We noted last week that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been getting sacked more often than at any other time in his career this year. After Thursday night’s win over the Buccaneers, that remains the case.
It’s true that Brady getting sacked “only” three times on Thursday against the Bucs was a slight improvement over his 2017 average so far this season, but consider that the Bucs’ defense only had one sack all season heading into that game. Against the worst pass-rushing team in the NFL, Brady was still taken down three times.
And Brady is still on pace to be sacked more this year than he ever has been: With 16 sacks through five games, Brady is on pace for 51 sacks this season. His previous career high was 41 in 2001, his first year as a starter. Brady’s sack total this year has already exceeded last year’s total of 15.
Brady is also getting hit plenty after he passes. Quarterback hits are not an official statistic for individual quarterbacks, but the NFL does track quarterback hits for ranking offensive lines. This year, the Patriots’ offensive line has allowed 33 hits. That’s an average of 6.6 a game, all on Brady. Last year, the Patriots’ offensive line only allowed 73 hits for the entire season, an average of 4.6 a game, and many of those hits were allowed when Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett were at quarterback.
All those sacks aren’t cutting down on Brady’s productivity: He’s on pace to throw for 5,446 yards, which would fall just short of Peyton Manning’s single-season record of 5,477. But part of the reason Manning was able to stay healthy that season is that he was sacked just 18 times. If Brady keeps taking all these hits, he might not play in enough games to challenge that record.