A bunch of stats that might make you way less scared of Tom Brady

JP Finlay
·3 min read

A bunch of stats that might make you way less scared of Tom Brady originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Whenever his career finishes, Tom Brady will go down as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. 

Six Super Bowl wins, three MVP awards, 14 Pro Bowls, and he was named to the 2000s All-Decade team and the 2010s All-Decade team. The resume is wildly impressive. 

But - and it's important for fans to remember this - Washington will not face off against Brady's resume on Saturday night. 

Washington will play Brady, and on the surface his performance this season looks exemplary, 40 TDs against 12 INTs, but dig a little deeper and there are some warts. 

Using advanced passing analytics from Pro Football Reference, Brady's acclaimed accuracy comes under real question. 

First, removing throwaway passes and stop-the-clock spikes, Brady's passes-on-target percentage this season came in at 73.9 percent. That ranks 31st out of 35 passers that qualified. Brady ranks lower than Daniel Jones and Cam Newton, and just ahead of Sam Darnold, Carson Wentz and Dwayne Haskins. Looking at it another way - Kirk Cousins led the NFL in on-target percentage at 81.3 percent. Just behind him were Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. 

Second, what's the opposite of on-target? A bad throw, and Brady threw plenty of them. In fact, again according to Pro Football Reference, Brady threw a bad pass on one of every five attempts. Brady's bad throw numbers came in at 20.6 percent, and that excludes all throwaways and spikes. He ranked fourth among 35 qualified passers in bad throws, with just Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins and Carson Wentz ahead of him. 

Those two stats aren't meant to mislead. 

Brady is clearly a great football player, both in the past and currently. This season he threw for more than 4,600 pass yards, and he led the NFL in intended-air-yards and intended-air-yards-per-pass-attempt. In short, that means Brady was going downfield a lot, and in turn, those are harder passes to hit and more prone to big misses. 

Still, the stats matter, particularly if Washington can generate pressure. 

Brady faced pressure on only 17.2 percent of his throws this season. That's not much. To compare, Alex Smith has faced pressure on more than 30 percent of his throws. 

If Washington can turn that pressure up, it could force Brady into more bad throws, and the stats show he's already making a lot of them. For the season Washington's defense generates pressure on more than 25 percent of throwing plays. 

Here's one more number to keep in mind: Brady is 43 years old. That's ancient in the NFL.

So far Brady has bended Father Time to his will, but will that always hold up?

In his last playoff game, Brady completed 20 of 39 throws for 207 yards and an interception. He finished that game - a 20-13 New England loss to Tennessee - with a 59.4 QB rating. His career postseason QB rating is 89.8, and last year's game was 30 points lower. 

Waiting for the demise of Tom Brady has largely been a fool's errand, but there are reasons to like Washington's chances on Saturday night. 

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Tampa Bay
+140+3O 51.5
New Orleans
-167-3U 51.5