On just one play Sunday afternoon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady broke two NFL records, adding to his Hall of Fame-worthy career.
Brady played just five offensive drives for the Bucs in their 30-17 loss to Atlanta — they didn’t need him to play the entire game with the NFC South title locked up already.
In the second quarter, Brady found Russell Gage Jr. for a five-yard pass. Normally, it’s a simple completion for positive yards, but Brady broke the NFL record for most pass attempts and most completions in a single season with that drop back and throw.
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It was the 486th completion of the season for the veteran signal caller, but that was nothing new for Brady. He broke his own record from a season ago with Tampa Bay.
The other record, his 728th pass attempt, broke Matthew Stafford’s record with the Detroit Lions in 2012, though Stafford did so in 16 games.
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Brady certainly has enough records and milestones to create a long list for his career resume, and though he needed only seven completions and 12 dropbacks, reporters asked head coach Todd Bowles after the game why starters played as long as they did.
“We can get better at a lot of things that we need to work on,” he replied, via Yahoo! Sports, “and we don’t need our foot off the gas.”
It’s true the Bucs haven’t looked like their normal selves compared to the first two seasons Brady has been under center. They were 15th in total offense during the regular season, averaging 346.7 yards per game, most of which came through the air. They put up 269.8 yards passing per game, while only rushing for 76.9 yards.
The Bucs have also had offensive line troubles all season long due to injuries and poor play. That has hurt the offense’s abilities to let plays develop downfield, forcing Brady to get the ball out fast.
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Brady also reached a milestone that he won’t flex at his Hall of Fame speech (though it’s still pretty impressive). At 8-9 on the year, Brady had his first career losing season in 23 years.
Still, the poor play throughout the NFC South worked in Brady’s favor, allowing him to make another trip to the playoffs, and they will have at least one home game against the Dallas Cowboys next Monday for wild card weekend.
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Brady finished the regular season with 490 completions and 733 attempts, while throwing for 4,694 yards and 25 touchdowns to nine interceptions with a 66.8 completion percentage.