Brady had one of his most inaccurate performances of the season Sunday when the Patriots lost 27-24 to the Miami Dolphins. Brady was barely under pressure, he had no throwaways and receivers dropped just one pass. Yet Brady went just 16-of-29 for 221 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
And that interception, a pick-six to former Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe, was one of the most impactful plays of the game. Brady’s pass was thrown between running back Sony Michel and wide receiver Julian Edelman where really only Rowe could get to it. Rowe had an easy path to the end zone and seven points.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 29, 2019
Ultimately, Brady did lead a go-ahead drive at the end of the game, then the Patriots defense couldn’t stop the Dolphins on Miami’s own game-winning drive later in the fourth quarter. But one of the primary reasons why the Dolphins had a chance to compete at the end of a game that should have been out of hand early was Brady’s struggles when he was sailing passes to receivers.
Let’s go through his incompletions:
First incompletion: high
Second incompletion: broken up
Third incompletion: dropped
Fourth incompletion: inaccurate, intercepted
Fifth incompletion: low
Sixth incompletion: high
Seventh incompletion: high
Eighth incompletion: wide
Ninth incompletion: low
10th incompletion: wide
11th incompletion: broken up, nearly intercepted
12th incompletion: broken up
13th incompletion: overthrown
It’s odd that this performance came one week after one of Brady’s best games of the season, when he completed 26-of-33 passes for 271 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions against the Buffalo Bills’ defense, which is one of the best units in the NFL.
Brady’s season-long accuracy rate is 72.9 percent, per Pro Football Focus. It was 58.6 percent in Week 17 — his lowest of the season — and 89.7 in Week 16 — his highest of 2019.
Not every issue in the Patriots’ offense is related to Brady, but he might have been the biggest culprit Sunday. Patriots blockers surrendered just three total pressures. The Patriots ran the ball 27 times for 135 yards with a touchdown for an average of 5 yards per carry.
The Dolphins double-covered Edelman for much of the game and limited him to three catches on seven targets for 26 yards. Other Patriots receivers had trouble getting open, but clearly there were throws to be made that Brady wasn’t hitting.
The Patriots’ postseason success will ultimately go through Brady. If he’s making plays — whether his teammates are helping him out or not — then the Patriots have a very good chance of advancing. But they’re going to be one-and-done if Brady performs like he did against the Dolphins.