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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 3
The first start of Brady’s NFL career was opposite of future friend/nemesis Peyton Manning. At this point, Manning was already a two-time Pro Bowl selection and making his 51st NFL start. Brady, meanwhile, had 13 career NFL passes coming into the game. He didn’t sound alarm bells, but Brady was efficient. Relying on a strong ground attack, he threw for 168 yards and zero interceptions in a 44-13 win. Manning had three interceptions.
The 34-year-old Brady in Game 3
Contender for one of the worst days of Brady’s career. The Patriots took a 24-17 lead into the fourth quarter at Buffalo when Brady threw interceptions on consecutive possessions. The Bills converted the first into a touchdown drive and returned the second for another touchdown. Brady finished the day with 387 yards and four touchdowns, but also tied his career high with four interceptions in the 34-31 loss.
The 44-year-old Brady in Game 3
The results were certainly ugly, but the 34-24 loss was not Brady’s fault. Antonio Brown missed the game, and Rob Gronkowski looked like he was hurting after getting drilled in the ribs. The Bucs had no running game and fell behind early. All of which meant Brady was under siege for much of the second half, and he still managed to throw for 432 yards without an interception.
Season totals through Game 3
Brady in 2001
Completed 18-of-33 for 214 yards, with no touchdowns, no interceptions and a 1-0 record.
Brady in 2011
Completed 93-of-133 for 1,327 yards, with 11 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 2-1 record.
Brady in 2021
Completed 97-of-141 for 1,087 yards, with 10 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 2-1 record.
If you’re waiting for Brady to show his age, you better come back next week. This loss isn’t going to do much for his MVP candidacy, but Brady actually looked fairly mobile in the pocket and managed to move the ball downfield despite penalties, sacks and some missing weapons on offense.
John Romano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @romano_tbtimes.
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