Is This the Best Tom Brady’s Ever Been?


Is This the Best Tom Brady's Ever Been? Tom Brady essentially punched his ticket to Canton by the time he was 27 years old. He had won three Super Bowls — earning the MVP honors twice — and was already drawing comparisons to Joe Montana. Three years later, Brady sealed the envelope and applied the postage, throwing an NFL record 50 touchdowns in a (nearly) undefeated season.

But even with such a hefty career resume, is it possible that Tom Brady in 2009 is the best Tom Brady we’ve ever seen?


Brady’s performance on Sunday against the Jets (28-for-41, 310 yards, touchdown) was his fifth consecutive game with more than 300 passing yards. As hard as it may be to believe, Brady had never thrown for 300 yards in more than three consecutive games. In fact, he had only done so in three straight games once, from Weeks 6 through 8 in 2007, a stretch in which Brady completed 81 of 109 passes (82 percent) for 1,048 yards and a ridiculous 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions on the road against Dallas and Miami and at home against Washington. He’s now just one game shy of tying the NFL record of six straight games with 300-plus passing yards (set by Steve Young, Kurt Warner and Rich Gannon).

Of course, Brady is only on pace to throw 32 touchdowns this season, and he’ll likely never even come close to throwing 50 again (his previous career-highs were 28 in 2002 and 2004, 26 in 2005 and 24 in 2006). But Brady is throwing the ball as consistently as he ever has, and he’s only getting better as the season goes on and that knee surgery moves further into the past. He’s also on pace to throw for 4,878 yards, which would top his 2007 output (4,806).

“I just always expect to do the very best that I can do out there,” Brady said Monday on WEEI. “Whether it?s 300 yards or 200 yards or 400 yards or six touchdowns or one touchdown, I think I just evaluate the way I play with the opportunities that were presented, how did I do with those opportunities? Sometimes a good play for the quarterback is taking a sack. Sometimes it?s throwing it away. You complete a ball down the field for 40 yards, but really, if you made a better throw, it would have been 70 yards. So, I don?t like to look at the results or the statistics.

“All of those things that really help you grow,” Brady said. “If you get caught up in your yards per attempt, like a quarterback rating … it?s never really going to tell the whole story.”

Fortunately for Brady, that “whole story” lately has translated into wins. Obviously, he and the Pats let one slip away in Indianapolis in Week 10, but it wasn’t necessarily due to Brady’s 375 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. A major part of the Patriots’ turnaround from going 3-2 in the first five weeks to going 4-1 in the last five games has been Brady’s accuracy. In the season’s opening five weeks, Brady completed 61 percent of his passes. Since then, he’s upped his completion percentage to 72 percent. On the season, he’s completed 66.4 percent of his passes, which is the second-highest such mark of his career.

While all this is good news for New England, it spells trouble for the Patriots’ opponents for the rest of the season.

“We?ve really had three bad second halves, which is why we?ve got three losses,” Brady said after Sunday’s win. “We?ve learned a lot from those losses and I?m looking forward to what?s ahead. Coach always says the season starts after Thanksgiving … so I?m glad we?re playing this kind of football. The defense is getting a lot of turnovers for us. We?re getting the ball in in the red area. We?re just still doing a few things that are hurting us, but even with those things, we?ve made some improvements there.”

Nothing in the NFL is a sure thing, so making any declaration that Brady will finish the year with his best season wouldn’t make sense to say in Week 12. But it’s clear that Brady is as comfortable as ever in the pocket, and each week he’s putting the Patriots in ideal position to win games.

He won’t go 16-0, and he won’t throw 50 touchdowns. If he continues to progress as he has all year, though, he may get the Patriots back to where they haven’t been since February of 2005 — on top of the world. Without question, that’s the only goal Brady cares about.

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