Tom Brady has a Swiss Army knife of talents, and one of them that surely makes defensive coordinators feel like they’re losing a Street Fighter match is that Brady almost always knows when a blitz is coming and finds the holes in the defense before the rush gets to him.
And he’s not just throwing the ball away – if Brady gets blitzed, odds are he’s going to put some points on the board. TB12 had a 12-1 touchdown to interception ratio against the blitz last year and went 18-25 in red zone situations when the defense sent the heat, and he didn’t take a single sack on any of those dropbacks.
Over the past three seasons, Brady’s passer rating – an admittedly subjective stat, but whatever – is 105.8 against blitzes.
And part of Jimmy Garoppolo’s slicing and dicing of the Miami Dolphins defense on Sunday before he left with an injury was recognizing the blitz and dealing the ball to open receivers accordingly.
Pro Football Focus graded Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance on Sunday and noted that he was blitzed 19 times – and here’s how those blitzes worked out:
14-19, 197 yards, 2 touchdowns.
It’s probably a cheap shot to note that there were several starting quarterbacks that didn’t throw a single touchdown pass on Sunday – LOOKING AT YOU, Alex Smith, Russell Wilson, and Eli Manning – but for all the criticism during the preseason that he held the ball too long and didn’t make quick enough decisions, the kid went out there and slung it like, well, Tom Brady, even with the defense blitzing over and over again.
That, of course, makes his shoulder injury all the more frustrating. Miami never seems to get it together when they come up to New England, but if you figure Garoppolo was slinging the ball all over the place when he had pressure coming in the first half, and that he was brilliant against the Cardinals last week when they sat back in zone coverage, it’s not a stretch to imagine that if Jimmy hadn’t gotten hurt, the game may have turned into an absolute bloodbath.
Back to the blitz pickup, though – Belichick and McDaniels surely must be excited that their young guns are recognizing when defenses want to send the house, and making them pay for it.
Jimmy and Jacoby are learning from one of the best, after all.