Tom Brady wasn't flawless on Sunday against the Falcons. Though when it came time to record his 200th career touchdown, the quarterback was perfect. Twice.
With Randy Moss darting to the right corner of the end zone, Brady lofted a pass that hit Moss in the hands, but his top target was unable to haul it in. Brady then called a timeout before launching an equally perfect pass to tight end Chris Baker, who was streaking down the right sideline.
Baker caught the pass, tiptoed down the sideline and scampered into the end zone, putting the game out of reach for the Falcons and putting Brady into the record books.
After the game, Brady was quick to share the credit in describing the play.
"It was great protection," Brady said. "It wasn't how we drew that play up, it was pretty much on the sideline, Coach [Bill] Belichick said, 'What do you think about this?' The guys who ran the play didn't run it all week in practice and they made an adjustment. … [Baker] made a great catch and run."
In completing his 200th touchdown in his 116th career game, Brady became the fourth-fastest player to do so — and he's in some pretty good company. Dan Marino threw his in just his 89th game, trailed by Peyton Manning (106) and Brett Favre (107). Johnny Unitas, who threw his 200th touchdown in his 121st game, now sits in fifth place behind Brady.
The mark is just one more for Brady, who likely has his eyes set on bigger things. He already holds the record for most touchdowns in a season with 50, and he's completed the most passes in Super Bowl history with 100, including the record for most in a single Super Bowl with 32.
His last two milestone touchdowns were memorable. His 150th came in Week 1 of the 2007 season on a 51-yard bomb to Randy Moss against the Jets, and his 175th came later that season on a two-yard pass to Mike Vrabel in the Patriots' 52-7 victory at home over the Redskins.
With Sunday's win, Brady also added to his resume as one of the best closers in the game. He's now 69-2 as a starter when his team has a lead at the halftime and 72-1 when leading heading into the fourth quarter.
"When you win the game, everyone feels a lot better," Brady said, "although nothing's perfect and we're going to go out and see what we can do better and hopefully improve against an excellent team next week."
Skills, size and poise got Brady to a level he now shares with Hall of Fame peers, but it's that kind of attitude that ensures he will stay there.
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