Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 10/8/13
Tom Brady is on pace to have by far the worst statistical season of his 13-year career as the New England Patriots starting quarterback. So at the age of 36, is Brady finally beginning to decline? The numbers indicate it's possible, because his completion percentage, touchdown percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating all dropped off last season and seem to be continuing in that downward direction this season.  Of course, it doesn't help that three of Brady's top five receivers right now -- Josh Boyce, Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson -- are straight-up rookies. Danny Amendola has missed three of the first five games and he hasn't had an overwhelming amount of support from a solid-but-not-spectacular running game.  Brady has had 17 passes dropped thus far, which ranks second in the league behind only Sam Bradford. But even when you take those drops into account, Pro Football Focus has determined that Brady has been merely the 32nd most accurate quarterback in the league this season, behind guys like Christian Ponder, Geno Smith, Jake Locker, Cam Newton, Brandon Weeden and Matt Schaub.  He's facing a little more pressure, per PFF, but still less than most of his quarterback peers. And yet he has completed just five deep passes, which ranks in the bottom half of the league. Yes, he's on pace to give up more pressures than last year, but by only a slim margin. And yes, his receivers are on pace to drop more passes than last year, but only by a margin of half a drop per game.  Maybe it's the competition? The Bengals defense is good and the weather was certainly a factor as Brady's touchdown streak ended Sunday, but the Bucs, Falcons and Bills rank in the middle of the pack defensively and none rank higher than 10th against the pass.  So the reality is that Brady is probably declining a little bit, but his supporting cast hasn't made things easy. He's playing with a lot of inexperienced dudes, and intangible factors like bad routes and poor communication have definitely played a role. 

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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