And that was especially tough on Brady’s ego early in the season when the wins were ugly (the offense averaged 19 points through five games) and Manning was already winning the MVP trophy with the Broncos offense averaging 46 points.
Brady was frustrated and he showed it often on Sundays.
But you know what? He never got off course. He never forgot about the contract he signed in February.
The 2013 season has been about winning football games and another championship, which brings us to last night.
The Patriots had the ball inside the 5-yard line for five plays in the first half last night. They ran the ball every time, three of those runs for touchdowns.
It’s part of the imprint of the 2013 Patriots, one you hear Brady talk about when miked by NFL Films during games about “toughness.” Lately, the Patriots have committed, with Brady’s blessing, to running the football as much they pass.
In Games 15 and 16, the Patriots ran the ball 43 and 34 times respectively, compared to 24 and 26 pass attempts. By halftime last night, the Patriots had run the ball 25 times versus 11 Brady flings. The caveat is that the Patriots have led these recent games.
But why not let Brady throw a 2-yard pass to Danny Amendola, to give him a little boost of confidence? Or how about giving the team’s second-best player in 2013, Julian Edelman, a reward?
Because running the ball is mentality and the Patriots, one that Brady, who has as much influence over the offense as Manning does in Denver, has approved of.
According to the “best” stat for a quarterback, the quarterback rating, which calibrates completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and interceptions, Brady is ranked 17th — yes 17th! — in 2013.
But most pundits have disregarded the 2013 statistical analysis (other than a guy from Sporting News who ranked Brady eighth of the eight playoff QBs remaining this weekend) and acknowledge the “W’s.”
It may not have been Brady’s best year in 2013, but we learned that when it counts most and the Patriots have to throw the ball to win a game, he is almost always there.
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.