The New England Patriots posted 41 points against a Rex Ryan defense and left the Bills head coach at a loss for words. The Bills had their defensive strategy of stopping the run and forcing the Patriots to throw the ball- and QB Tom Brady was all too happy to acquiesce.
“We knew we had the big man (Bills DT Marcell Dareus) back, we knew that we could stop the run, and then trying to get them one-dimensional and then unfortunately they killed us,” Bills head coach Rex Ryan said after the game. “I don't think I've ever seen them this hot. Maybe one other time he scorched me like crazy, but I can't ever remember that kind of day.”
Well, Rex, that’s certainly a good question. Has Brady ever scorched a Rex Ryan defense like he did on Sunday? Let’s look back to find out.
5. 2015 week 2, Patriots at Bills: Patriots win 40-32
Brady: 38 of 59 (64.4%) for 466 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 105.6 rating.
Last year, the Patriots offense was one of the most dynamic of the Bill Belichick era, with TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Julian Edelman, and RB Dion Lewis all gaining more than 100 yards in this game. Brady’s 466 yards are his most against a Rex Ryan defense by a country mile. Heck, even WR Aaron Dobson added 87 yards.
Brady’s rating is lower due to his high volume of passes- 59 attempts are the second most in Brady’s career- and only a pair of inexplicable deep passes on 4th and 1 conversions and a forced fumble were able to slow the Patriots offense.
4. 2011 week 10, Patriots at Jets: Patriots win 37-16
Brady: 26 of 39 (66.7%) for 329 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 118.4 rating.
Brady gave up a safety by intentionally grounding the ball in the end zone, while the Patriots points were supported by a pick-six by ED Rob Ninkovich. But in a game where Danny Woodhead was the only running back to pick up more than 8 yards on the ground, Brady put the team on his shoulders and dominated the Rex Ryan defense.
Gronkowski picked up 113 yards and 2 touchdowns and even WR Chad Ochocinco added two catches for 65 yards. Brady’s brutal efficiency and 329 passing yards (his second most against a Rex Ryan defense) certainly scorched the Jets.
3. 2016 week 8, Patriots at Bills: Patriots win 41-25
Brady: 22 of 33 (66.7%) for 315 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 137.0 rating. 1 run for 15 yards.
This past Sunday was Brady’s 3rd best game against a Rex Ryan defense, so Ryan’s recollection was pretty accurate. Brady relied on high percentage passes for a couple yards to move the chains and supplemented the offense with highly accurate deep shots down the field.
Gronkowski and WR Chris Hogan both collected 53-yard touchdown receptions. No other receiver recorded a catch longer than 16 yards. The offense was 9 of 13 (69%) on third down. Brady was in full command.
2. 2012 week 12, Patriots at Jets: Patriots win 49-19
Brady: 18 of 27 (66.7%) for 323 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 144.5 rating. 1 rushing TD.
This game will live on forever because of the Buttfumble and the fact that the Patriots scored 35 straight points in the second quarter, including three touchdowns in the span of 52 seconds.
But Brady was dangerous in this game, with touchdown passes of 83 yards to RB Shane Vereen and 56 yards to then-unheralded WR Julian Edelman. Add in a rushing touchdown and you’ve got yourself a Thanksgiving classic (and I was there!).
I also understand if Rex Ryan blocked this game out of his memory.
1. 2010 week 13, Jets at Patriots: Patriots win 45-3
Brady: 21 of 29 (72.4%) for 326 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 148.9 rating.
This is hands down the best performance by Brady against a Rex Ryan defense. The Patriots offense scored six touchdowns and a field goal. The Jets defense really only forced two stops, both in the second quarter (the Patriots punted a third time after running down the clock in the 4th).
Of course, this game will go down in memory as a positive Rex moment because the Jets came to Gillette Stadium and upset the 14-2 Patriots in the playoffs, ruining one of the best regular seasons in New England history.
And that’s kind of the Rex Ryan calling card. Sure, Brady has a 13-4 record against Rex Ryan (including his time calling defenses with the Ravens). But more often than not the games are uglier and closer than anticipated. Rex is responsible for roughly 10% of the games where Tom Brady has thrown for a rating of 80.0 or worse.
But this past Sunday was not one of those games. Brady scorched a Rex Ryan defense like he’s only done a couple other times in his career.