All-Iron award goes to Patriots QB Tom Brady in New England’s 45-24 Thanksgiving win over Detroit Lions
Earlier in the week, I wrote an article about how New England Patriots QB Tom Brady should be leading any serious discussion about the 2010 MVP of the NFL.
Brady’s (and the New England Patriots’) worst loss of the year was at Cleveland, as the Browns pummeled them into submission and Brady was just out of sync with his targets, disallowing an opportunity to make a comeback. Since then, Brady has outplayed fellow Super Bowl-winning QBs Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh and Peyton Manning. How would he respond against Detroit Lions QB Shaun Hill?
He responded perfectly. As in 158.3 passer rating perfect.
Brady completed 21 of 27 passes for 341 yards and four TDs (all in the second half) and no turnovers (again) as the Patriots overcame a 14-3 early deficit to win 45-24 in Detroit.
It wasn’t Brady’s first perfect game (he put up a perfect rating in Miami back in 2007 when he threw six TDs and four incompletions on his way to 354 yards). But when he had that perfect game in 2007, the only player who touched the ball then that is still with the team now is WR Wes Welker. Arguably, this was much more impressive considering the fact that:
*Brady didn’t practice during the short week.
*WR Deion Branch did not catch a pass in the first half.
*Brady DID catch a lot of body shots in the first half courtesy of Lions rookie DT Ndamukong Suh (who had the only sack of Brady), DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, and MLB DeAndre Levy.
*Brady had to put the points on the board, because the Lions were rolling offensively with RB Maurice Morris (2 TDs) and QB Shaun Hill finding WR Calvin Johnson for a TD and TE Brandon Pettigrew elswhere.
Brady and the Patriots went into the locker down 17-10. Not turnovers by either team, but the Lions looked like they would be able to go up and down on the Patriots all day. The Patriots actually punted early on their first possession of the second half. But Patriots rookie CB Devin McCourty out-dueled Lions WR Calvin Johnson for an INT (his first of two on the day), and Brady’s TD parade was on, finding Welker on a short field to tie the game at 17.
The Lions took their final lead of the game, utilizing a good kickoff return by KR Stefan Logan, a 24 yard gain by Pettigrew on third down, and a 21 yard gain by Calvin Johnson to get a running TD on 4th and goal from Morris. But then Lions CB Alphonso Smith was undressed on national television, as Brady found Branch deep and he toasted Smith for a 79-yard TD on third and short. Not only was Smith lost in coverage, but he had all kinds of trouble trying to tackle Branch after the catch.
The Lions once again drove into scoring position, but with about a minute left in the third quarter, Lions K Dave Rayner missed a 46-yard FG attempt wide right. The game would be tied going into the fourth quarter, but the atmosphere at Ford Field was that of a home team about to get blown out. Brady found Branch for another 22-yard exposure of Alphonso Smith to open the fourth quarter scoring and to give the Patriots their first lead since the first quarter. Smith was rightfully benched from there, but the unraveling was nowhere close to finished for Detroit.
Pettigrew caught a pass to put the Lions in Patriots’ territory, but he was flagged for offensive pass interference; Hill would throw another incompletion on the ensuing 3rd and long (augmented by a declined face mask penalty on LT Jeff Backus) and P Nick Harris had to punt. Brady took seven plays to put his fourth TD on the board, a 16-yard pass to Welker. Alphonso Smith wasn’t on the field to blame this time.
Down 14, Hill had to make something happen, but McCourty notched his second pick of the game and returned it 50 yards to the Lions 12 yard line. Green-Ellis scored a TD to effectively end the Lions day, and that’s when the personal fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct (Suh, FS Louis Delmas, Levy) started to get handed out.
The Lions had looked like a better, competitive, albeit victory-challenged, football team all season. They looked that way for the better part of three quarters in this game. But Brady and the Patriots made no mistakes, and ultimately the Lions were dashed. Trap game? I mentioned in the 1SKILLZ Gameplan, no more – not while Brady is on top of his game. With five games left in the season and the New York Jets coming to Foxborough, MA in week 13 for Monday Night Football, the Patriots control their own destiny. It helps to have arguably the best player in the league coming off arguably the best game of his career.
-1SKILLZ| BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Calvin Johnson, Deion Branch, Detroit Lions, Devin McCourty, Maurice Morris, MVP, Ndamukong Suh, New England Patriots, Shaun Hill, Tom Brady, Wes Welker