Sunday, November 22, 2009
Brady handles the pressure
By Chris Forsberg
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When a reporter suggested it seemed like the Jets might not have blitzed as much as they had during their Week 2 matchup with the Patriots, New England quarterback Tom Brady briefly interrupted.
Tom Brady has thrown for more than 300 yards in five straight weeks.
"They were blitzing," Brady said with a smile. It turns out, his performance in Sunday's 31-14 triumph at Gillette Stadium simply made it seem like there was less pressure.
According to our wizards at ESPN Stats and Analysis, the Jets brought six or more pass rushers 13 times in Sunday's game. On those plays, Brady completed 8 of 13 attempts for 72 yards with a QB rating of 76.4.
In Week 2, the Jets brought six or more rushers 21 times and Brady completed 6 of 21 attempts for 62 yards with an interception and a QB rating of 19.7.
When the Jets brought five or fewer rushers Sunday, Brady completed 20 of 28 attempts for 238 yards and a touchdown with a QB rating of 108.9. In Week 2, he was 17 of 26 for 154 yards and a QB rating of 81.3 against the same pressure.
"I don't think we handled it as well when they blitzed us early in the last game, so when you don't handle it well, they just typically keep bringing it," said Brady. "When you handle it, that settles it down a bit. They're a blitz team. They blitz 40, 50 percent of the time, so they were blitzing quite a bit. We just, I thought, did a pretty good job of sorting it all out."
Jets coach Rex Ryan admitted he couldn't find a pressure situation that worked consistently Sunday.
"Early, I wanted to bluff them and let them think we were coming, and all that kind of stuff," said Ryan. "And we bluffed ourselves into a 60-yard pass one time, that was a blown coverage. But again, sometimes the matchup, you can go zero coverage all you want, but someone has to cover [Randy] Moss, someone has to cover [Wes] Welker, someone has to cover [Kevin] Faulk and they had some pretty good matchups out there. Believe me, this is a heck of a football team and it's a hard team to defend."
The Patriots contained the Jets' rush with a patchwork line, which was already playing without guard Stephen Neal and tackle Matt Light, and lost Sebastian Vollmer for a quarter because of a head injury.
Brady doesn't like talking about his own recovery from the knee injury that sidelined him for much of last season. But a comparison of his overall stat lines from Week 2 and Week 11 shows a progression:
"I think we're obviously playing a lot better football as a unit," said Brady. "My job is pretty simple when [the offensive linemen] block the way they block and Randy and Wes are out there doing their thing. You know, every year, it's a new year and there are new challenges, new teams, new defenses. We came into this year and didn't really know what kind of team we'd have and I'm really proud of the way that we work, the way that we practice."
Brady, who leaned on Welker for 15 receptions and 192 yards, posted his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing game and sixth overall of the season, a category he recently became the franchise leader in, surpassing Drew Bledsoe.
Brady needs 163 more passing yards to pass Bledsoe (29,657 career yards) and become the franchise's all-time leader.
But Brady isn't worried about personal accomplishments. He's simply happy to see the team moving in the right direction.
"There's been some really good leadership for a pretty young team and it's been a fun 10 weeks," said Brady. "We've really had three bad second halves, which is why we've got three losses. We've learned a lot from those losses and I'm looking forward to what's ahead.
"Coach [Belichick] always says the season starts after Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving's Thursday, so we've got six regular-season games left. The Saints are going to be -- Coach said probably the toughest opponent we face this year, right there with the Colts. So I'm glad we're playing this kind of football."