We all know that quarterback stats are a bit inflated these days. A 3,500 yard season with 30 touchdown passes doesn’t mean what it would have meant in 1995, or even 2005. However, through 16 games this season, Brady is 10 yards shy of 5,000 yards passing and has thrown the ball 682 times this season, 45 most attempts than his previous high, and he still has one more game to play if Bruce Arians decides to play him in Week 18 with the Buccaneers having clinched the NFC South and no chance at the No. 1 overall seed.
I’m ignoring that he’s 44 in this MVP discussion. As impressive as it is that he is closer to 50 than 30 and attempting the most passes of his career, that’s not why he’s the MVP. That final drive against the Jets yesterday is a snapshot of why he should be considered for MVP.
As much skill-position talent as the Buccaneers have, it hasn’t all been on the field at the same time for Brady this entire season. The Buccaneers’ pass catcher who Brady is most comfortable with, Rob Gronkowski, has missed five games this season. Antonio Brown, who is “no longer a Buc,” has missed nine, and Chris Godwin, the Buccaneers’ leading receiver, will not play the rest of this season after suffering an ACL injury last week.
The Buccaneers were down 14 points to the then 4-11 Jets in the third quarter when Brown melted down and left the field, and they would go on to score 18 unanswered points, including that final drive in which Brady decided that Grayson would spare them the embarrassment of losing to the Jets.
It’s not like Brady has been working with the skill-position talent in Tampa Bay that he had in his last season in New England, but he’s had to deal with not throwing the ball to the same people week in and week out. Even with those difficulties, Brady and the Buccaneers still won the one thing that they didn’t win last season, a division championship.