Monday, December 20, 2010
Record-breaking night for Brady
It wasn't the most explosive performance of Tom Brady's career as he led the Patriots to a 31-27 win over the Packers, but it was enough to set a couple of NFL records.
Brady completed 15 of 24 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. That marks the seventh straight game with at least two passing touchdowns and zero interceptions, breaking a tie with Don Meredith for the longest such streak all-time. Brady has thrown 292 straight passes without an interception which also sets an NFL record for a single season. Bernie Kosar holds the longest streak spanning multiple seasons with 308 passes without an interception.
And for good measure, Brady also extended his own NFL record by winning his 27th straight regular-season home game.
Entering Week 15, Brady led the NFL in touchdowns and passer rating on throws of fewer than 15 yards downfield. Sunday night, Brady was matched up against the NFL's best defense against such throws. Helped by two touchdowns on throws of 14 yards or fewer, Brady posted a 110.6 passer rating on "short" throws - the best rating against the Packers this season.
With the inexperienced Matt Flynn starting at quarterback for the Packers, the Patriots dialed up blitz pressure to disrupt the Packers pass protection. The Patriots rushed five or more defenders on 17 of Flynn's dropbacks, the team's second-highest pressure total this season. The added pass pressure resulted in Flynn's only interception as well as four of the Patriots' five sacks.
The Patriots fell behind by 10 points in the 2nd quarter following a Greg Jennings TD catch with 2:20 left in the 1st half, but the ensuing kickoff was picked up by Dan Connolly, a Patriots offensive lineman who returned it for 71 yards, leading to a touchdown. Connolly's rumble is the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history.