I don't think there's any question that Tom Brady is playing the best football in the entire league. His accuracy is incredible and his command of the offense is unparalleled. Some might point to the tempo of the Patriots offense being more friendly to shorter passes, which is true- but Brady has been absolutely dominant at all ranges of the field.
I'm tracking Brady hitting a bullseye on over 70% of his passes within 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. He's hitting the strike zone on an astounding 92% clip. Pro Football Focus has Brady as the most accurate quarterback in the league, and I absolutely agree with their findings.
Brady's actually gotten better over the past couple of weeks and the increase of Rob Gronkowski as a target has certainly helped. When the offense is more balanced, defenders are less able to predict the play, and Brady has more room to work with his receivers.
What we've seen is that Brady has been more willing to throw the ball away, rather than risk a throw in a tight window. This turnover averse style of play can be boring to some, but the results speak for themselves.
For example, Brady's throwaways doubled over the pas two games, while his out-of-strikezone passes increased by 50%. Why? When the offensive game plan revolves around Brady's arm, a throwaway is the equivalent to a zero-yard rush. There's always time to regroup and try again.
Additionally, the Patriots seem to have changed their red zone strategy to involve more fades and fewer slants, a stark contrast to the offense that opened the year.
It will be interesting to watch how the Patriots continue to evolve. Brady has always been willing to throw the ball into the dirt to avoid the defender, but 7 of his 8 inaccurate passes were overthrows. Is this a sign that the Patriots are going to be taking more deep shots if defenders are willing to play the receivers tight? We'll find out.
The return of Brandon LaFell has also improve Brady's accuracy numbers on both sides of the field. LaFell is predominantly on the left sideline, which allows the Patriots to utilize Julian Edelman on the right sideline, and Rob Gronkowski up the middle to spread out the defense. Tom Brady is now hitting 95% strikes on all passes within 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
The offense will continue to improve their cohesion as the season wears on, as LaFell, Edelman, Gronkowski, and Dion Lewis provide four incredible options that are weekly threats for 100 yards, and with Danny Amendola and Scott Chandler helping to fill in the blanks. Will the Patriots be even more high-flying than before? We'll soon find out.