Tom Brady surpassed Drew Brees as the all-time passing yards leader after an efficient performance on Sunday that saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers overcome Brady’s former team, the New England Patriots, 19-17.
The 44-year-old posted 269 yards on 22 total completions on the day – marking his weakest performance through four weeks. It was his first game of the season without a touchdown, though he did not throw any interceptions either.
However, it was enough to propel Super Bowl-hopefuls Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a record of 3-1 having taken a tough loss to the LA Rams in Week 3.
Many fans were disappointed in the way the Bucs played, with all signs pointing to Tampa Bay thrashing New England. The game was too close for comfort, with the Buccaneers uncharacteristically undisciplined.
“We had a few too many penalties that really held us back and not our best day in the red area. Good to get a win on the road – we had a tough one on the road last week, which was a tough game but good to rebound,” judged the Tampa Bay signal-caller.
Despite the Buccaneers coming into the game as strong favourites to win, football’s greatest coach Bill Belichick had other ideas.
Despite a non-existent rushing attack, rookie quarterback Mac Jones stepped up. He looked comfortable and scored two touchdowns against an aggressive defence. Patriots fans will hope that Jones will continue to improve through the season after a solid start. He was touted by some to be the heir to Brady’s legacy in New England.
“We were dealing with a really good football team, obviously they were really well-prepared. I thought they made a lot of good plays,” said the three-time league MVP.
Jones’ efforts weren’t enough though, as the Buccaneers ultimately came away with the win.
Brady, last year’s Super Bowl MVP, has now beaten every team in the NFL.
The Patriots legend received a warm reception as his arrival onto the field was met with rapturous applause and loud cheers from both the home and away fans in Foxborough.
He could also be seen sharing embraces and handshakes with many Patriots players and coaches after the game in what was an emotional homecoming.
The Buccaneers play another AFC East team in Week 5 as they host the 1-3 Miami Dolphins at the Raymond James Stadium.
Brady atop NFL’s passing leader board
Despite having his worst performance of the season so far, Brady did enough to break Brees’ passing-yards record and become the NFL’s leader with 80,560 yards. The two legends are also the only two quarterbacks to ever accumulate more than 80,000 career passing yards, with third-placed Peyton Manning at 71,940 yards.
Brady is also the holder of the all-time passing touchdowns record, with 591 scores to his name. His scores have counted towards his league record wins at the quarterback position too, with 233 so far.
“It’s pretty cool. Nothing in this sport can be accomplished in this sport without incredible teammates and coaches and I’ve been blessed for 22 years.
“A quarterback can’t do anything if the guys don’t catch the ball, and guys have done a great job of catching for me over the last 22 years.
“I sure as though can’t catch anything – everyone’s seen that drop against the Eagles in the Super Bowl – but I can throw it a little bit and I’m glad I got some great guys that can catch it,” said a humble Brady.
There is no doubt that this feat is impressive, as he now holds the all-time records for the three major metrics for quarterback success.
This is what makes his career special, and why he is the greatest footballer of all time – he has won the most
However, his statistics and performance on paper only tell a fraction of the story.
A sixth-round pick out of Michigan, Brady’s phenomenal story can only truly be captured by looking at his accolades.
The five-time Super Bowl MVP has won a league-shattering seven Super Bowls from ten appearances at the grand fixture. He is also the only quarterback to have won the Lombardi Trophy with two different teams.
This is what makes his career special, and why he is the greatest footballer of all time – he has won the most.
In truth, Brady is not that interesting a quarterback to watch. Players like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes bring far more value in terms of arm talent and explosiveness. Brees could be considered a better pure passer than Brady – his stats per game are better.
However, the 14-time Pro Bowler is by far and away the most successful player ever. His winning record and longevity are second to none, and it sets him in a different class from the other players.
When asked which Super Bowl victory was his favourite, Brady famously answered “the next one”.
Being the all-time passing yards leader simply adds to Brady’s legacy as one of the best quarterbacks ever. However, it barely tells the story of how Brady has dominated the league for the best part of two generations.