A warning to fans of the Buffalo Bills: the following article about Tom Brady’s dominance vs. the Bills contains facts and statistics that are sure to make you throw up or, at the very least, think long and hard about picking the Bills (6-5) to prevail in Sunday’s big 1 p.m. showdown with New England (9-2) at New Era Field.
Let me start by saying I am an optimist by nature, having grown up a fan of both the Chicago Cubs and the Buffalo Bills. I always believed that next year would be THE year the Cubs would snap their absurd World Series drought, and that the Bills would somehow find a way to escape their perennial “In the Hunt” positioning among playoff contenders and find their way into the postseason for the first time since the 1999 season.
While next year finally did come for the Cubbies in 2016 with their seven-game World Series triumph over the Cleveland Indians (another long-suffering fan base), Bills fans are still waiting for the day they can punch their ticket to the postseason. One reason for Buffalo’s 17-year run of futility: the excellent play of surefire Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
It’s easy to hate on Brady, the man who, at age 40, seems to have discovered the fountain of youth. Brady is a man who has everything: he’s guided the Patriots to seven Super Bowls (five victories) and was named Super Bowl MVP four times, most in league history. He has tossed 123 touchdowns compared to just 21 interceptions in the last four seasons alone, as Brady continues to punishing every other team in the league for passing on him in the 2000 NFL Draft, when Brady was selected by New England with pick 199.
The numbers get worse —much worse— when Brady takes on the Bills. Tom Brady has terrorized the Bills, winning 26 of his 29 career starts vs. Buffalo. With one more win Sunday, Brady would surpass Brett Favre for most career wins vs. a single team.
Brady has 66 touchdown passes compared to only 20 interceptions when facing Buffalo, good enough for a 101.5 QB rating.
More impressive? Brady needs two more passing touchdowns to pass Ryan Fitzpatrick for the most touchdown passes thrown at Ralph Wilson Stadium/New Era Field over the last 20 years (and he only plays there once a year, for the record).
Brady has 38 touchdown passes during that time, while Fitzpatrick tossed 39 touchdown passes for Buffalo. Fitzpatrick, who was Buffalo’s starting quarterback from 2009-2012, needed 24 games to toss those 39 TDs, while it took Brady, who makes one pilgrimage to Western New York per season, only 15 games.
Tom Brady, if he throws 2 TD passes Sunday, will move past Ryan Fitzpatrick for the most TD passes at Ralph Wilson/New Era Stadium in the last 20 years— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) November 28, 2017
Ryan Fitzpatrick - 39
Tom Brady - 38
Drew Bledsoe - 30
Brady has thrown for more touchdowns (66) against Buffalo than any other opponent. Brady has also thrown for 300 yards or more 10 times against the Bills, also the most of any opponent.
With one more win, Brady would pull into a tie with both Fitzpatrick and Drew Bledsoe for most wins at Ralph Wilson Stadium/New Era Field since the start of the 2001 season. Again, Brady plays in Buffalo once per season, while it took Fitzpatrick 30 games and Bledsoe 24 games to amass 14 home wins.
Tom Brady needs 1 win to tie for the most wins as QB at Ralph Wilson/New Era Stadium since 2001— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) November 28, 2017
Drew Bledsoe - 14 - (14-10, .583)
Ryan Fitzpatrick - 14 - (14-16, .467)
Tom Brady - 13 - (13-2, .867)
Tyrod Taylor - 12 - (12-7, .632)
Not counting a 17-9 Bills’ win in the 2014 regular-season finale, when Brady only played the first half, Brady has won his last nine starts vs. Buffalo, tossing 23 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions.
Brady has 14 games vs. Buffalo where he completed at least 65 percent of his passes, and has 12 games with three or more touchdown passes vs. the Bills.
As the Patriots have rebounded from a 2-2 start with a seven-game winning streak, it’s been vintage Brady leading the way. Brady sports a 68.4 completion percentage, amassing 3,374 passing yards with 26 TDs and only three interceptions.
So how can Buffalo try and slow down Brady, the ageless wonder who has proclaimed he wants to play into his mid-40s (a terrifying thought for Bills fans desperate for Brady to ride off into the sunset and into the arms of his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen)?
“Oh boy. Well, a lot of people have tried to do that over the course of his career and not many people have been very successful,” Frazier said Monday of what it will take to slow down Brady. “It’s a collective effort. We’ve got to defend their entire offense. He does a great job of spreading the ball around [and] utilizing the run game. It’s defending the entire offense. It’s more than just him, although he is the guy that’s orchestrating it all.”
If you’re thinking of dialing up the blitz to slow Brady down, let me stop you. Since the 2006 season, when Brady faces a six-man blitz, he has thrown 70 touchdown passes with ZERO interceptions. The man has a quick release and an eagle eye for opposing blitzers.
If Buffalo, which usually blitzes with five guys, wants to dial up the pass rush, it’s best to let the front four attack the offensive line, and let the linebackers and secondary focus on the difficult task of covering Brady’s plethora of weapons: Brandin Cooks (51 receptions, 869 yards, five TDs), Rob Gronkowski (46 receptions, 702 yards, seven TDs), Danny Amendola (44 receptions, 455 yards, two TDs), Chris Hogan (33 receptions, 438 yards, five TDs), Dion Lewis (498 rushing yards, 5.1 yards/carry), and James White (47 receptions, 378 yards, two TDs).
The Bills must revert to their early-season form, when Buffalo held teams to a league-best 13.5 points per game while racing out to a 3-1 start.
It’s a tall task for Frazier and the rest of the Bills, slowing Brady down, but here’s hoping the team rediscovered its winning defensive philosophy during Sunday’s 16-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs and can carry that over into the first of two meetings with the Patriots.