Patriots-Steelers Takeaways, Metrics: Tom Brady Digs The Long Ball


September 9, 2019

Tom Brady put any potential concerns about his age to rest Sunday night in the New England Patriots’ 33-3 season-opening win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There’s no reason to believe Brady won’t be Brady again this season, and he’s actually off to a better start in 2019 than he was last year, which should come as no surprise given Brady has much better weapons this season.

Here are our top takeaways and advanced metrics, via Pro Football Focus, from the Patriots’ Week 1 performance.

— Brady was 24-of-36 overall for 341 yards with three touchdowns. Of his 12 incompletions, one was dropped, two were thrown away, and one came when he was hit while throwing. So, overall, Brady had a 75.8 accuracy percentage.

— Brady was 3-of-3 on deep passes for 126 yards with two touchdowns.

“It was good to get a few of those in there,” Brady said about the deep balls. “Yeah, it was definitely good to get a few in there. It was a game we weren?t — it just didn?t feel like we were making consistent enough plays, and the big plays really helped us tonight. They?ll help us every week if we keep making them, but I think it?s got to be different things every week. Sometimes it?s big plays; sometimes it?s more methodical drives. Whatever they?re going to defend, we?ve got to figure out how to execute against. So, we?ll get back to work again. It?s the first game of the year, so there?s a lot to learn from, a lot of new players out there. We?re going to try to build on tonight and try to get to 2-0.”

— Brady was 7-of-9 for 107 yards with two touchdowns when blitzed.

— Brady had a perfect passer rating targeting Josh Gordon (3-3, 72 yards, TD) and Phillip Dorsett (4-4, 95 yards, two TDs).

— Julian Edelman had the Patriots’ lone drop.

— Gordon caught 1-of-1 deep target for 43 yards.

— Dorsett caught 2-of-2 deep targets for 83 yards with two touchdowns.

— Edelman was in the slot 73 percent of the time Sunday night. He spent 67 percent of his snaps in the slot last season. He’s usually around 50 percent.

RG Shaq Mason: seven hurries
RT Marcus Cannon: QB hit, two hurries
C Ted Karras: two hurries
QB Tom Brady: sack
LT Isaiah Wynn: QB hit
TE Ryan Izzo: QB hit
LG/RT Joe Thuney: hurry

— Running back Sony Michel, guard Jermaine Eluemunor, fullback James Develin and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had pass-block snaps but didn’t allow any pressure.

— Wynn played as well as one could expect in his NFL debut. He also played every snap, which was impressive after he began the summer limited in training camp.

— Cannon suffered an arm or shoulder injury late in the game. The Patriots between Thuney or swing tackle Korey Cunningham at play right tackle next week if Cannon misses time. Cunningham was inactive Sunday, so Thuney took over while Elumunor entered the game at left guard.

Rex Burkhead: 4.75 yards after contact per carry, three missed tackles forced
James White: 2.25 yards after contact per carry
Brandon Bolden: 2 yards after contact per carry
Sony Michel: .93 yards after contact per carry

— White, Bolden and Michel didn’t force any missed tackles.

— Michel struggled mightily, although the Patriots’ run blocking needed some work. Michel had 15 carries for just 14 yards.

— Burkhead led the way with eight carries for 44 yards.

CB Jason McCourty: four catches on 11 targets, 65 yards, three pass breakups
LB Jamie Collins: 4-4, 58 yards
CB JC Jackson: 4-5, 52 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 5-7, 51 yards
CB Jonathan Jones: 3-9, 19 yards, two PBUs
SS Patrick Chung: 4-5, 17 yards, PBU
LB Chase Winovich: 1-1, 9 yards
LB Dont’a Hightower: 1-1, 3 yards
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: 1-1, 2 yards
FS Duron Harmon: 0-1
SS Terrence Brooks: 0-1
FS Devin McCourty: 0-1, INT
LB John Simon: PBU

— Jason McCourty wasn’t perfect, but breaking up three passes and allowing a catch on just 36 percent of targets is pretty darn good. He did allow a 45-yard catch to wide receiver James Washington which he’d probably like to have back.

— Gilmore did an admirable job of limiting wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster.

— Jones and Chung really shined in coverage. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger averaged just 2.1 yards per attempt while targeting Jones and 3.4 yards per attempt while throwing at Chung.

DE Deatrich Wise: sack, three hurries
OLB Shilique Calhoun: QB hit, hurry
DE Michael Bennett: two hurries
LB Jamie Collins: QB hit
DT Adam Butler: hurry
OLB Chase Winovich: hurry

— The Patriots generated pressure on just 22.4 percent of Roethlisberger’s dropbacks, and they finished with just one sack. The Patriots’ pass defense, however, was still dominant overall.

— Linebackers Dont’a Hightower, John Simon and Ja’Whaun Bentley, defensive linemen Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton and safeties Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon and Terrence Brooks all had pass-rush snaps but no pressures.

— Wise was the Patriots’ best pass rusher on the night.

CB Jason McCourty: five stops
SS Patrick Chung: four stops
LB Dont’a Hightower: two stops
LB Chase Winovich: stop
DE Deatrich Wise: stop
DT Lawrence Guy: stop
LB Jamie Collins: stop, two missed tackles
DT Danny Shelton: stop
FS Duron Harmon: stop
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: stop
CB JC Jackson: stop

— Collins had a tackle for loss.

— Shelton had a third-down run stuff to force a punt.

— The Steelers ran just 13 times for 32 yards on the night.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
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