked back. The Steelers were able to claw themselves back into the game in the 3rd quarter with 2 quick scores, bringing them down 4 points entering the final frame of the game.

The New England Patriots controlled the ball for most of the fourth quarter after Adam Vinatieri drilled an early 44 yard field goal, giving New England a 24-17 lead. The score would hold, sending the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXVI to take on the “Greatest Show on Turf” in the St. Louis Rams. The rest is history, as the Patriots were able to pull off the upset, which ultimately jump started the dynasty.