While negativity reigns in New England after the Patriots’ 34-33 loss against the Miami Dolphins, we here at Pats Pulpit try to stay reasonable and to take a big-picture look at the game and its developments. That’s why we can confidently say that the game in Miami still had some positives, from the Patriots’ in-season acquisitions all making contributions to tight end Rob Gronkowski playing his best game of the year.
Another thing to take away from the defeat is the play of quarterback Tom Brady. Despite his error at the end of the first half, when he took a red zone sack that allowed the clock to wind down, the 41-year old had a very good performance against Miami. He was in command from start to finish, displayed excellent technique, and spread the football around well while displaying regular accuracy on both deep and short throws. Overall, Brady completed 27 of 43 pass attempts for 358 yards and three touchdowns.
The game against Miami, arguably his best of the season, is actually the third in a row in which Brady looked good — and for the first time all year again like the quarterback that had an all-time run of excellence from 2015 through 2017. Since coming out of New England’s week 11 bye, the team’s quarterback has hit 71 of his 106 pass attempts (67.0%) for 952 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception.
For comparison, the future Hall of Famer went 242 of 371 (65.2%) over the first ten games of the year, for 2,748 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and seven picks. Solid numbers, no doubt, but still a bit of a drop-off when compared to years past — and also to his current three-game run that consists of victories over the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings in weeks 12 and 13, and most recently a loss on the road against the Dolphins.
Especially when it comes to efficiency, Brady has improved since the bye. He attempted 37.1 passes per game through the first ten games and is now down to 35.3. Meanwhile, his completion percentage improved as did his yards per pass attempt (from 7.4 to 9.0) as well as touchdowns (1.7 to 2.0) and interceptions (0.7 to 0.3) per game. While three games is a smaller sample size, yes, it can still be seen that Brady appears to be trending in the right direction.
After some in the media raised questions about him earlier during the season, the five-time Super Bowl winner is quietly producing a terrific second half of the season. And with the Patriots heading into a huge road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers — a team that has routinely been torched by Brady in the past — having the starting quarterback (and the number one tight end as well) in top form will be huge.