Anyone who has built a career on trying to tear down Tom Brady woke up Monday morning feeling pretty good about life.
The New England Patriots quarterback was far from the team’s biggest problem in Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he certainly didn’t play to the high standard we’ve become accustomed to seeing.
For the second week in a row, Brady made a highly uncharacteristic red-zone gaffe, this time just hucking up a pass with the intent of throwing it out of bounds, but he couldn’t get enough on it, and the Steelers intercepted the pass.
Brady has completed 66 percent of his passes for 637 yards and four touchdowns over the last two weeks, but New England lost each game, and now the vultures are circling.
On ESPN’s “First Take,” longtime Brady antagonist Max Kellerman dug in his heels and claimed the reigning NFL MVP no longer is a top-10 quarterback.
Then there was Shannon Sharpe on FS1, who jumped on the opportunity to needle his “Undisputed” co-host and Brady’s No. 1 fan, Skip Bayless about TB12’s recent performance.
And then you’ve also got an actual former adversary of Brady, ex-Jets and Bills head coach Rex Ryan, who presented Brady’s supposed decline as a statement of fact.
“Brady, he’s not setting his feet. He never had to make these off-balance throws. I don’t know what’s going on with Tom,” Ryan said during Monday morning’s “Get Up!” on ESPN. “Now, look, he’s still about as good as it gets, but he’s not as good as he’s been. I think you can say that for a lot of these Patriots. I’ve been saying it forever. They look older and they look slower to me.”
(Ryan also had a take on the ineffective Rob Gronkowski while he was at it.)
Heck, even some of Brady’s ardent supporters are starting to wonder whether the all-time great is creeping up on the cliff.
But as Brady himself pointed out Sunday, there’s still a lot of football to be played this season. While the Patriots now might face a tougher postseason road, we’ve seen on multiple occasions Brady’s ability to turn back the hands of time and reclaim his aura of invincibility.
Obviously, at some point, that either won’t happen or Brady simply will call it quits. But given what he’s done his entire career, are you really willing to bet that’s happening this time around?