FOXBORO, Mass. — It’s a minor miracle that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hasn’t thrown an interception this season.
Brady is constantly under pressure and has just 2.37 seconds (6th fastest time in the NFL) to get rid of the ball every time he drops back to pass before the pressure bears down, according to Pro Football Focus. Brady rarely has enough time to come off his first read, which partially explains why he has a tendency to target his best receivers, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, more frequently than the rest of the Patriots skill-position players.
“I think there are different parts of the game where you do that as a quarterback,” Brady said Wednesday about going through his reads. “Typically, the longer you have to throw, the better decision you’ll be able to make.”
Brady faces his greatest test to date on Monday night when the Patriots travel to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, who have three stellar pass rushers in Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dontari Poe. Brady explained why they’re such a challenge during his weekly news conference.
“I’ve said the best teams are typically the ones that can rush the fewest amount of people and still get the same amount of pressure because then they can help in coverage,” Brady said. “If a team has to pressure to get pressure, they’ve got to bring a fifth rusher to get pressure, then they’re lighter in coverage. If a team can rush four or three and still get great pressure, then it’s a great advantage for the defense. It’s just a chess match that goes back and forth, and I’m sure it’ll be that (way) this week.
“Coach gave a great stat today. In 11 wins, they had 41 or 46 sacks, and in their five losses they only had five sacks. Those guys are real big playmakers for them — Houston and Tamba Hali. They’ve got some good scheme stuff, inside blitzes. They’ve got a good defense.”
Brady is being pressured on 36.9 percent of his drop-backs (11th most in the NFL), and his offensive line is 31st in Pro Football Focus’ pass blocking efficiency score, which “measures pressure allowed on a per-snap basis with weighting toward sacks allowed.” The Patriots’ offense might not begin to click until its offensive line issues are sorted out.