Brady-to-Branch leads to MVP

Patriots receiver ties record with 11 catches

Knight Ridder Newspapers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Deion Branch is the proud father of twin boys, and he has separate Super Bowl performances for each of them.

Now he just has to work on winning a second Pete Rozelle Trophy as Super Bowl MVP.

A year after turning in one of the top receiving performances in Super Bowl history -- and celebrating quarterback Tom Brady's MVP honor -- Branch set a new standard for himsedf Sunday night in New England's 24-21 victory against Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX.


Branch, a diminutive slot receiver who last collected MVP hardware as the best player on his high-school soccer team, was a linchpin in New England's ability to create a 10-point, second-half margin the Eagles could not overcome.

Branch caught 11 passes, tying a Super Bowl record set by Cincinnati's Dan Ross and equaled by Jerry Rice. Every time the Patriots needed a first down, it seemed Brady fired in Branch's direction, and the 5-foot-9 third-year pro delivered just as he did on this same stage a year ago.

"Deion, his best games are in Super Bowls," Brady said. "He's a very dynamic player. I was looking to find him today. He was getting open."

Branch had 133 receiving yards.

"Our plan was just to come here and win the game," said Branch.

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