Mike Vrabel
Patriots ace No. 18

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Throughout the NFL season, quarterback Tom Brady carried his New England teammates when they needed him most. Sunday, it was the rest of the Patriots who did the lifting. With a trip to Super Bowl XLII at stake and NFL history hanging in the balance, the Patriots relied on their stout defense and clock-burning running game to beat San Diego, 21-12, turning back an inspired effort by the banged-up Chargers. It was an oh-so-close call for the undefeated Patriots, who overcame three interceptions by Brady and on three occasions stopped the Chargers inside the New England 10-yard line. Said linebacker Mike Vrabel: "It was probably our time to win a game." ...