Is Tom Brady beginning his Peyton Manning career decline?
The New England Patriots aren’t offensively what they’ve been. That’s the prevailing narrative, anyway.
For all the talk of Tom Brady playing until he’s 50, is it the case that TB12 is at that stage of steep decline that we saw out of Peyton Manning in Manning’s last season?
Manning, in 2015, missed seven regular-season games due to injuries, and posted a career-worst 67.9 passer rating – throwing for 224.9 yards per game, completing 59.8 percent of his passes, with 9 TDs and 17 INTs.
And yet, his Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl that season, largely because the Broncos were #1 in the NFL in 2015 in total defense.
Now, let’s look at Brady in 2019. The passer rating is right now at 90.1, which would be Brady’s lowest since 2013, but still ranks 21st in the NFL.
(Manning’s 67.9 rating was 34th in 2015, FWIW.)
Brady is averaging 272.5 yards per game in 2019, completing 63.7 percent of his passes, with 14 TDs and 5 INTs.
The Pats rank third in the league in scoring (28.7 points per game), though to be fair, the defense and special teams have scored a league-high six touchdowns on returns, which accounts for 4.2 points per game of that total.
Account for that, and you’re still Top 10, which, not bad.
(Denver, back in 2015, was 19th in the NFL, scoring 22.2 points per game, with 2.2 points per game accounted for by defensive touchdowns. Again, FWIW.)
Yes, New England is 9-1 because of its defense, which is first in the NFL in total defense (249.9 yards per game) and scoring defense (10.8 points per game).
But this is nowhere near the same situation that we saw with Manning game-managing his way to that second Super Bowl win in his last game.
Now, in the interest of being fair, it probably helps to point out that the 2014 Manning was the vintage Manning – 101.5 passer rating, 294.5 yards per game, 66.2 completion percentage, 39 TDs, 15 INTs.
It went downhill fast for Manning from 2014 to 2015.
Could the same happen for Brady? Sure can.
I’d say it’s just not happening right now.
Column by Chris Graham
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