Friday, December 31, 2010
Brady, Cassel Under Center of Attention
By Vince Masi
Our weekly look at quarterbacks who are under the center of attention.
If Tom Brady plays for the New England Patriots Sunday, he'll put a number of historic streaks on the line. He's won an NFL-record 27 straight home games. He's thrown an NFL-record 319 straight passes without an interception. But did you know he has also thrown a touchdown pass in every game this season? If he does throw one Sunday, he'll be the sixth different quarterback in the 16-game schedule era (since 1978) to throw at least one TD pass in every game and the first since Daunte Culpepper in 2004. Keep in mind, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints can also achieve this feat Sunday as well.
Speaking of Brees, no down or distance is too difficult to overcome for the New Orleans Saints quarterback. On third down and more than 10 yards to go, Brees has completed 20-of-28 passes and nine of those completions have gone for first downs. That's the most completions for first downs in that situation he's had in a single season in his career. In fact, the only quarterback to throw for more facing 3rd-and-10 or more yards is Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers with 12.
The rookie QB will try to get the St. Louis Rams into the playoffs with a win Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks. He has thrown 554 passes and has completed 60.5 percent of them this season, an outstanding feat for someone so young. According to Pro Football Reference, if he can keep his accuracy up Sunday, he'll be just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw 500 passes with a completion percentage of 60 or better at age 23 or younger.
Matt Cassel needs to throw three touchdown passes and he will tie Len Dawson's single-season franchise record of 30, set in 1964. But like Brady, Cassel has not been turning the ball over. His interception rate of 1.2 (percent of his pass attempts that are intercepted) is second only to Brady (0.8) this season. Historically speaking, Cassel's TD-to-interception differential is +22, which is three better than Steve DeBerg's previous team record set in 1990 when he threw 23 touchdown passes and four interceptions.