Sunday in Nashville, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a game that may have been quiet by his standards due to the emergence of second-year running back Stevan Ridley, but Brady had himself a solid game nonetheless.
Here is a breakdown of Tom Brady's successful start to the 2012 NFL season.
Tom Brady showcased his arm strength early on, bombing a throw to a wide open Brady Lloyd down the field, but Lloyd misplayed the ball and it fell incomplete.
Other instances, such as a first-quarter throw to Wes Welker that was zipped right into his facemask, displayed the cannon that is Brady's arm.
In one instance on a late second-quarter drive, Brady's pass was tipped on its way to the hands of Rob Gronkowski, but Brady had so much velocity on the ball that it still found its way into the sure hands of his gigantic target.
Brady was on the mark early on, hitting every receiver exactly where he needed to. He was putting the ball where only his man could go and get it. A prime example would be his beautiful 27-yard deep out to Brandon Lloyd in the second quarter, that Lloyd amazingly was able to stay in-bounds for.
There was, however, a stretch in the second half where Brady threw consecutive passes too low, including a generally routine screen pass to Julian Edelman that wound up incomplete. Other than that stretch, Brady was on the mark with nearly every toss.
Speed is not Tom Brady's game; everyone knows this. What he does excel at, though, is being aware of the situation around him in the pocket.
Brady used this to his advantage early in the afternoon when he sidestepped a few would-be tacklers and bought himself enough time to find Aaron Hernandez for the game's first touchdown. Brady again looked for Hernandez on a roll out in the fourth quarter when a play broke down, but Brady showed that throwing on the run is not his strength and threw the ball through end zone.
Brady's lack of true mobility was exposed in the first half when Tennessee's Kamerion Wimbley beat left tackle Nate Solder and Brady tried escaping to his right, only to be chased down and buried by Wimbley for a sack.
Tom Brady showed just why he is as good as he is in the first half, when his favorite receiver was the open receiver.
Brady used his vision to find nearly all of his targets wide open at one point or another. He took shots, like the early bomb to Brandon Lloyd, that were not successful, but Brady did not leave many plays out on the field Sunday afternoon.
Tom Brady made good decisions Sunday, taking what the defense was giving him and being sure not to force the ball to any of his stellar receivers.
His one poor decision may have been to take a deep shot for Wes Welker, who failed to create much separation to no one's surprise. In the past, when Brady has looked deep down the field, it has nearly never resulted in a completion, but Brady still chose to take this shot.
That play and decisions like that were clearly in the minority for Brady, though, as he did a great job of simply throwing it to the open man.
Tom Brady may not be the most exciting quarterback to watch creatively, and he surely does not ad-lib as much as the Michael Vicks of the world.
What he does do, though, is never give up on a play and go through all his progressions to find the man when things start to break down around him.
This was illustrated with his touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez. The pocket was collapsing, Brady looked all over the field before eventually coming back to an open Hernandez, who was then able to waltz into the end zone.
Tom Brady has had much success in the past in key moments of the game—the times the Patriots have needed him the most. However, Sunday the game was never in doubt and Brady was never facing an overly stressful situation in the game.
Once the Patriots went up 7-3 on Tennessee, the Patriots never looked back on the way to their 34-13 win.
Patriots fans will hope to see the same thing written on this part of Tom Brady's report card each and every week.
Tom Brady had himself a very solid day in Tennessee. With a 117.1 quarterback rating, he may not have put up the video game numbers some fantasy football owners were hoping, but with a running game like the team utilized today, Brady did as much as they needed from him.
He kept all his receivers involved and did not leave much to be desired from the fans or the coaching staff. He was inconsistent at times, but he did nothing that cannot be corrected.
Brady can now head home to Foxborough and get ready for the Cardinals with a nice baseline put down to build off of this season.