Nov 3, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Because the Patriots are currently in a bye week, there isn’t much rapid fire news coming out of Foxboro. So, I think it is a perfect time to hand out some team awards at the “halfway point” of the season. Today we will have the offensive MVP, with the MVP on the other side of the ball coming tomorrow.
Up until the Pats 55-31 romp over the Steelers, this offense had struggled so much, that I don’t think an offensive MVP was warranted. However they did play very well against the Steelers, and after a quick review of all nine games, I have come away with a winner.
It may be a cliche to take Tom Brady as the most valuable player of this group, but to hell with it. I think that Brady has in fact been the most important player on the New England offense, and is deserving of this mid-season award. His numbers aren’t pretty, his play hasn’t been pretty, but the Patriots have a 7-2 record, and ultimately, that is all that matters in this league.
The two moments that led me to pick Brady, was his incredible comeback versus the Saints, and his masterful performance last week against Pittsburgh. As we already know, Brady is one of the greatest of all time in terms of clutch ability, and he showed that he still has that “magic touch”. You probably already know the details of that tremendous drive, so I won’t bore you with them (1:13 left, 70 yards, no timeouts), but what was really impressive, was that Brady did this with a cast of weapons that hadn’t done much for him through that point of the season. The Patriots previous four drives in that game totaled 17 total yards on 15 plays, including a horrible Brady interception. That really puts the game winning drive in perspective, as the Pats offense had to put those awful drives behind them, in order to win the game. Brady is the undisputed leader of this team, and a large chunk of credit has to be given to him, for not only giving his troops hope, but executing in typical Brady fashion, as he added another exceptional clutch drive to his resume.
Three weeks later, New England welcomed the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers to Gillette Stadium, in what most anticipated to be a tough, defense contest.
Mr. Brady had different ideas.
The Patriots ran up 55 points on the Steelers, along with 610 yards of offense, 432 of which came from Brady’s right arm. The entire offense was in sync, which allowed Brady to return to his dynamic form. Every single pass he threw was on point, he deciphered the defense in a way that few can (Peyton Manning is on that short list), and the end result was a 24 point blowout of Mike Tomlin’s group. If that game winning drive against the Saints wasn’t vintage Brady, then this performance was. It was a welcoming sight to see the Patriots offense look like a top offense in the NFL, as well as seeing Brady perform like we are used to seeing him perform.
While there are a number of players that deserve praise (Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Dobson, Stevan Ridley), Brady is the man that brings everything together, and if it weren’t for him keeping his struggling offense calm in tough times, New England would probably not be sitting on top of the AFC East. I am not saying that Brady has had a perfect 2013 campaign. In fact, he has had a pretty lousy season thus far. However he has done enough to get his team to where they need to be. His offense has had some pretty low moments, chief among them a 13-6 loss in week five against the Bengals, in which the Patriots managed to gain a whopping 248 total yards. But these challenges haven’t fazed Brady, which is why he is deserving of the mid-season offensive MVP. He has kept his cool, and by continuing to grind every week, he has New England in prime position for another playoff run.