Shutdown Corner - NFL

Tom Brady's(notes) first half against the Tennessee Titans today should finally put to rest the premature questions about what was wrong with the three-time Super Bowl champion. In the snow in Foxborough, Brady threw five first half touchdown passes for the New England Patriots, who lead the winless Titans 45-0.

So, let's ask again: What's wrong with Brady? Absolutely nothing.

The questions were always a bit ridiculous. Brady was returning from a serious injury, yet people seemed to expect him to step right in and lead the Pats to another undefeated record. He was getting flak because he was merely performing well, not spectacularly.

Now that he has performed like his old self, people will automatically say that Brady is fully back, which is probably every bit as absurd as asking what his problem was. One half makes not a comeback, the same way five games don't mean a guy is washed up. Brady's comeback from injury will have to progress throughout the season. The fact that he torched a Titans team that has seemingly given up is a step in the right direction, but also doesn't mean Patriots fans should be booking hotel rooms for February in Miami.

Some quick facts about Brady's half:

1. He threw more touchdown passes in the game's first 30 minutes than the Lions, Dolphins, Rams, Panthers, Browns and Raiders had total for the season coming into today.

2. All those touchdown passes came in the second quarter, the most thrown by a quarterback in one period since 1950. 

3. The Patriots 45-0 halftime lead is the biggest in the NFL since 1950.

4. The yardage and touchdown passes were all first half career highs for Brady.

5. Brady's 24/28, 345 yard, 5 touchdown start was good for a quarterback rating of 157.6 (a perfect rating is 158.3). If you ever need examples of why the QB rating system is archaic, look no further. How can Brady's half not be perfect?

For some reason, Brady has started the second half for New England. It seems like an unnecessary move given the lead, weather and Brady's prior injury, but Bill Belichick has never been one to play it safe. 

Update: On the Patriots first drive of the second half, Brady threw for his sixth touchdown pass of the game. The NFL record for a game is seven, last achieved by Joe Kapp in 1969.

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