Garrett may have a vague recollection of many of the sacks he's recorded since coming into the league as the No. 1 overall pick in 2017. There's nothing vague about what he remembers about when he sacked Brady with roughly six minutes remaining in a loss to the New England Patriots.
"I got off a spin," Garrett recalled Friday afternoon of the sack.
Garrett has wondered since that sack if there'd be a chance to add another one. Brady left New England after that 2019 season and signed with Tampa Bay.
The divisional rotation always meant the Browns and Buccaneers were going to see each other this season. However, Brady wasn't a sure bet to be under center, especially when he announced in late January his decision to retire.
It took a little more than a month for Brady to change his mind. That put the wheels in motion to give Garrett a second chance to add another sack or two of the quarterback considered the greatest ever when Tampa Bay comes to Cleveland on Sunday.
"I was hoping I'd get some more then," Garrett said. "I didn't think I was gonna get another opportunity seeing as he retired for a little bit. But, uh, I guess he knew we were on the schedule and he wanted to give me another chance.”
Garrett never had a chance to sack his favorite quarterback growing up. By the time he was in the NFL, Peyton Manning was in the second year of his retirement.
What Garrett did have was a chance to sack his favorite quarterback's chief rival. By the time he arrived in Cleveland, he had already stockpiled a catalogue of information on Brady.
Much of what Garrett had learned by that point has only been amplified by what he's learned in his time in the league. Much of what he's learned has as much to do with the immeasurable side of Brady as it has to do with the glut of impressive stats and hardware he's accumulated over the course of his 23-year career.
“I studied him a lot because growing up I was a Peyton Manning fan, so I got to see a good amount of him," Garrett said. "But it's that leadership, that will to win and that never-say-die attitude and that hardworking nature that he has. Those intangibles. He’s never been the guy with the strongest arm in the room. He's not very mobile as we have come to find out. But the guy will fight through whatever he has to, whatever injury, whatever situation, whatever adversity to get a win. And, stuff like that, everyone likes to say it, everyone likes to talk about it and everyone's about it, and he's shown that he is.”
That's even as Brady passes his 45th birthday. All he's done since turning 40 is turn his career quarterback wins record into virtually an uncatchable mark, pushing it to 283 wins, 83 clear of his chief rival, Manning.
This season, Brady's yet again among the top passers in the league. He is ranked fourth in yards with 2,805, first in attempts with 427, first in completions with 282, all while throwing the fewest interceptions (two) of any starting QB this season.
Garrett, roughly 19 years younger than his prey on Sunday, acknowledges he couldn't see himself producing at that kind of level when he reaches Brady's age. It's why he's believe it shouldn't be "taken for granted" what the 45-year-old is doing.
"I don't care if I have to say it, but what he's doing is still mind-blowing each game," Garrett said. "You know, being able to have his body prepared to go through that beating and I know it's physical and demanding throughout the week and he's always prepared. He's kept himself to a strict diet and regimen to do what he has to, and it's impressive to see and watch and appreciate."
Where it may impact Garrett the most is how it's allowed Brady to maintain one thing that has made him so good under pressure. Throughout his career, he's been praised for his pocket presence.
That pocket presence hasn't necessarily meant Brady's avoided sacks in his career, just minimized the number of them. He's still been sacked an NFL-record 557 times, including 14 this season.
Still, that presence has allowed Brady to execute at a high level, no matter the chaos around him.
“I mean, he's pretty much the blueprint that most teams have followed most of the offenses function like he does in the pocket," Garrett said. "Standing up in there through tackles, through sacks, being able to deliver throws under pressure and while he's going to the ground, he's been doing that for ages now, it seems. I think that presence just, you know that his will doesn't go away or diminish. He's always gonna have that presence, that leadership and that drive to win no matter what the score is or what the situation is. And so you can never really take your foot off the gas because you know he won't.”
Contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Myles Garrett amazed by Tom Brady still succeeding despite age