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The Brady three: Revisiting those who’ve intercepted the Patriots QB in 2017

Three opposing defensive backs have retrieved .7 percent of Tom Brady’s pass attempts this season.

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Picking off a 40-year-old quarterback is harder than it sounds. The odds of doing so are about the same as scoring a 48 out of 100 on a Finite Math final, or finding a $5 Byron Leftwich jersey at T.J. Maxx and passing on it.

I still regret the latter.

But Tom Brady certainly regrets the three interceptions he's thrown this season, too, even if there have been 287 thrown around the NFL through Week 12.

Brady has fired the second-most passes in the league over that span – 408 – which sits behind only Russell Wilson. He has completed a league-leading 279, as well, and for a first-ranked 3,374 yards and a second-ranked 26 touchdowns. And yet there are 35 quarterbacks who’ve delivered the ball to the opposing team more than the New England Patriots QB.

Which brings us to the Brady three.

They’re the trio of opposing defensive backs who’ve been a part of .7 percent of his passes in 2017. And if for only an instant, they’ve been the grains running against him.

Let’s revisit each.

JUSTIN EVANS

  • When and where: Oct. 5 at Raymond James Stadium
  • Quarter: 13:10 remaining in first
  • Spot, down and distance: New England 45, first-and-10
  • Personnel: 11 – one back, one tight end, three receivers
  • Intended target: Chris Hogan
  • Career interception: No. 1
  • Postgame quote: "First pick as a rookie, so that's definitely great,” Evans said following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 19-14 loss. “And it being Tom Brady – you dream for stuff like that, so I'm definitely fortunate."

Evans found himself in the right place at the right time as Brady’s play-action pass over the middle sailed high and behind Hogan’s dig route. The rookie safety, 18 years Brady’s junior, returned the pick two yards before being shoved out of bounds by Hogan and guard Shaq Mason.

BUSTER SKRINE

  • When and where: Oct. 16 at MetLife Stadium
  • Quarter: 3:17 remaining in second
  • Spot, down and distance: New England 21, second-and-10
  • Personnel: 21 – two backs, one tight end, two receivers
  • Intended target: Phillip Dorsett
  • Career interception: No. 9
  • Postgame quote: “They had put Dorsett in,” Skrine said following the New York Jets’ 24-17 loss. “He's a deeper route-runner so I kind of baited him a little bit. Once [Brady] threw it up I just ran, caught it and got the pick. We're about the same height, so I knew I could win the jumping battle.”

Aside from Dorsett’s seam pattern, Skrine could have had another interception in the second quarter versus New England. The Jets corner saw a pass sent tight end Rob Gronkowski’s way slip out of his hands, and New York, up 14-0 at the time, went on to see the Patriots sustain a touchdown drive that cut the deficit to seven.

BOBBY MCCAIN

  • When and where: Nov. 26 at Gillette Stadium
  • Quarter: 2:27 remaining in second
  • Spot, down and distance: New England 48, third-and-8
  • Personnel: 11 – one back, one tight end, three receivers
  • Intended target: Danny Amendola
  • Career interception: No. 3
  • Postgame quote: “It was just a bad decision,” said Brady following New England’s 35-17 win over the Miami Dolphins. “Third down and I tried to kind of stuff it in there to Danny. He got – he's running an in-cut and they played a coverage that was pretty good for covering those plays and I just forced it. I try not to do that very often.”

McCain, who would later be ejected from the contest, maintained inside leverage on Amendola’s post back across the middle from the slot. And Brady, in his own words, “just forced it.”

Such moments have been few and far between. But on one first-and-10, second-and-10 and third-and-8 from New England’s 45, 21 and 48, respectively, Brady has had to remove his helmet, walk to the sideline and look at the Microsoft Surface tablet.

The Brady three could end up being four or five by the time the regular season draws to a close. Yet for now, Evans, Skrine and McCain are that 48 on a final. That vintage, clearance-rack jersey. A do-over that doesn’t get to be done over.

And they’ve got some footballs Sharpied and perhaps encased because of it.