As the game progressed I got to see more errant throws by Brady and some pretty spectacular ones by Peyton Manning. I then posed the following question on my Facebook account, "Does anyone really think that Brady is better than Manning?" and started a bit of a debate with my friends. I then decided to do a little research into Brady's accuracy and put together some information that I'm now going to share with you.
Based on my observations, it seems like Brady is struggling to throw the ball down field. Looking at how many big plays he has isn't really useful because the Patriots' offense is built with YAC (yards after the catch) built into the plays. So seeing that Brady has a certain number of 20+ yard plays really has little to do with his ability to throw the ball down field and more to do with what the receiver does once he catches it. Because of this, I had to go into Brady's split statistics which show the distance the ball was thrown.
Now to be truthful, the numbers Manning is putting up this year are just flat out ridiculous, so using the original formula I found out the success rate for a few more quarterbacks. Again, this is based on completions for passes which are thrown greater than 10 yards. Drew Brees 55%, Matt Stafford 44%, Matt Ryan 50%, Philip Rivers 57%, Andy Dalton 38%, Carson Palmer 48%, Ben Roethlisberger 46%, Ryan Tannehill 45%, Joe Flacco 34%, Tony Romo 45%, Alex Smith 47%, Geno Smith 43%, EJ Manuel 38%, RGIII 40%. (Now go back and read that list using Bucky Dents' middle name for all of them)
Now, if you want to blame it on Brady not having receivers, you need to stop right there. Several of those players have less talented people to throw the ball to. In addition, this graphic made by Cian Fahey shows the accuracy of Brady's passes during the regular season. Basically green means accurate and red means inaccurate. He's also taken out passes which were clearly a breakdown on communication or the result of the receiver doing the wrong thing. If you would like to read up on what Cian did and see some of his other graphics click here.
Looking at all this information, I think Brady was in fact inaccurate with his throws this year. I think that this is a picture of what is to come. If the Patriots want to continue winning with Brady they need to continue running the ball and making short throws. In my opinion we do not need to spend the offseason chasing after a wide receiver who can stretch the field. We need to find another guy who can catch a short pass and take a beating.