Tom F***ing Brady.
If you caught the Patriots’ 36-33 win over the Texans Sunday afternoon, there’s a good chance you dropped an F-bomb or two towards the Pats defense.
But as he’s done time after time throughout his Hall-of-Fame career, Brady took over with one final drive to make things right – and he did.
A 75-yard, game-winning touchdown drive in 2:01 to put the Pats ahead for good with 0:23 left on the clock.
And folks, over the last 17 years that’s about as fall in New England as apple picking is.
With that win, Brady now has 52 career fourth-quarter comeback wins, which include eight by touchdowns in the final minute. Prior to Sunday’s win, the last time he did it by touchdown in the final minute was in 2013 (twice).
So how do you go 75 yards in two minutes? You throw that sucker deep.
For Brady and the Patriots, that’s been the theme this season.
In Week 1’s loss against the Chiefs, Brady attempted 10 deep passes of 20-plus yards in the air, completing just two of them. It was a clear sign that with Julian Edelman out, they were looking longer.
The results, though, were troubling.
But instead of tossing that strategy out the window, it’s clear that they doubled down on it and continued to work out the kinks.
And on Sunday the product was on display throughout. Brady connected on five of his eight pass attempts of 20-plus yards through the air, for 185 yards and three touchdowns. There were some other relatively long ones mixed in throughout as well.
On the team’s final drive of the game, Brady hit Brandin Cooks for a 19-yard gain that was called back due to holding, he hit Cooks again for 18 yards along the sideline, on 3rd-and-18 he hit Danny Amendola for 27 yards, and then on the next play threw the 25-yard touchdown to Cooks – who had the awareness to keep his toes inbounds before landing.
“We were able to overcome a couple of long-yardage situations on the last drive with Danny [Amendola] and Rob [Gronkowski],” Bill Belichick said. “[Brandin] Cooks, obviously, on the last play against Cover-2 down the sideline made a great catch there.”
Brady now leads the league with 22 attempts, 11 completions, 368 yards and four touchdowns on deep (20-plus yards in the air) attempts, while he has the second-highest passer rating on these attempts, at 135.4, according to Pro Football Focus.
His 22 attempts are almost half of the 49 such attempts he had in all of last year’s regular season, and while he attempted a deep pass on only 11.3-percent of his passes last season, he has the highest rate in the NFL this season at 20.0-percent, according to Pro Football Focus.
With players like Cooks, Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, and Amendola they have the personnel to go deep. Cooks alone has five of those receptions this season for 187 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came against the Texans.
So while Major League Baseball recently broke its record for home runs in a single season this year, the Patriots, too, are digging the long ball.