Patriots on Their Way to 9th Super Bowl After 36-17 Win Over Steelers in AFC Championship Game

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Fireworks cracked overhead. Tom Brady slipped on an oversized parka the Internet made fun of and sat on the bench, doling out all the fist bumps that came his way. The fans here, as the Jumbotron showed recording artist Jon Bon Jovi dancing in owner Robert Kraft’s suite, belted out Livin’ On A Prayer.

This was all during a TV timeout with 2:44 still left to play in the third quarter, but by this point, they were merely waiting on formalities.

The New England Patriots were on their way to the seventh Super Bowl of the Brady-Bill Belichick era.

The Patriots thumped the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night in the AFC Championship Game 36-17 to secure their date in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons on Feb. 5 in Houston. It will be New England’s NFL-record ninth trip to the title game.

Brady carved apart Pittsburgh’s secondary, throwing for a postseason career-high 384 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. This marked Brady’s ninth postseason game with at least three passing touchdowns, tying Joe Montana for most in NFL history.

The Steelers could not generate a pass rush, and New England’s offensive line gave Brady ample time to throw.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Lorenzo Reyes