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C’mon now, Tom Brady can’t really be better than ever at age 44, can he? Common sense says no, but the numbers would disagree. Brady’s performance in his debut season in Tampa Bay last year exceeded the 16-game averages for his career. With that in mind, we figured it might be fun to compare Brady’s weekly numbers in 2021 (at 44) with his stats in 2011 (at 34) and 2001 (at 24).
The 24-year-old Brady in Game 2
The legend begins here. Well, sort of. Brady’s career in New England essentially got started when Drew Bledsoe was knocked out of a game against the Jets late in the fourth quarter with the Patriots trailing 10-3. Storybook plot, right? Except Brady couldn’t quite pull it off. He took New England 45 yards in the final two minutes but couldn’t get in the end zone on the game’s final play.
The 34-year-old Brady in Game 2
Just another day at the office for Mr. Brady. Four possessions in the first half against the Chargers in New England’s 2011 home opener, and the Patriots scored each time. Brady completed 31 of 40 passes by the end of the day for 423 yards and three touchdowns. Interesting footnote: Then-San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was 29 at the time. He’s now retired.
The 44-year-old Brady in Game 2
In his last 10 seasons in New England, Brady had one game with five or more touchdown passes. He’s now done it twice in his first two seasons with the Bucs. He wasn’t perfect on Sunday. He missed some chances at deep passes, but it’s hard to argue with 276 yards passing and no interceptions.
Season totals through Game 2
Brady in 2001
Completed 5-of-10 for 46 yards, with no touchdowns, no interceptions and a 0-0 record as a starter.
Brady in 2011
Completed 63-of-88 for 940 yards, with seven touchdowns, one interception a 2-0 record.
Brady in 2021
Completed 56-of-86 for 655 yards, with nine touchdowns, two interceptions and a 2-0 record.
It was going to be hard to match a winning touchdown drive in the final minutes of the season opener against the Cowboys, but this wasn’t a bad encore. Brady got knocked around in the pocket a lot more and missed some open receivers but put up another 30-point day for the offense.
John Romano can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @romano_tbtimes.
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