Despite the 3-0 start, it hasn’t been the best of openings for both the New England Patriots and especially Tom Brady, who might be on his way up after a rough couple of opening games, but isn’t going show a drastic improvement without Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski back on the playing field.
Last season, when looking at specific numbers and not total ones, might have been the beginning of the decline for Tom Brady. His yards per attempt (7.6) and completion percentage (63%) were at their lowest since the 2006 season. His touchdowns-per-pass (5.3%) ratio was at its lowest since the 2009 season. At 36, it’s not unimaginable to believe he’s on his way down.
And there are the numbers from this season. He’s completing only 57.5% of his passes so far, averaging 5.5 yards per attempts and throwing a touchdown on only 3.9% of his passes. That’s before we go into his total numbers, which have a lot of fantasy owners worried, but it’s unlikely Brady or Belichick actually care about Brady getting dropped on ESPN leagues.
Last season was another indicator that his decision making, especially in games when he gets hit early, is not at its peak, and is getting slower and slower. The perfect example was the loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game, as Brady lost at home despite going into the second half with the lead. He simply made a mistake on too many plays, not to mention struggling to avoid the incoming pressure.
Brady had a similar start to the 2006 season – completing 53.3% of his passes through the first three games of the season, the only other time he was under 60.8% this time of the season. He did work things out the rest of the way, going 61.8% by the end of the season. However, he did finish with only 3,539 passing yards and 24 touchdowns in 2006. That yardage total remains the worst mark since his first season as a starter back in 2001, and the TD total is his second-lowest since ’01.
The answer to all these numbers increasing? Getting players back from injury, although even with Amendola, Vereen and Edelman, things didn’t look perfect during the opening weekend, completing 29-of-52 passes for 288 yards, throwing two touchdowns passes and an interception. Rob Gronkowski needs to come back and soon, because the Pats’ 3-0 start is one of the biggest lies we’re seeing this season in the NFL so far.