Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Tom Brady Nears Another Mountaintop

Data Crunch: Tom Brady has now played more games than any other non-specialist in NFL history, but his next one has the chance to add an enormous record to an emotionally-charged evening


If the National Football League actually did schedule the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at New England for Week Four in the hopes that Tom Brady's homecoming would be spiked by a huge historical milestone (and if so, I'm impressed), than it looks very likely they will be getting their wish.

Following a 432-yard outing in Los Angeles in Week Three that is his highest single-game total as a Buccaneer yet, Brady is on the verge of becoming the NFL's all-time leader in regular-season passing yards. It would only take 68 more on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium for him to surpass the now-retired Drew Brees.

Most Career Passing Yards, NFL History, Regular Season

Table inside Article
Quarterback Team(s) Seasons Yards
Drew Brees Chargers/Saints 2001-2020 80,358
Tom Brady Patriots/Buccaneers 2000-2021 80,291
Peyton Manning Colts/Broncos 1998-2015 71,940
Brett Favre Falcons/Packers/Jets/Vikings 1991-2010 71,838
Phillip Rivers Chargers/Colts 2004-2020 63,440

Brady's career average is 264.1 passing yards per game, and his mark with the Buccaneers since coming to Tampa in 2020 is 301.1. He got that average over 300 yards with the fifth-most prolific passing game, in terms of yardage, in franchise history.

Most Passing Yards, Single Game, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Quarterback Opponent Date Yards
Doug Williams at Minnesota 11/16/80 486
Vinny Testaverde at Indianapolis 10/16/88 469
Jameis Winston at Detroit 12/15/19 458
Jameis Winston Indianapolis 12/8/19 456
Tom Brady at L.A. Rams 9/26/21 432

This is the first time that Brady has cracked the 400-yard passing mark in a game since joining the Buccaneers (he finished with 399 against Atlanta in Week 17 last year), but it's 11th such outing overall. That tied him for the fifth-most 400-yard passing games in NFL annals. After becoming just the second player to record 100 games with 300+ plus passing yards in Week One, Brady moved just a little closer to Brees on that all-time list.

Most 400-Yard Passing Games, NFL History

Table inside Article
Quarterback Team(s) 400-Yd. Games
Drew Brees Chargers, Saints 16
Peyton Manning Colts, Broncos 14
Dan Marino Dolphins 13
Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 12
Tom Brady Patriots, Bucs 11
Philip Rivers Chargers, Colts 11

Most 300-Yard Passing Games, NFL History

Table inside Article
Quarterback Team(s) 300-Yd. Games
Drew Brees Chargers/Saints 123
Tom Brady Patriots/Bucs 101
Peyton Manning Colts/Broncos 93
Phillip Rivers Chargers, Colts 73
Matt Ryan Falcons 70

Brady's 432 yards against the Rams gave him 1,087 through three contests, which is the second-highest total for the Buccaneers through the first three games of any season. Ryan Fitzpatrick had 1,230 passing yards in the first three weeks of the 2018 campaign. Brady's streak of 13 straight games with multiple touchdown passes was stopped at 13, one shy of the record of which he already owns a share, but he did hit running back Giovani Bernard with a seven-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter. With those yards and that one late score, Brady remains first in the NFL in touchdown passes and is second in passing yards.

NFL's 2021 Touchdown Pass Leaders

Table inside Article
Quarterback Teams TD Passes
Tom Bady Buccaneers 10
Matthew Stafford Rams 9
Patrick Mahomes Chiefs 9
Kirk Cousins Vikings 8
five tied w/ 7

NFL's 2021 Passing Yardage Leaders

Table inside Article
Derek Carr Raiders 1,203
Tom Brady Buccaneers 1,087
Kyler Murray Cardinals 1,005
Justin Herbert Chargers 956
Matthew Stafford Rams 942

Brady had his streak of four consecutive regular-season games with four-plus touchdown passes snapped at four on Sunday, but as it turned out he made history simply by stepping on the field at SoFi Stadium. That marked his 304th regular-season NFL game, which broke a tie with Jerry Rice for eighth-most in league history. More significantly, Brady now has the most games played by any player who was not at least partially a kicker.

Most Regular-Season Games Played, NFL History

Table inside Article
Player Position(s) Team(s) GP
Morten Andersen Kicker NO/ATL/NYG/KC/MIN 382
Adam Vinatieri Kicker NE/IND 365
Gary Anderson Kicker PIT/MIN/PHI/TEN/SF 353
Jeff Feagles Kicker NE/PHI/AZ/SEA/NYG 352
George Blanda Quarterback/Kicker CHI/OAK/HOU/BAL 340
Jason Hanson Kicker DET 327
Phil Dawson Kicker CLE/SF/AZ 305
Tom Brady Quarterback NE/TB 304
Jerry Rice Wide Receiver SF/OAK/SEA 303

Bernard was the only Buccaneer to catch a touchdown pass on Sunday, but both Brady and wide receiver Chris Godwin also found the end zone on running plays. Brady got in with a patented one-yard sneak but Godwin's score was a new sort for him, as he went in motion and took an underneath handoff for a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter. In that unusual way, Godwin cracked the Buccaneers' all-time top 10 in touchdown-making. Three of the top 10 touchdown scores in franchise history (well, top 11 with a tie for 10th) are currently on the 2021 team together.

Most Touchdowns Scored, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Seasons TD TDr TDp TDrt
Mike Alstott 1996-07 71 58 13 0
Mike Evans 2014-2021 64 0 63 1
James Wilder 1981-89 46 37 9 0
Jimmie Giles 1978-86 34 0 34 0
Kevin House 1980-86 31 0 31 0
Cameron Brate 2014-21 29 0 29 0
Joey Galloway 2004-08 29 0 28 1
Doug Martin 2012-17 28 26 2 0
Warrick Dunn 1997-01;08 28 19 9 0
Chris Godwin 2017-21 27 1 26 0
Mark Carrier 1987-92 27 0 27 0

Godwin came into Sunday's game with a streak of five straight games with at least one touchdown catch. That put him just one behind Mike Evans' team record in that category. While Godwin didn't extend that particular streak, he did find the end zone for a sixth straight game and that does tie the franchise record.

Most Consecutive Games with a Touchdown Scored, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Dates Games
Chris Godwin 12/20/20-9/26/21 6
Mike Evans 12/8/19-10/8/20 6
Earnest Graham 11/14/07-12/16/07 6

Additional Notes:

- Inside linebacker Lavonte David played in his 140th game as a Buccaneer on Sunday in Los Angeles. That tied him with Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp for the ninth most in franchise history.

- Brady and the Buccaneers' offense generated 27 first downs against the Rams, 24 of which were achieved via the pass. That ties for the most passing first downs in a single game in team history. The Buccaneers also had 24 passing first downs against Indianapolis on Dec. 8, 2019.

- The Buccaneers have scored 103 points, setting a new team record for most points through the first three games of a season. The 2018 team had 102 points through the first three weeks. Tampa Bay is tied for the NFL lead with an average of 34.3 points per game in 2021.

- For the 28th time since the start of the 2019 season, the Buccaneers held an opponent below 100 rushing yards when they gave up 76 on 24 carries in Los Angeles. That's the most such games in the NFL in that span. In that same period, Tampa Bay has allowed NFL lows in both rushing yards per game (76.0) and yards per carry (3.40).

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