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Even at age 42 Tom Brady is one of the most accurate deep-ball quarterbacks in the NFL this season

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Related: Rumors of Tom Brady’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated, again

New England Patriots v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Despite them being 8-1 and fielding one of the best scoring offenses in all of football, the New England Patriots’ passing game has had its fair share of miscues so far this season — from the wide receiver carousel’s continuous spin, to an offensive line that has lacked consistency, to a quarterback that has not yet found his trademark rhythm. That being said, not all was per se negative about the Patriots’ aerial attack.

Tom Brady is still among the best quarterbacks in the NFL, after all. Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is as good as ever. The unit has incorporated trade acquisition Mohamed Sanu well, and will get two major contributors back in the upcoming weeks in the form of first-round rookie N’Keal Harry and starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn. Also, the team’s deep passing game has been among the most efficient in the league this season.

Wait, what? You read that correctly, the Patriots’ deep passing game has worked relatively well nine games into the 2019 season and with a quarterback at the helm who has been among the most accurate deep-ball passers in all of football. Tom Brady and the Patriots are not exactly known for attacking teams vertically — except when one Randy Moss, circa 2007, is involved — but when they do they have had some solid success this season.

All in all, Brady’s stat-line on passes targeting areas 20+ yards down the field are as follows (numbers via Pro Football Focus):

Tom Brady deep passing statistics

Total attempts Deep attempts Deep completions Completion % Adjusted completion % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Passer rating
Total attempts Deep attempts Deep completions Completion % Adjusted completion % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Passer rating
355 37 18 48.6 51.4 534 5 3 100.5
Pro Football Focus

As can be seen, he is not exactly going deep often — only 10.4% of his passing attempts are of the 20+ yard variety — but when he does, he is hitting his targets on a rate of 51.4% (the difference to “normal” completion percentage is due to the inclusion of drops by the targeted receivers). This number ranks Brady as the sixth best in the NFL, ahead of quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers (51.1%) and the Kansas City ChiefsPatrick Mahomes (48.7%).

While his touchdown-to-interception ratio is comparatively mediocre, Brady is still ranking 12th out of 33 qualifying passers in terms of passer rating. He is also 10th in both deep-ball yardage and touchdown passes. In short: he is having a strong season going deep, despite being 42 years old. In fact, he is more accurate this year than he was back in 2018 when he hit his deep targets with an adjusted accuracy of “only” 42.9%.

With Harry and Wynn soon returning to the lineup and with Mohamed Sanu getting a bigger role, it will be interesting how Brady’s deep passing game develops throughout the rest of the season. With the exception of the three interceptions he has thrown, after all, the early portions of the season have already been encouraging.