Tom Brady finally qualifies for passing stats, leads NFL in every meaningful category
The Pats quarterback hasn't shown any rust from his four-game suspension
It has been three games since Brady returned from his four-game Deflategate suspension and he has already established himself as the best quarterback of the 2016 season. After another successful outing against the Steelers on Sunday, Brady has finally thrown enough passes to qualify for official NFL passing statistics (which MassLive's Kevin Duffy first pointed out).
He's already on top of every meaningful category.
Through three games, Brady is 76 of 101 for 1,004 yards, eight touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 132.6 passer rating. Let's take a look at where those numbers stack up.
But first, an example of his work:
OK, onto the stats.
Passer rating: Brady's 132.6 passer rating leads the NFL.
He's actually 19 points ahead of No. 2 Matt Ryan and his 113.6 rating. For context, consider Brady's career-high rating in a single season is 117.2, which he put up during the Patriots' undefeated 2007 season, and the NFL's single-season record is held by Aaron Rodgers (122.5) in 2011.
There's still a ways to go, but Brady is on pace to crush that mark.
Completion percentage: Brady has completed 75.2 percent of his passes. That's the highest completion percentage in the NFL.
Dak Prescott, who has completed 68.7 of his attempts, is in second. So, Brady is on top by nearly seven points.
Yards per pass: Obviously due to the fact that he was suspended for a quarter of the season (remember: all because apparently under-inflated footballs were used during an absolute blowout of a game), Brady does not lead the NFL in passing yards. But if you look at yards per pass (a better stat anyway, because it measures efficiency and not volume), it's Brady in a landslide.
So far, he's averaging 9.94 yards per attempt, which means he's basically averaging a first down every time he lets go of the football.
Matt Ryan is in second with 9.62 yards per pass.
Touchdown rate: Drew Brees leads the NFL in total passing touchdowns with 17. But if you look at touchdown rates, Brady is on top.
7.9 percent of his passes wind up in the end zone. For the sake of comparison, Brees leads the league in touchdowns, but his touchdown rate is 6.2 percent (tied for the fourth-highest percentage). In second place is Ben Roethlisberger, who's throwing a touchdown on 7.1 percent of his passes.
Again, Brady is ahead by a decent margin.
Interceptions: Brady has yet to throw an interception this year. So, obviously, he's tied for the best interception rate in the NFL.
The point being: Tom Brady might be 39, but he's not slowing down. And we shouldn't be surprised if his run of success continues.
One reason for that is coaching. Bill Belichick might be (I say he is) the greatest coach in the history of the NFL and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels proved his value by successfully working with both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Another reason is the Patriots' personnel -- something our Jared Dubin broke down recently.
The last reason is Brady himself. The endings for older all-time greats often come out of nowhere (see: Peyton Manning), but I can't help but think Brady wasn't entirely wrong when he said he wanted to play until 2025.
He's an unstoppable machine -- even with fully inflated footballs.
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