The Broncos were able to frustrate Tom Brady for much of the second half. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Halftime adjustments are a major part in any game, but Sunday night in Denver they were a major reason why the Broncos came out on top.
Although it wasn’t New England’s best first half, Tom Brady looked pretty good at halftime, especially considering who he had active in the passing game, as the Patriots led 14-7 and Brady was 13-for-18 with 106 yards and two touchdowns.
But the second half was a different story, as the Broncos defense forced Brady off his game and they were able to come away with a 30-24 overtime win. Brady went 10-for-24 with 174 yards and a touchdown, but 63 of those yards came on Brandon Bolden’s touchdown.
One of the adjustments was forcing Brady to take longer from snap-to-throw and getting him out of his rhythm.
By our count, Brady took an average of 2.32 seconds from snap-to-attempt, which was his second-longest time of the season — only the Bills game in the game prior was higher, which was 2.45 seconds.
On Sunday night, there was a major difference between the first half and second half. In the first half Brady averaged 1.86 seconds from snap-to-throw, but in the second half that number jumped to 2.67 seconds — almost a full second difference.
In the first half, Brady had just one play taking more than three seconds from snap-to-throw, but in the second half he had seven.
“Every game you play, you learn stuff from,” Brady said on Dennis & Callahan Monday. “You take whatever lessons you learn from the wins and the losses and you move forward later in the year. One loss isn’t going to destroy our season by any stretch. We’re still in a good position. We’ve got to take the learning and use it as motivation. These are things we could do better. Obviously there’s a lot of guys who are getting a lot of experience out there with other guys being down.”
By now it’s becoming more clear as the weeks go by just how much more effective Brady is when getting the ball out quick. Without his top receivers to do so — Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola — it’s no surprise to see Brady have his highest averages from snap-to-throw in the last two games.
Furthermore, against Denver Brady was 14-for-17 when taking less than two seconds from snap-to-throw, but 1-for-8 when taking more than three seconds. Over the last two games when taking less than two seconds, Brady is 26-for-35, but when taking more than three seconds he is 4-for-20.
With the injury to Rob Gronkowski, which will keep him out reportedly a few games, Edelman not coming back until at least the postseason and Amendola’s status up in the air, Brady will be tested maybe more than ever with having to go out of his comfort zone and not get rid of the ball as quickly as he would like. Or another scenario, players like Keshawn Martin and Brandon Bolden will need to step up and play more of a role catching quick, short passes over the middle like they did on a few plays Sunday.
“If Denver is one of the top teams in the AFC, obviously we know we can hang with everybody,” Brady said. “Because we went into overtime in a tough environment with just a lot of things that didn’t necessarily bounce our way. We still can gain confidence from that. We’re still in a good position. Our season is going to be what we make of it. Everything that’s happened over the last 11 weeks puts you in that position. This is when football season starts.”
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