The New England Patriots used their star quarterback as a receiver Sunday for just the fourth time in his career — and likely the final time this season.
Bill Belichick on Monday suggested the Patriots won’t be throwing any more passes to Tom Brady in the near future.
“I think if we throw a pass to him, that’s probably — if that happens once a year, it’s a lot,” the Patriots coach said on a conference call with reporters.
Brady’s latest target came on a reverse pass from wide receiver Julian Edelman during the fourth quarter of New England’s 34-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The 41-year-old QB caught the ball but stumbled in the open field, falling 1 yard short of the first-down marker as he absorbed contact from linebacker Wesley Woodyard.
The Patriots followed up that reception with a false start on fourth-and-1 and an incompletion on fourth-and-6. The Titans scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession — which began with a nearly identical reverse pass to quarterback Marcus Mariota that picked up 21 yards — to put the game away.
The catch was Brady’s first since 2015 when he gained 36 yards on a throw from Danny Amendola in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He also hauled in a 23-yard reception against the Miami Dolphins in 2001 and had an Amendola pass bounce off his hands this past February in Super Bowl LII.
Belichick was asked whether the team should take steps to limit the number of hits Brady — the NFL’s oldest non-kicker/punter — takes each week. Brady bailed out of multiple pass plays Sunday to avoid potential sacks against Tennessee’s potent pass rush.
“I think we’re certainly aware of that, but there’s certain things that I think you have to do sometimes to win the game — quarterback sneaks in short yardage, something like that,” Belichick said. “The quarterback’s going to get hit on plays like that, but it’s an important play, and (Brady) is very good at it. We’ll just have to evaluate those things going forward. We’re not looking to do an excessive amount of them, that’s for sure, but if there’s a situational play or something that comes up, then I think we’d consider it.
“Look, it’s a contact sport out there. Quarterbacks get hit in the pocket. Quarterbacks scramble, and a lot of people converge on them in a hurry. Nobody knows that better than Tom does.”
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images