Monday, November 29, 2010
BRADY GOBBLES LIONS FOR THANKSGIVING DINNER
The QB Rating stat, like all statistics, is imperfect. It doesn't, by itself, truly measure how great a quarterback's game/season/career is. But Tom Brady's maximum 158.3 from Thursday's win over the Lions is one time when the QB Rating is spot on.
After struggling to generate a rhythm in the first half, Brady spent the second half dissecting the Lions' defense. He was helped by some big defensive plays, which gave the Pats very good field position. And a 79 yard hook-up with Branch, which was as much the receivers' running as it was Brady's throwing.
And unlike against the Colts, the Patriots' offense maintained their assault. The defense was giving the ball back to Brady, and Brady spread it around to Welker, Gronkowski, and Branch. He added to the Patriots' lead, and what was a back-and-forth 24-24 game to start the 4th, very quickly turned into a slaughter.
I'm not going to dance in the streets for a win over a 2-9 Detroit team. Then again, the Patriots have continually struggled to make in-game adjustments. On offense, and also on defense, they figured out what Detroit was doing, figured out how to defeat it, and applied those adjustments with remarkable success.
Some of the nice looking numbers from the game: Tom Brady was 21/27, completing his last 10 pass attempts, for 341 yards, 4 touchdowns, and the afore-mentioned maximum 158.3 QB Rating.
Branch only caught 3 passes, but for 113 yards and 2 scores. Welker caught 8 passes for 90, and 2 touchdowns. 7 different Patriots caught passes (3 tight-ends, 2 backs, and only 2 WRs). BJG Ellis only ran for 59 yards, but averaged 4.9 per carry, and scored twice.
And how good has Devin McCourty been this season? He's no "shut-down corner," but he's done well in coverage, is a sure tackler, and has a nose for the football. He's a playmaker. Something the Patriots defense has been lacking for a few years.
The Patriots have an extended week to eat Lion leftovers, and prepare for the Jets, who come to town next Monday night. That's a fairly significant game.