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Brady's night more sterling in context

11/16/2010

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was extraordinary Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At first glance, his stats weren't as jaw-dropping as Michael Vick's on Monday night, but Football Outsiders managing editor Bill Barnwell explains what Brady did at Heinz Field was the best passing performance of the yearInsider and rates among Brady's best ever.

Brady completed 30 of 43 attempts for 350 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 117.4 passer rating. Brady has recorded much higher ratings. His rating for the 2007 regular season was 117.2.

Football Outsiders isn't the type of organization to leave stats alone. Numbers require perspective, and the fact Brady turned in that performance in Pittsburgh -- against the NFL's second-rated defense, fourth-rated pass defense and second-busiest sack mongers -- made his night sparkle significantly more.

Barnwell says what Brady did against the Steelers exceeds more prolific stat lines against lesser opposition, including Vick's amazing Monday night against the Washington Redskins.

But what Brady did Sunday night wasn't his best regular-season game.

Barnwell writes:

The metrics suggest that Brady's best day came during his incredible 2007 season. In Week 11 of that season, Brady laid waste to the Buffalo Bills, going 32 of 39 for 373 yards with five touchdowns and no picks. While the Bills ranked only 17th against the pass that year, Brady's ruthless efficiency propelled that game to the top of the charts.

Also of note, Brady's performance was the second-best against the Steelers since 1993, using Football Outsiders calculations. The best was Brady in that record-setting 2007 campaign.