Hannable: Tom Brady made a lot of people look really bad Saturday night

Ryan Hannable
January 14, 2018 - 5:05 am

David Butler II/USA Today Sports

FOXBORO — The Patriots, and specifically Tom Brady, have heard it all the past few weeks.

From being potentially distracted following the recent ESPN story reporting on tension between Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, to a below average month of December, Brady was facing perhaps as much heat as he did in 2014 after going 2-2 to open the year, and some questioning whether it was the end of the road for both he and the Patriots.

Cliff. He’s 40 years old. He’s hurt. He cares more about TB12 than football. He’s disinterested. He doesn’t like Belichick. All that and more was brought up in the last week or so -- this was going to be the start of the end for Brady.

And to a point some criticism was warranted. 

In Brady’s last five games, the 40-year-old had a completion percentage of 61.3 percent, averaged 240.6 yards passing per game, and threw a total of six touchdowns compared to five interceptions. He also ended the year going six straight games without a 300-yard passing game, which was the first time he’s gone at least six games since the start of 2010 when he went eight straight games.

This wasn’t close to the Brady everyone knew.

So, with all the attention on him in primetime on Saturday night against the Titans in the AFC divisional round, what did Brady do?

The quarterback delivered a vintage performance, as the Patriots blew out the Titans, 35-14.

Brady went 35-of-53 for 337 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His three touchdown passes gave him 10 such games in the postseason, which is a new NFL record, passing Joe Montana. Also, his 337 yards added to his NFL record of 13 playoff games with at least 300 yards passing. Peyton Manning is second with nine.

After the game, a reporter mentioned there being a lot of negativity in the media surrounding him and the team going into the contest, and the quarterback interrupted and said, “Really?”

This drew some laughs in the room, but then the question was asked if he gets any satisfaction in proving his doubters wrong?

"You know what? No," Brady said. "I've been around long enough -- 18 years. There's been so many nice things said about me. That just goes with the territory. I just try to be consistent, show up and do the best I can do every week for the team, and regardless of whether I’m the worst quarterback in the league or the best quarterback in the league or somewhere in between, it’s just my job is to do the best I can do for us every week.”

With all the extra stuff taking place on the outside this week, on the field Brady is essentially in his happy place where it’s strictly football and nothing else matters. This is where he thrives and in cases like this continue to defy odds.

“I think it always feels that way and I think being on the field is a great place to, you know, that’s where you go prove it,” Brady said. “You can talk all day about what you’re going to do or what you can do. Ultimately, you’ve got to go out there and do it. I think just having the opportunity to go play and I’ve had so many great teammates over the years and this team has done such a great job this year focusing on what we need to. When you get out there, that’s the best part of the week.”

Whether he says it or not, Brady’s performance Saturday was a direct message to everyone who has criticized him of late, and knowing how things go, it certainly won’t be the last.

Beware rest of NFL, Brady's not going anywhere.

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