New England Patriots QB Tom Brady wasn’t himself in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, but he was back to being Touchdown Tom in the rebound game against the New Orleans Saints. The 40-year-old quarterback completed 30 of 39 passes (76.9%) for 447 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a passer rating of 139.6.
That is one of the greatest performances by a quarterback over the age of 40 in NFL history, without any question. Here is how it ranks among the 122 games by quarterbacks with 15 or more passing attempts in a single game over the age of 40.
Passes completed: 30; rank: t-4th
Brady’s 30 completions are tied with Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck for the fourth most all time. Favre completed 36 attempts at the age of 41 and had a 33- and a 32-completion game at the age of 40.
Passes attempt: 39; rank: t-16th
While Brady is tied for 16th in attempts, that just shows his efficiency as a quarterback. He trails six games from Favre, five from Warren Moon, two games from Hasselbeck, one from Vinny Testaverde, and one from Vince Evans.
Completion rate: 76.9%; rank: 5th
Brady’s completion rate was the best ever for a quarterback over the age of 40 while on the road, but trailed two 40-year-old Favre games (22 of 25, 88.0%; 25 of 31, 80.7%), a 41-year-old Earl Morrall (14 of 17, 82.4%), and a 40-year-old Testaverde (19 of 24, 79.2%).
Passing yards: 447; rank: 1st
Brady’s 447 passing yards edged the 446 passing yards from 41-year-old Favre. They are joined by 40-year-old Moon and 409 passing yards as the only 400+ yard performances over the age of 40.
Yards per attempt: 11.5; rank: 3rd
Morrall picked up 288 yards on just 23 attempts against the Patriots in 1974, while Favre picked up 344 yards on 29 attempts against the Detroit Lions. The Lions were the opposing team in three of the top seven games, with the sixth and seventh ranked performances going to Testaverde and Doug Flutie, respectively.
Touchdown passes: 3; rank: t-8th
40-year-old Moon posted five touchdowns in 1997. Favre threw for four touchdowns four times, while Moon and George Blanda did it once, each. Brady is tied with Favre, Moon, Testaverde, and Sonny Jurgensen with three in a single game. Brady did it all in one quarter.
Interceptions: 0; rank: t-1st
There have been 44 games by a quarterback with zero interceptions. Brady threw the 8th most passes without an interception, trailing Testaverde (50), Favre (48, 40), Hasselbeck (47, 42), Moon (46, 40).
Passer rating: 139.6; rank: 3rd
40-year-old Favre posted a near-perfect 148.7 rating in the season finale of 2009 and also had a 141.7 rating game in week 11 of that season. In both games, his completion rate was over 80% as he threw for 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Those numbers are bonkers.
Brady’s performance was so good that it is really just competing with Favre for the title of “best game over the age of 40.” That said, Favre was ridiculously good over the age of 40.
Not only did Favre have those two games with ratings over 140, he also had a stellar game in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys. He completed 15 of 24 (62.5%) for 234 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions for a rating of 134.4. His adjusted yards per attempt of 13.1 is the best for a 40+ year old (Brady’s 13.0 ranks second) and he did it in a playoff game.
Add in another Favre game where he was 21 of 29 (72.4%) for 278 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions for a rating of 136.9 against an elite Baltimore Ravens defense and you have a four-back of #4 to choose from at the top of the list.
But even when you adjust for Brady’s performance because the Saints defense is terrible, it still ranks in the top five for the best games by a quarterback over the age of 40.