Thursday, January 24, 2013

Maybe Tom Brady Isn't a Big Game Quarterback

I have heard this song before.  I have listened to sports radio over the last couple of day regurgitating all of the poor results from the Patriots 28-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship.  My favorite of the week was "if Bernard Pollard hadn't hit Wes Welker so hard with the helmet to helmet hit, then Welker would have caught the next pass for a first down and then the Patriots would have gone on to score and so on and so on."  Seriously?

Better Days
Unfortunately, I have another theory.  It pains me to even think about it, much less write it.  Here goes.  Tom Brady is not a very good big game quarterback.  His statistics for the Ravens game weren't awful, but his completion percentage was a paltry 53.7% and he threw two costly interceptions.  You know how I know these things?  C told me.  Some will blame Gronkowski being out, even though he was out for 5 games with same injury during the regular season.  Some will blame the play calling that accentuated the Patriots best player (Brady) and abandoned the running game.  Some will blame the weather (warm, yet extremely windy).  The bottom line is that the best QB in the league (so many of us say) needed to rise above the problems and score more points than his opponent.  Was it me, or did you believe the game to be over once the Ravens went up by 15 in the Fourth Quarter?  You're shaking your head just like me.

And this isn't the first time.  In the 2012 Super Bowl, while Brady did throw 2 Touchdown passes and at one point completed 16 passes in a row, he also could not drive the ball against the Giants in the second half, culminating in a poor third down throw to Wes Welker, where if Welker caught the ball, the Patriots would have been in field goal range and in range for a possible win.  And remember that unbelievable intentional grounding penalty in the First Quarter that resulted in a safety? And I'm not the first one to write about Brady's struggles after this game.

2011 wasn't any better.  Against the Jets, Brady again could not get anything going.  A late touchdown drive (late as in garbage time) in the Fourth Quarter to make the score 28-14 was the only thing that stopped this game from being a horrible game for Brady.  He looked shaky all day, constantly hopping around rushing his throws.  Things got so bad that Patrick Chung called a fake punt that had no chance of succeeding.  I can still hear the obnoxious drunken Jets fans after the game.

I will give Brady a pass in 2010 since he was still hobbled by his surgically repaired knee (and the loss of Wes Welker in the last game of the season was a real game changer).  The Patriots were never in that game against the Ravens.  Brady did not have a good game though with three interceptions and a devastating fumble that led to the Ravens jumping out to an early 14 point lead.  That year was not our year.

And the perfect season?  Remember that Brady broke the record for most touchdown passes in a season with 50.  Against the Giants, Brady was merely average.  While leading the league in QB rating (117.2) and completion percentage (68.9%) during the season, his completion percentage dropped to 60.4% in the Super Bowl and his QB rating fell below 100.   Teams don't win the Super Bowl with sub par games from the star players.

All in all, Brady is one of the best Quarterbacks in the National Football League.  I just don't know if we're going to see a Super Bowl win again with him at the helm.  Brady is 35 years old with a model wife and two kids.  He's in the twilight of his career, and we're looking at the wrong side of the mountain.  It's still better than watching the Jets and Bills, though.

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