Patriots vs. Dolphins: Will Tom Brady Shatter the NFL Passing Records in 2011?
The Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins by 38-24 on the back of four touchdowns from Brady. However, it was his 517 yards that made this a record-breaking night as Brady posted a career high.
While this was a career game for Brady, I don't expect this to be a career year for him. There were quite a few factors working in his favor on opening weekend and many quarterbacks were able to light up the stat sheet across the league.
Coming off an offseason that was ruined by a lockout, defenses will be playing catch-up with the offenses for some time into the regular season. During the lockout there was nothing preventing Tom Brady from working on his timing with his receivers and throwing balls over and over to his teammates.
However, defenses had to wait until the preseason before they could hit anyone and also lost time on the field under the new CBA. It takes a lot less work to prepare an offense than it does a defense—especially one full of veterans like the Patriots.
The Dolphins defense was behind from the onset before being worsened by injuries. Brady won't have the chance to pick on a Nolan Carroll repeatedly every week. Had Vontae Davis and Sean Smith stayed in the game last night, Brady likely wouldn't have set a new record for yardage.
Brady may actually be better this year than he was in 2007, but the offense around him is not going to be as talented as far as receiving goes.
There is better balance in the Patriots' attack this year; the team has better runners and not just receivers coming out of the backfield. They may run the best offense in the league, but it won't be a case of Brady dropping bombs to receivers in the end zone on every down.
Chad Ochocinco isn't going to be as effective as Randy Moss was. Even last night he barely got on the field; he is still adjusting to the Patriots' system. Brady may have great tight end options, but that does not match the explosion of the trio of receivers he had in his record-setting season of 2007.
When you look at the team's schedule, there is cause for less optimism. This week, the Chargers should really test the offense's resolve with their talented secondary. The annual two games against the Jets will likely slow their production down while a trip to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh could prove troublesome.
Tom Brady is an elite quarterback and up there as one of the best two or three quarterbacks in the league right now. However, I don't see him breaking any records this season—even if he is the MVP once again.
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