Tom Brady the Clydesdale got let out of the stable Sunday night, scrambling 4 yards for a crucial fourth-quarter touchdown during the New England Patriots’ exhilarating victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
In addition to helping the Patriots score a 43-40 win over the previously undefeated Chiefs, Brady’s touchdown scamper also brought the 41-year-old quarterback 4 yards closer to a milestone he seems particularly keen on hitting: 1,000 career rushing yards.
Brady, who’s rushed for 983 yards on 568 carries since entering the NFL in 2000, has chronicled his quest for 1K in multiple Instagram posts over the last few months, including one after he scored on a 1-yard QB sneak in last week’s win over the Indianapolis Colts.
This isn’t just a gag for social media, either. When asked about Sunday’s touchdown during an interview with Westwood One on Monday, Brady said improving his rushing ability has been a real point of emphasis for him.
“When (opportunities to run) come up in certain moments, you’ve got to take advantage,” Brady said. “They don’t really come up for me that often, and unfortunately, instinctually, I don’t have those instincts to just take off and go. I’m always thinking, ‘Throw it. Throw it. Throw it. Throw it.’ It’s never saying, ‘Hey, take off and go.’ And some guys who have a lot of confidence in their speed, that becomes more a part of their game.
“I think in the offseason, it’s good for me to train like that (so) when I have the opportunities in the game, I could take advantage of it. I’ve had a couple runs this year, and I’m really trying to build on it. If (the defense is) really going to focus on some heavy coverage and I have opportunities to run like I did on that particular play, I’ve got to do a better job seeing it, identifying it and then really being decisive and taking off, because I have the ability to do it.
“Part of it is I think my mind’s holding me back, as well as my body, and if I can eliminate my mind, I think it will be easier to gain yards when I do decide to run.”
The road to 1,000 has been a long one for Brady, who wasn’t blessed with elite athleticism or top-speed, even after years of work with Alex Guerrero. One of the most prolific passers in NFL history, he’s surpassed 100 rushing yards in a season just three times in his 19-year career and hasn’t done so since 2011.
Brady was particularly immobile last year, finishing the 2017 regular season with just 28 yards on 25 carries, 11 of which were kneel-downs. (Not that it mattered: He still took home NFL MVP honors for the third time in his career.)
If you remove kneels and his patented short-yardage sneaks from the equation, Brady has taken off and run just twice in six games this season. He scrambled for 10 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 before finding the end zone against Kansas City.
Brady’s 2018 rushing line thus far: 11 carries, 15 yards, two touchdowns. He sits 17 yards away from 1,000 entering this Sunday’s Week 7 matchup with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
It would be rather fitting if Brady reached his goal against Brian Urlacher’s former team.