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Tom Brady 4th Most Passing Yards; Fewest Receivers

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Tom Brady has had to do a lot with very little. Here's how bad it is.

Jared Wickerham

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has 4,049 passing yards on the season, good for 4th best in the league. Sure, he's pretty far behind Peyton Manning and his 4,811 yards and Drew Brees and his 4,500. But Brady has been playing with very little all season- due to youth, due to injuries, due to turnover- and he's putting together a pretty solid year in its own right.

When looking at the top passing offenses in the league, the Patriots actually rank 6th (the Chicago Bears have an impressive aerial assault spread over two quarterbacks, while the Patriots tumble an extra spot because of how frequently Brady's been sacked- 235 yards!).

Running down the list of top receivers in the league, the Patriots top player is Julian Edelman who ranks 24th in the league with 914 yards. Of the top 20 passing teams in the NFL, not including the Patriots, 19 of them have a receiver who ranks greater than Edelman. The only outlier is the 18th ranked Colts, whose T.Y. Hilton ranks one behind Edelman at 25th. The 30th-ranked 49ers have Anquan Boldin (20th) and the 32nd-ranked Buccaneers have Vincent Jackson (13th) ahead of Edelman.

The Patriots next best receiver is Rob Gronkowski at 60th. Danny Amendola is 62nd (sandwiched between them is Julio Jones, who has under 5 games on the year). When comparing the top 10 passing attacks, the Detroit Lions are the only team to not feature two receivers ranked above Gronk, but they have Calvin Johnson so I'll call that moot (Kris Durham is their second leading receiver, ranked 88th, right ahead of Kenbrell Thompkins at 89th).

Denver features two players ahead of the Patriots number one receiver, and four players ahead of the Patriots number two. Chicago also has two players ahead of Edelman, and a third before Gronk. Green Bay has three receivers before Gronk.

The other teams to feature two receivers before Gronk- Cleveland, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Atlanta, and San Diego- feature multiple receivers with 740 or more yards. Rob Gronkowski sits with a mere 592.

There's no question that the Patriots are still considered a top passing unit and it's clear that Brady's been playing with inferior toys when compared to other teams. It's a testament to not just Tom Brady, but also the coaching staff and the players who have stepped up when their number has been called.