Tom Brady has been having one of his better seasons, but no one ever seems to notice
It feels like a lot of the talk this season with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is about how he isn’t the same quarterback he once was. People have been blaming losses on Tom Brady, taking him from the tiers of the elite to the next level of quarterbacks and making assumptions that it seems that he can no longer be the best quarterback on a Super Bowl winning team.
All this despite these facts:
Tom Brady’s interception percentage is at a 0.9. The last time he posted numbers that low over a full season, he became the first unanimous MVP in league history. Oh by the way, that 0.9 leads the NFL.
He is currently on pace to post stats of 4816 yards and 32 touchdowns against only 6 interceptions. Those stats rival those of his incredible 2010 season, the same season that he became the first unanimous MVP in league history.
He is second in the league in total quarterback rating, trailing only Peyton Manning and his surgically repaired neck. For all the talk about Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck, it has been Tom Brady that has been statistically better.
Tom Brady is having as good of a season has he has ever had. So why all the backlash against his game?
Easily, fans could look at the Patriots 1-3 record in close games this season. Each of the three Patriots losses have come on a combined 5 points and Tom Brady seems to be at the forefront of that abuse. His stats have been below average in these opportunities and it has seemed like he has been less than Tom Brady like during those situations.
A couple of problems with the “Tom Brady has been bad in the fourth quarter theory”. For one, he hasn’t really gotten the opportunity to make a big difference in the fourth quarter. In the games where the Patriots have allowed a late lead slip away, the Patriots have been ultra conservative and Brady has barely gotten an opportunity to make a difference in those games. In the blowouts, they hand the ball to Stevan Ridley and Shane Vareen and let them carry the Patriots home. The one chance that Tom Brady has had to simply sling the ball and lead the Patriots into a game-tying or game-winning situation, he marched the ball down the field against the Jets twice in order to tie the game and then win the game.
Most of these issues can be put onto the play-calling. It turtles in the fourth quarter with the lead as the Patriots assume that the defense will be able to win the game for them. The issue with this is that the Patriots haven’t won a game with their defense in years and it is their offense that brings home the hypothetical bacon. They take the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands, then they expect him to convert third and longs. They can do a better job at helping Brady out.
In reality, Brady has been playing well, really well and it almost feels as if this weekend is setting up for the return of the ass-kickery of Tom Brady. All season long, he has quietly been posting the typical numbers we have come to love from the golden boy. This weekend he gets to play the Buffalo Bills, a team that the Patriots have typically had some shoot-outs with over the years. 400 yards, four touchdowns and a couple “‘eff yeah” moments are not out of the question. As the second half of the season starts, Patriots fans should expect Brady to gain steam in the MVP race.