Relax Patriots, Tom Brady is going to be just fine.

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Relax Patriots, Tom Brady is going to be just fine.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The sky must be falling in New England.

The Patriots lost a game they usually win, a game where Tom Brady and the offense had the ball with five minutes left and a chance to take the lead.

But they didn't do it.  Clutch plays came from a guy named Kyle Orton and not one named Brady.

I can only imagine the headlines in New England.  Already I've seen multiple articles talking about how Tom Brady isn't the quarterback he once was.

The golden years are over.  It's time to move on.

Whatever.

Sure, it's probably a sign of the Apocalypse that a Colts columnist is writing an article defending Tom Brady.  However, it's because I do cover the Colts that I can say this.

Tom Brady will be Tom Brady again.  How do I know?  Because Peyton Manning went through the same thing last year.

The average Patriots fan may not remember the 2008 Colts season, but the season started out even worse for Indianapolis than the current season has started for New England.

At one point, the Colts were 3-4.  Manning was simply not Manning.  He was missing receivers.  His throws always seemed a bit off.

And, then, Manning found his sea legs again.

Since an 18-15 win over the Pats, Manning hasn't lost a regular season game in 14 tries.

After seven games last year, Colts nation was asking the same questions about Manning that New England fans may be asking about Brady today.

Is he done?  Has the window closed?

Manning has since opened the window and kicked in the door.  He's come back with a vengeance.

Brady's off to a somewhat shaky start, by Brady's standards.  Brady is on pace to throw more passes than he ever has before, but his yards per attempt are his worst since 2002, his first full year as a starter.  He's been off on his deep throws, which explains why his completion percentage is his worst since 2004.

Yet, somehow, the Patriots are a solid 3-2.  They've lost two games by a total of 10 points.  They are in much better shape than the 2008 Colts, a team that rallied for an impressive 12-4 record.

The endless debate has always been which quarterback is better, Manning or Brady.  Colts back their man, Patriots back theirs.  I will tell you this much, though:

Brady faces a challenge similar to Manning's last year.  Manning has forever proven his worth as one of the top quarterbacks of all time by not only coming back from a knee injury, but by coming back and playing, arguably, the best football of his career.

If Brady's in the same class as Manning, shouldn't he do the same?

Do you have any reason he won't?

I don't.

No, 2007 won't be back for Brady, just like Manning's unlikely to repeat his 2004 touchdown performance.  Still, as the season goes on, you'll find Brady getting better and better.  He'll miss Randy Moss less on those depth throws.  As his confidence grows, he won't rely so much on Wes Welker to bail out a play.

Brady will be back.  The Patriots will be one of the main contenders in the AFC.

So, if you take anything from a Colts supporter, just take this: patience.

It certainly paid off with Manning, so why shouldn't it pay off for a quarterback in his class?

I just hope he's back to form sometime after the annual showdown on Nov. 15.

 

 

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