Tom Brady has beaten the Houston Texans’ blitz before.
This time, it just took him a little longer to figure it out.
The Texans’ blitz gave Brady problems in the first half, holding him to 2 for 7 passing (with an interception and a sack) when sending at least five pass rushers.
Brady Passing vs 5+ Rushers
Sunday vs Texans
But Brady was much improved in the second half against the Texans’ blitz, which Wade Phillips dialed up almost twice as often as in the first two quarters. The chart on the right illustrates the difference.
Brady’s two most notable passes against the blitz in this game were the touchdown throw to Shane Vereen that gave the Patriots their first lead of the game, and the third-down 17-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski to the Texans 43, which led to the eventual game-winning field goal.
The change in approach came in how far Brady threw the ball when he was blitzed. He elected to throw shorter passes.
Brady’s average throw against Houston’s blitz was 15.0 yards downfield in the first half and 8.5 yards downfield in the second half.
Brady beat the Texans’ blitz last year in both games he faced the Texans. Brady was 25 for 38 for 356 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 14 and the Divisional Playoffs combined when Houston sent at least five rushers.
Brady did have one notable streak against the blitz come to an end. He had thrown 31 touchdown passes without an interception against pass rushes of five or more since he threw an interception against it in a game against the Washington Redskins in Week 14 of the 2011 season.