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

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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
QuarterbackTeam(s)SeasonsYards
Drew BreesChargers/Saints2001-202080,358
Tom BradyPatriots/Buccaneers2000-202180,291
Peyton ManningColts/Broncos1998-201571,940
Brett FavreFalcons/Packers/Jets/Vikings1991-201071,838
Phillip RiversChargers/Colts2004-202063,440

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
QuarterbackOpponentDateYards
Doug Williamsat Minnesota11/16/80486
Vinny Testaverdeat Indianapolis10/16/88469
Jameis Winstonat Detroit12/15/19458
Jameis WinstonIndianapolis12/8/19456
Tom Bradyat L.A. Rams9/26/21432

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
QuarterbackTeam(s)400-Yd. Games
Drew BreesChargers, Saints16
Peyton ManningColts, Broncos14
Dan MarinoDolphins13
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers12
Tom BradyPatriots, Bucs11
Philip RiversChargers, Colts11

Most 300-Yard Passing Games, NFL History

Table inside Article
QuarterbackTeam(s)300-Yd. Games
Drew BreesChargers/Saints123
Tom BradyPatriots/Bucs101
Peyton ManningColts/Broncos93
Phillip RiversChargers, Colts73
Matt RyanFalcons70

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
QuarterbackTeamsTD Passes
Tom BadyBuccaneers10
Matthew StaffordRams9
Patrick MahomesChiefs9
Kirk CousinsVikings8
five tied w/7

NFL's 2021 Passing Yardage Leaders

Table inside Article
Derek CarrRaiders1,203
Tom BradyBuccaneers1,087
Kyler MurrayCardinals1,005
Justin HerbertChargers956
Matthew StaffordRams942

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
PlayerPosition(s)Team(s)GP
Morten AndersenKickerNO/ATL/NYG/KC/MIN382
Adam VinatieriKickerNE/IND365
Gary AndersonKickerPIT/MIN/PHI/TEN/SF353
Jeff FeaglesKickerNE/PHI/AZ/SEA/NYG352
George BlandaQuarterback/KickerCHI/OAK/HOU/BAL340
Jason HansonKickerDET327
Phil DawsonKickerCLE/SF/AZ305
Tom BradyQuarterbackNE/TB304
Jerry RiceWide ReceiverSF/OAK/SEA303

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
PlayerSeasonsTDTDrTDpTDrt
Mike Alstott1996-077158130
Mike Evans2014-2021640631
James Wilder1981-89463790
Jimmie Giles1978-86340340
Kevin House1980-86310310
Cameron Brate2014-21290290
Joey Galloway2004-08290281
Doug Martin2012-17282620
Warrick Dunn1997-01;08281990
Chris Godwin2017-21271260
Mark Carrier1987-92270270

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
PlayerDatesGames
Chris Godwin12/20/20-9/26/216
Mike Evans12/8/19-10/8/206
Earnest Graham11/14/07-12/16/076

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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