Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady getting hate, but why?

It seems like the cool thing nowadays is to hate on a legendary quarterback after a tough loss, and that’s what’s happening to New England Patriots QB Tom Brady. Last week, it was Denver Broncos signal-caller Peyton Manning who received the heat after the Baltimore Ravens topped the Broncos in double overtime.

It’s always “fun” for some people to go into complete “knee-jerk reaction” mode and pour it onto a quarterback after the team lost, and it seems like QBs take the fall these days for a loss whether they deserve to or not. The same goes for quarterbacks like Joe Flacco, who get unnecessarily effusive praise after a win. Brady wasn’t at his best, but that doesn’t mean he “can’t get it done” or is “overrated”. All it takes is a simple Twitter search (I’m not linking to any particular tweets since I don’t want to call anyone out) to find people taking it out on Brady.

My frustration isn’t directed at the fans of other teams knocking Brady, because that’s what you expect from fans of other teams, right? But what  bothers me is the very few Patriots fans who are going out of their way to call out Brady, which is absolutely moronic. Whenever I am frustrated at a key player for messing up (which Brady didn’t, by the way), I always remind myself, “Remember who got you there in the first place”.

The thing about this loss to the Baltimore Ravens is that the hate on Brady is unwarranted because it wasn’t his fault. He was never sacked in this game, but sacks are misleading since quarterbacks like Brady who do an excellent job of getting rid of the ball avoid sacks (Michael Vick is the opposite). Brady was hit seven times, and he was hit three times by Haloti Ngata. Dan Connolly could not contain Ngata at all, and Sebastian Vollmer had a few struggles with Pernell McPhee and Ngata at times as well. The left side of the line was excellent, but Ngata dominated the right side of the line.

So Brady faced constant pressure, and quarterbacks facing constant pressure are almost never able to dictate the game on their terms. The Pats also lacked a deep threat in that game to help close the gap, and Brady had to rely on timing routes. Aaron Hernandez played a great game and Wes Welker was solid despite some poor drops, but I want to highlight the other receivers here as well.

I love Brandon Lloyd and don’t want to start knocking other Patriots players for the fault of what was a “team loss”, but he didn’t play his best game. Despite showing flashes of brilliance, Lloyd should have done better against Cary Williams and finished the day with a meager 50% catch rate. Yeah, he only caught 50% of everything thrown at him, which is awful when you consider all the passes thrown to Lloyd were short ones.

Although some of that blame could feasibly go to Brady, he had no trouble hitting Hernandez and Welker on similar throws. Lloyd’s stat line of seven receptions for 70 yards is misleading on the surface, so you have to dig deeper into the stats. He was targeted 14 times and averaged just ten yards per reception, and Lloyd offered little after the catch (once again). He made a nice move to get the first down a couple of times, but he wasn’t consistent in that regard as evidenced by the ten yards per reception. Hernandez and Welker were able to fight for extra yardage, and it’s just frustrating to see Lloyd leaving yards on the table.

Now let’s get to Brady. The offensive line and receivers had their struggles (as did the running game), but some of the blame does need to go to Brady. He didn’t play a bad game, but he wasn’t at his best either. As Patriots fans, we’re spoiled to have such a great quarterback consistently delivering, so when he is merely “solid” and not “amazing”, the Pats feel the pain.

Brady made several crisp throws on short routes, and the wind prevented him from hitting his receivers who didn’t even gain separation downfield. The only receiver who was able to create some space beyond 15 yards was Wes Welker. With Rob Gronkowksi out, only Welk and Hernandez were truly helping out the pass offense. Hernandez only averaged 9.2 yards per catch, though, and this means only Welker could help Brady achieve the goal of moving the ball downfield quickly. Hernandez played a solid game, but the injury to Gronk left the pass offense depleted.

I know for a fact that Brady could have played a better game, and the second interception he threw (the one in the end zone to Cary Williams) was an uncharacteristically poor throw. The first INT was the fault of the line, because tipped passes are a combination of a great play from the defender and a slightly below-average play from the offensive lineman.

And even though Brady was mediocre in this game, there is no doubt he is one of the best to ever step onto a gridiron. If you don’t think he’s one of the legends of the game, then I think it’s going to be very difficult to hold a civil football conversation with you. If you don’t think Brady can get the job done and you are a Patriots fan, then I really want to hear why. I mean, there must be something I’m not getting here, right?

So yes, Brady wasn’t at his best. But neither was the whole team. You can’t blame one player for this loss, you have to blame the whole team for not doing a better job on the big stage in this one. Certain players like Ryan Wendell, Zoltan Mesko, Devin McCourty, and Alfonzo Dennard stood up to the challenge, but other players did not and had uncharacteristic off games. Such is the nature of the NFL, where anything can happen in any given week. Just make sure not to overreact after a game, because it is far too easy to do so.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.


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  • Kevin Dylan

    You’re equating critiques for “hate”. And Brady and the entire Pats team deserve plenty of criticism for what was an obvious lack of heart in the game. But the coaching deserves some as well. As for Welker, he’s dropped too many crucial passes in big games in the past 2 seasons to still be considered reliable in the playoffs.
    The Pats looked like a team that expected to win. Not like a team that was determined to win.

    • Joe Soriano

      Kevin, I agree with you here, and I should have defined “hate” better. I guess I got carried away there. In the second half, you could visibly tell that the Patriots were deflated, dejected, and simply out of it. Certain players (like Mayo, Brady, and Welker) showed plenty of heart, but there were others (not going to name names) who didn’t show up as much. I’m not going to fully blame a lack of effort, but you could tell the Ravens were the better team and put forth the better effort.

      Hands and reliability are words that have become synonymous, but I look at reliability differently. Welker is almost always open, and the good he brings to this team outweighs the drops. I wish he didn’t screw up on those plays and that 3rd down drop really got to me, but Welker was probably best player on offense for the Pats in this game.

      Bill Belichick would like to try to forget the mistakes he made in that game, no doubt about that. It was a rare off game for the Pats (well, more like a rare off second-half that was WAY off), and you just can’t have that in crunch time.

  • Stephen McKitrick

    Well, most people don’t like cheaters. That’s why the Patriots are so hated, oh and a pompus ass head coach.

    • Joe Soriano

      Admit it, you hate them because they are good. If they sucked, then you would be indifferent.

    • Christine Jacobia

      You act like the Patriots were the only ones taping things…they were just the only ones caught! It’s like the Saints and their bounty issues…are you that naive that you think that they were the only team quietly asking players to knock others out of the game??? Really…then I have some great land in the Everglades that you will just love!

  • chris simoneau

    Joe, remember the preview I sent you before I started writing on this site? Yesterday was a perfect example of getting away from the needed balance on offense and throwing too much in the 2nd half. The Pats had them, and once again, they got greedy. Some games are going to be close and managing game properly will win it. Losing 4 pts at the end of a half- huge mistake. Not running the ball consistently, another huge mistake that the Pats coaching staff has been making since 2007. I have a plan on how they can fix this team. I’m going to post it either later this afternoon or tomorrow. This offense cannot win a Super Bowl playing this style, and now it’s proven. The defense isn’t good enough either.

    • Joe Soriano

      I actually didn’t think the Pats got away from the balance on offense, because they gave a heavy dose of Ridley especially early on. To me, it just came down to execution and the Pats didn’t execute.

    • Liam Mcknight

      i think it comes down to talent too though. how many 1st round picks are running routes for brady? who has 4.4 speed or is over 6′ tall? the ravens and giants are stacked with that, and more importantly they have DEFENSE. PASSRUSH, SWAGGER. All the things the championship patriots had.
      our running game is fine, and with gronk brady will have them scoring enough points to win a championship…..
      They need an elite passrusher, they havent had one since willie mcginest or adalius thomas. they need one, and i dont mean chandler jones, they need to add one to play opposite of jones, ninko can subrush and play linebacker witht he other 3….. they MUST bring talib back, he’s the first #1 corner theyve had since asante… he’s a real TALENT. if they could somehow add ed reed as well and draft a dt in the first round to play opposite wilfork, then they can make a real run at a championship…… if spending all that money means losing welker than so be it

  • chris simoneau

    Grow up, Steve. BTW- the article was about Brady.

    • Joe Soriano

      Thank you Chris, this article was pointed at Brady. I don’t mind a few hecklers, and I’m used to it. Such is the territory when you write about a team like the Pats. You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Kind of like Duke and the Yankees haha.

  • whyrudumb

    Give mea break, another media person in love with Tom (my crap don’t stink) Brady, surprise,surprise,surprise. Brady does well because 90% of regular season games his O-line can get away with holding and should a defensive finger touch Brady all he has to do is look at the ref to get a flag. Tom (cry baby) Brady is an over rated, egotistical dick. You are right though, put pressure on him and he is just and average NFL quarterback. Teams just have to play against the officials on the field as well as cheating O-line.

    • Liam Mcknight

      ignorant, retarded, and just a flatout mess of a post. First off he’s been better in the postseason than the regularseason, as seen by 5 superbowl appearances and 3 rings
      2nd of all: you get away with far more holding in the playoffs then you do int he regular season. just as the defense gets away with fare more P.I. than you will in the regular season. in the playoffs they let em play, which is why the more physical and talented team usually wins (which is the pats real problem… how many first round picks play for the pats on offense? sad thing is brady makes that the strength of the team despite the lack of talent, on defense there are mad first round picks and they still suck because of poor drafting and lack of a passrusher)

  • Christine Jacobia

    I will take Brady’s ‘mediocre’ over most QBs best any day! He does however need to get over the ‘fear’ of running in a wide open field. If you look he has run less since 2008 when he tore his ACL that he did before..not that he ran much beforehand, but when you can see the first down within reach and don’t push for it…that may be why some fans are questioning his ability. Of course, everything went against the Pats in that AFC Champ. game…the wind, the calls and the completion of plays that we have all seen them complete time and again! That and the Defense did not contain the Ravens offense well either, especially in the second half.

  • Liam Mcknight

    w3hat i want to know is why chad ochocinco can catch 1000 yards on 15 yards a catch in cincinatti one year and then totally crap the bed in new england the next…… brandon lloyd has averaged 1200 yards per season and 16 yards per catch in the two years prior to coming to new england, and then brady gets him and he all of a sudden cant get open deep any more?
    maybe its brady who has the problem making the intermediate to deep throws outside the numbers, honeslty i hate to say it because i am a huge brady fan and think he is the best qb ever, but he hasnt been the same since the injury. honestly since the 2007 afc title game when he hurt his foot…. something changed since then. just on the eye-test: he has a ton of trouble throwing to real wide recievers who operate outside the numbers and run routes that are longer than 10 yards and arent based on timing and yac…..
    if he’s throwing int he middle of the field to a little slot reciever or tightend he is great, if he’s throwing a screen to a running back he’s great…. but he cant throw to 1000 yard recievers outside the numbers very well, and he’s had trouble doing it with proven guys who had success in the years prior to coming here (Chad, Brandon, even in the end with Moss when he was no longer an automatic….. we saw it with joey galloway as well)

    • Joe Soriano

      Liam, I gotta completely disagree with you on this. First off, Ochocinco had those numbers because the Bengals over-targeted him, and it is well-known that he didn’t pan out in NE because he couldn’t learn the playbook. It definitely isn’t Brady’s fault that Ochocinco couldn’t produce, and I think you completely missed the boat on that one. I usually agree with your comments, but that made absolutely no sense. As for Lloyd, the Pats just haven’t targeted him on deep throws this year, but Brady can make all the deep throws and had one of the ten highest accuracy percentages on deep throws in the league. It’s not our QB, it’s our WRs. Nothing has changed with Brady at all, and none of the points you made will make me change that. Brady’s deep ball is still solid, we just need a true deep threat around him or utilize a guy who has that deep ability. Lloyd’s knee may have also caused him to run shorter routes, because it was apparent that he wasn’t able to separate as well.

    • John Vicars

      Yeah right….because after Ocho left he just tore it up, and man was Lloyd sought after playing on 5 teams in 6 years….you have to learn the difference between being a number 1 on a bad team and being a basic part of the mix on a great team….who are these great deep threats brady has? you named ocho cinco who cannot even get a job in the NFL and Lloyd who was never a deep threat, now compare them to what some of these deep throwing guys have? Brady had 1 receiver in his career that was a legit deep threat, how did that go? Brady does what is put around him and he gets the most you can out of it, he has always done this and continues to do it. Last year his two ourside receivers were Lloyd and Branch, look around the league and find me worse and then look at how their Qb did….I rest my case. You are exactly who this article is written for, spoiled pats fans who think you are supposed to win the superbowl every year, and sadly Brady is the one that caused most of you to believe that, but its not the case, not with any Qb, Brady just does it more than most.