Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tom Brady's Big Game, Post Knee Injury Short Falls


We had mentioned during our Super Bowl analysis, that we thought Tom Brady looked beaten and swag less during the Conference Championship Game against Baltimore. We took it a bit further, and focused on what Brady had done (or not done) since his 2008 season opening, season ending injury, stating that they (Patriots) "haven't won a damn thing" since. Here is what we found.

The year following the injury, the Patriots went 10-6, and Brady threw for almost 4,400 yards, 28 TDs to 13 INTs, and ended up with a regular season passer rating average of 96.2. In the Patriots first round playoff game that year, they were abruptly bounced by the Ravens, 33-14.

The Ravens were beneficiaries of 3 first half turnovers by Brady, 2 picks and 1 fumble, all of which led to points. Brady's game numbers were 23-42, 154 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 1 fumble, and a 49.1 passer rating.

To state it more simply, Brady, who had averaged .81 interceptions per game during the regular season, threw 3 that day.

The following year, Brady's regular season numbers were disgustingly good. He threw for a modest 3,900 yards, but his TD to INT numbers were 36 to 4, and he ended the year with a 111 passer rating.

Fast forward to the playoffs that year, and Brady's divisional round tilt with the New York football Jets. Brady entered the game having thrown 335 passes without a pick. That streak ended that day. Brady went 29-45, 299 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT, and he had an 89 passer rating. He was sacked 5 times, and ESPN.Com described his play as "poor" that day.

Speaking of the Jets, the only team in Brady's division that has been worth a damn since his knee injury, Brady is a humbling 2-3 versus them since the injury, in the 5 games they've played each other.

You could argue that the 2011 regular season foreshadowed what was to come in the post season. Brady and the Pats were just 1-2 against teams who would eventually make the playoffs, the one win being against the 8-8 Denver Broncos. Brady apologists cannot deny that the Patriots drew a cupcake in round one, getting Tim Tebow and those Broncos, who were already into the "everything else is gravy" phase of their epic run.

Brady was impressive that night, but I think if we're talking big game numbers, you need to look at the weeks that followed.

The Patriots, by Brady's own admission, beat Baltimore in the Conference Championship despite Brady. Bottomline, like Brady said, he "sucked" that day. His numbers were frightening. 22-36, 239 yards, ZERO touchdowns and 2 INTs. His passer rating was a putrid 57.5. Somehow, thanks to Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff, the Patriots escaped with a win.

Brady's Super Bowl performance was ok, but certainly not great. For the second straight week, he fell short of what his season numbers said he should do. During the regular season, Brady was averaging 327 yards per game, almost 2.5 touchdowns per game, and a 105.6 passer rating. Against the Giants on Sunday, he threw for 276 yards, 2 TDs, and he ended up with a 91.1 passer rating.

In summary, Tom Brady's post knee injury "big game" line reads as follows:

*2-3 against divisional rival NY Jets
*2-3 in the playoffs, and in 2 of those games he had a passer rating below 60


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