Dolphins vs Patriots: Tom Brady starting to show signs of age?

Elsa

The Miami Dolphins face the New England Patriots this weekend in an AFC East division rivalry game. After a decade of dominating the division, could Patriots quarterback Tom Brady be showing his age? His early season stats could make that case.

A 55.4% completion rate, the lowest of his career.  On pace for 3,904 passing yards, his lowest total since 2010.  A 5.99 yards per attempt average, the lowest of his career.  On pace for 18 touchdown passes, tied for the lowest single season total of his career (not counting his 1 game appearance in 2000 and his 1 game appearance in 2008).  A 75.3 passer rating, the lowest of his carrer.

That's the 2013 version of Tom Brady.

Is the 36-year old, 14-year veteran of the NFL starting to show his age?

Of course, there are mitigating circumstances as the Patriots deal with massive turnover in receivers and injuries this year, but that does not account for everything.  In the past seven years, Brady has had two years with double digit interceptions.  This season he is on pace for 12.

This is clearly not the dominating Tom Brady of old.

For comparison, let's look at Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill with Brady:

Games

Pass Yds

Projected Pass Yds

TDs

Projected TDs

INTs

Projected INTs

Comp %

YPA

Passer Rate

Brady

7

1,708

3,904

8

18

5

12

55.4

5.99

75.3

Tannehill

6

1,577

4,205

9

24

7

19

60.7

7.20

83.1

Would you have expected to see Tannehill out playing Brady in nearly every category?

On the current pace, Brady will see a 19% decrease in passing yards from last year, a 48% decrease in passing touchdowns, a 150% increase in interceptions, a 12% decrease in completion percentage, a 21% decrease in yards per attempt, and a 24% decrease in passer rating.

The lack of Rob Gronkowski throughout the first part of the year, along with Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Danny Woodhead, and Aaron Hernandez all not being with the team anymore, has a large part of this, obviously, but it might not be all of it.

Last week, Gronkowski returned to the New England offense against the New York Jets, only to see Brady's completion percentage, yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns, Quarterback Rating, and passer rating all decrease from his performance against the New Orleans Saints the week before.

Obviously, Brady is still Brady, and can still kill a team, as the Saints know, but he's not exactly the same Brady.  He's having a down year.  It happens to everyone.  But, when you are 36 years old, the age question has to start to creep into consideration.

Miami head coach Joe Philbin was asked why he thinks Brady's statistics are down this year during his press availability yesterday.  "I'm not buying any of that," Philbin responded.  "This guy is one of the best ever. They are playing well and we have to expect them to play extremely well at home, they do. They are 3-0 at home, he's pretty good."

And, Coach Philbin is right, of course.  The Patriots are still sitting on top of the AFC East with a 5-2 record.  They are battling through the receiver change over, and they are doing the things they have to do to win.  Gronkowski will get better as he gets back into playing shape, and New England is absolutely a dangerous team.  Miami will get to see exactly how dangerous Brady and the Patriots can be when the two teams renew their AFC East rivalry on Sunday.

But, maybe, just maybe, we are starting to see an old Tom Brady instead of the Tom Brady of old.

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