Come on, Tom Brady can’t really be better than ever at 44, can he? Common sense says no, but the numbers would disagree. Brady’s performance in his debut season at Tampa Bay last year topped his career average of 16 games. With that in mind, we thought 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).
Brady, 24, in Game 8
If you’re looking for a starting point for the New England Dynasty, start with this game. The Patriots beat the Falcons 24-10 on the road to 4-4 midway through the season. More importantly, the formula for a strong defense and a smart, efficient attack was starting to kick in. Throwing primarily at his running backs, Brady was 21 of 31 for 250 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The Pats’ defense, meanwhile, was on the verge of a remarkable streak. Including the playoffs, New England kept their opponents under 20 points in 11 of the following 12 games.
Brady, 34, in Game 8
A look at what was to come for Brady and the Patriots against the Giants in the Super Bowl in three months. New England trailed New York 10-3 early in the fourth quarter, but Brady led the Pats on back-to-back scorched records and a 13-10 lead. After the Giants scored a touchdown, Brady took New England on to another TD for a 20-17 lead. And, again, Eli Manning led the Giants on an 80-yard rush in the final two minutes for a 24-20 victory. Brady finished 28 of 49 for 342 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns.
Brady, 44, in Game 8
Even legends sometimes soil the sheets. The Bucs were fortunate enough to beat the Saints on Sunday thanks to some good decisions and Brady’s throws, but things inexplicably went haywire as they trailed 29-27 in the final two minutes. After throwing for four touchdowns and over 350 yards, Brady threw deep towards Mike Evans on double cover on the first down, then threw straight into PJ Williams’ hands while trying to hit Chris Godwin in the field as Evans was wide open below. For the game, Brady lost a fumble and threw two interceptions.
Season totals through game 8
Brady in 2001
Finished 125 of 200 for 1,319 yards, with 10 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 4-2 record.
Brady in 2011
Finished 212 of 321 for 2,703 yards, with 20 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 5-3 record.
Brady in 2021
Finished 231 of 343 for 2,650 yards, with 25 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 6-2 record.
Brady is averaging 331.2 yards per game, which would be the highest of his career and the third highest in NFL history if he continues at this pace. He’s also averaging 3.1 touchdown passes per game, which would equalize his career high and be the second-greatest in NFL history. So, yeah, he’s playing at a pretty elite level. But after watching Jameis Winston hurt his knee and watching Brady take a few late hits, you have to worry about the health of a 44-year-old in a season that isn’t even half over.
John Romano can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @romano_tbtimes.
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