As you’ve probably surmised by now, I’m too pretty to do math. When it comes to analytics, I leave the numbers-crunching to other, less aesthetically-pleasing creatures. Fortunately, my pal Kerry Byrne of Football Nation is a genius for such things when it comes to NFL stats. And he just put together a compilation of Patriots stats from this season as it stands now after seven games that absolutely broke my brain.
Here are just a few:
- Tom Brady in his first three games this year has completed 75.2 percent of his passes (76 of 101), which puts him on pace to shatter the all-time NFL record for accuracy of 71.2 percent set by Drew Brees in 2011 (468 of 657).
- Rob Gronkowski is the greatest TD catching machine the NFL has produced in more than 70 years. He has caught 67 touchdown passes in 85 career games, an average of 0.79 TDs per game. … Hall of Fame wide receiver Don Hutston … is the only player ahead of Gronk on the [all time] list.
- Tony Gonzalez holds the all-time tight end record of 111 TD receptions, a feat accomplished over 270 games. Gronk is on pace to surpass that tight end record touchdown total in just 142 career games.
- The two highest-rated quarterbacks in the NFL season are Patriots starter Tom Brady (132.6) and Patriots back-up Jimmy Garoppolo (117.1).
- The Patriots are poised to post the best record in the division for the 16th consecutive season – every year since Brady became quarterback.
- With four more victories, [Brady will] be the first QB in history to win more than 200 games.
- Brady’s win loss differential of +137 (197-60) is easily the greatest in history and nobody is close. Peyton Manning is No. 2 (+108) and Joe Montana is a distant No. 3 (+79).
The truly mind-melting part of these numbers is that the Patriots have not even been at their best. Not by a damned sight. The team numbers include four games with quarterbacks starting for the first time. Garoppolo’s passer rating reflects games played without Gronk and behind an offensive line cobbled together out of spare parts from the “Star Wars” droid factory. And Brady was forcibly removed from the premises for four weeks, so he couldn’t practice with anyone.
Most of all, Brady is doing what he’s doing without the all-important benefit of his career of cheating. Let us not forget that all his success as a quarterback depended on the special advantage of having super squishy footballs that were secretly doctored. And yet somehow, with the NFL finally cracking down on illegal practices like that, he’s managing to find a way to play at a level never before achieved by anyone.
Sure, we’re not even halfway through the season. So maybe it’s a little early to be bringing this up. But I will anyway because if the Pats’ offense had dropped off even an infinitesimal amount, the haters would be raining “Aha!”s down from the sky like Hellfire missiles and calling it proof the Patriots have been frauds all along. Math is hard. Pointing out true greatness is easy.
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