Sizing Up Brady's Most Prolific Games

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 13, 2011



By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts Doctor of Gridiron Gynecology


The headline out of Miami during the first Monday Night Football game of the 2011 season is that Tom Brady passed for 517 yards during New England’s 38-24 victory.
 
You already know that it’s the fifth most prolific performance in the 92-year history of NFL football. It’s an incredible effort. The single-game record of 554 yards, by the way, was set by Norm Van Brocklin in Week 1 of the 1951 season. It’s worth nothing that his victim that day, the N.Y. Yanks, folded at the year after a 1-9-2 season. We doubt Brady has inspired the end of the Dolphins organization. Maybe the end of the Tony Sparano Era, who knows. 

But if we insert our trusty little speculum of gridiron gynecology, the Cold, Hard Football Facts, into the performance, we get a better view of where the effort stands among the great outings of Brady's first-ballot Hall of Fame career.
 
You probably know that the Cold, Hard Football Facts put little stock in volume ... you know, unless it’s a beer chugging competition at Oktoberfest. In that case, we appreciate the value of volume. And we're pretty good at it.
 
But winning in the NFL, as you know, is all about efficiency and little about volume.
 
For example, as CHFF Insiders know, teams that passed for more yards in 2010 went just 130-124, barely over .500. It’s a number consistent with historic standards. Teams that had a higher average per attempt went 189-67 (.738) – actually a low rate by historic standards – and an awesome 125-27 (.822) from Week 8 through Week 17.
 
So, while compelled by the historic nature of Brady’s performance, we wanted to see how effective he was at getting the ball downfield by his own standards. He averaged a lofty 10.77 yards per attempt Monday night in Miami.
 
A great night, for sure. The record-tying 99-yard  touchdown pass to Wes Welker obviously boosts the average. But, hey it happened. You don’t produce an incredible average per attempt without a few big plays here and there.
 
But it turns out it was not Brady's most effective game at getting the ball down field. Hardly. In fact, he boasts eight games on his resume in which he was more effective at getting the ball down field. Brady has had 14 games in which he averaged more than 10.0 YPA. Here’s the list.

Tom Brady's Most Prolific Games (better than 10.0 YPA)
When Where Score Comp. Att. Yards TD INT Rating YPA
Week 7 2007 at MIA W 49-28 21 25 354 6 0 158.3 14.16
Week 5 2005 at ATL W 31-28 22 27 350 3 1 140.4 12.96
Week 12 2010 at DET W 45-24 21 27 341 4 0 158.3 12.63
Week 17 2010 vs. MIA W 38-7 10 16 199 2 0 145.6 12.44
Week 13 2009 at MIA L 21-22 19 29 352 2 2 101.5 12.14
Week 11 2004 at KC W 27-19 17 26 315 1 0 119.9 12.12
Week 13 2010 vs. NYJ W 45-3 21 29 326 4 0 148.9 11.24
Week 6 2009 v. TEN W 59-0 29 34 380 6 0 152.8 11.18
Week 1 2011 at MIA W 38-24 32 48 517 4 1 121.6 10.77
Week 3 2007 vs. BUF W 38-7 23 29 311 4 0 150.9 10.72
Week 1 2007 at NYJ W 38-14 22 28 297 3 0 146.6 10.61
Week 16 2009 vs. JAX W 35-7 23 26 267 4 0 149 10.27
Week 9 2002 at BUF W 38-7 22 26 265 3 0 147.6 10.19
Week 6 2001 at IND W 38-17 16 20 202 3 0 148.3 10.1
 
 
Quite a few trends leap off the list, like a drunken Troll demanding another round from a buxom barmaid.
 
Dominance over the Dolphins
The Patriots have historically struggled in Miami. Even Brady’s Patriots have suffered more than their share of choke jobs. In 2004, for example, the 12-1 Patriots, on their way to both a second consecutive 14-2 campaign and Super Bowl title, lost in Miami to the 2-11 Dolphins. It was the first time in history that a team 10 games worse in the standings beat an opponent.
 
But four of the nine most productive efforts in Brady’s career have come against the Dolphins, all four of them in Miami. Must be the reason no man in South Florida would be caught dead wearing UGGs.
 
Dominance over the AFC East
The old story is that familiarity breeds tougher games in divisional football. But among the 14 games in which Brady averaged more than 10.0 YPA, nine have come against divisional foes (the Colts in 2001 still played in the AFC East). It seems, in this case, that familiarity breeds more opportunity for Brady to torch his most frequent competitors.
 
Dominance on the road
Brady’s  Patriots have not lost a regular-season game at home since the Battle of Lexington and Concord – OK, not quite that long. But Brady's last home loss in the regular season came back in the middle of the 2006 season.
 
But among Brady's 14 most productive efforts, nine of them came on the road. Seems like he's short-changing the hometown fans up in New England.
 
The recent dominance
Perhaps the most compelling trend – the one that might be most frightening to the NFL – is that many of these 10.0 YPA-plus efforts have come in a short span of recent games.
 
Four of the nine most productive games in Brady’s career have come since Week 11 2010, a period of just eight games.

From our partners




Team Pages
AFC East NFC
South
North
West

Connect With Us
Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...
Privacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.




The Football Nation Network

© Copyright 2014 Football Nation LLC. Privacy Policy & Terms of Use
Some images property of Getty Images or Icon/SMI