C’mon now, Tom Brady can’t really be better than ever at age 44, can he? Common sense says no, but the numbers would disagree. Brady’s performance in his debut season in Tampa Bay last year exceeded the 16-game averages for his career. With that in mind, we figured it might be fun to compare Brady’s weekly numbers in 2021 (at 44) with his stats in 2011 (at 34) and 2001 (at 24).
The 24-year-old Brady in Game 10
A miserable week for Brady, but a turning point in his career. For the first time since being injured in Week 2 against the Jets, quarterback Drew Bledsoe was active and on the sidelines. It wasn’t a huge surprise that Brady was still on the field because Bledsoe had very little practice time, but after throwing two interceptions in a 24-17 loss to St. Louis, Brady’s status as starter was being questioned. “Ask Bill Belichick about that,” Brady said when asked to review his performance. Belichick was non-committal on Sunday but, a day later, threw his support behind Brady. “I don’t see any changes this week,” Belichick said. Bledsoe, who had signed the NFL’s richest contract in the offseason, was on his way out of New England.
The 34-year-old Brady in Game 10
Romeo Crennel, who was New England’s defensive coordinator during Brady’s first four seasons in the NFL, had moved on to Kansas City after a brief stint as a head coach in Cleveland. Crennel had something special planned for Brady in this Monday Night Football game. The Chiefs sacked Brady three times in the first half and put him on the ground after several other passes. Brady eventually found his groove and threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns on only 27 attempts as the Patriots won 34-3.
The 44-year-old Brady in Game 10
Just a quiet day at the office for the old guy. Brady threw for 307 yards in the 30-10 victory against the Giants, completing passes to eight different receivers. His numbers should have been a lot better except two long completions were negated by penalties and he got dinged for an interception when a ball bounced out of receiver Mike Evans’ hands. It was Brady’s 19th victory on Monday Night Football, tying him with Brett Favre for second place. If he wants to match Dan Marino’s NFL record of 20 Monday night wins, Brady will have to (hint, hint) return in 2022.
Season totals through Game 10
Brady in 2001
Completed 159 of 248 for 1,611 yards, with 12 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 5-3 record.
Brady in 2011
Completed 253 of 389 for 3,266 yards, with 25 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 7-3 record.
Brady in 2021
Completed 284 of 423 for 3,177 yards with 29 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 7-3 record.
It’s never wise to doubt Brady’s resolve. He may have thrown a few too many checkdowns last week in a loss to Washington, but he came out firing against the Giants on Monday night. Brady is now averaging 317.7 yards per game in 2021, which would be the second-highest total of his career. With 29 touchdown passes, he has already surpassed his total from 13 of his previous seasons. And he still has seven games to go.
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John Romano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @romano_tbtimes.
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