FOXBOROUGH — They’re video game numbers. So much so, that Chad Ochocinco got blasted over speaking of them in awe on Twitter. But if Tom Brady keeps this up, the jaw-dropping 940 yards passing through the first two games of the season, Patriots receivers might as well make a precedent of giving their Tom Brady comments before they’re asked for them.
Brady is the first quarterback in NFL history to follow up on a 500-yard outing (517 against the Miami Dolphins) with a 400-yard performance. He completed 31 of 43 passes for 423 yards against the San Diego Chargers in the Patriots 35-21 win Sunday.
He’s also the sixth quarterback in NFL history to post back-to-back 400-yard games, the third of his career. He already holds the Patriots record for most 300-yard games, extending it to 36. And on top of that, he passed Buffalo Bills great Jim Kelly for career yards passing for 17th on the all-time list with 35,694.
“You have to see this guy’s eyes,” said Deion Branch, Brady’s favorite target of the night to a tune of eight receptions for 129 yards. “Once he’s in the pocket his eyes are so big. He gets so excited when guys are so open.”
Said Brady: “It’s true.”
Excitement is only the half of it. It’s what’s expected with the preparation of a Super Bowl winner that continues to be hungry after an MVP season coupled with an early playoff loss.
“The things that we do in practice is pretty much what’s going on in the game,” Branch said. “You know coach puts us through a lot of different situations in practice. And Tom puts up the challenge in practice. The expectation is what’s going on, on the football field [in practice], goes on in the game.”
With a shortened training camp, there was concern that the players wouldn’t have enough time to get in sync and perform at a high level, something Brady has most obviously defied.
Bill Belichick put that thinking to rest.
“We actually expect to go out there and play good football,” Belichick said.
Brady tossed three touchdowns in the game, connecting with Rob Gronkowski twice for scores and Aaron Hernandez once. But he managed to spread the love on offense, hitting eight different receivers in the game.
“I think we were able to spread the ball around,” Brady said. “Deion, Wes [Welker] had his catches; Aaron [Hernandez], Chad [Ochocinco] made plays. Obviously Deion made a bunch of plays. We ran the ball pretty good. It was a good team win.”
“We have so many guys,” Branch said. “That’s the plus that I think coach Belichick and the staff do a great job going out and finding the guys that fit this offense. It’s not about one guy. It’s not about me, it’s not about Wes, it’s not about Chad. I mean you got Gronkowski, Aaron, you got the running backs coming out of the backfield, Woodhead. And there’s a couple of guys we haven’t even gotten to, you know Julian Edelman, [Matthew] Slater; guys making plays all over the place. And Tom has the confidence in all of them to go out and get the job done. He’s seen it done in practice and he expects it in the game.”
They’ll just have to be equally ready to comment on Brady’s exploits.
Zuri Berry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @zuriberry.