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On Tom Brady's Record Night, Bucs' Defense Sets a New Standard, Too | Data Crunch

Data Crunch: Brady's accomplishments in Sunday night's win in Foxborough went beyond the NFL passing yardage record, but Tampa Bay's defense might have put up the most shocking number

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It's hardly Monday breaking news that Tom Brady broke the NFL's all-time record for passing yards in Sunday night's win over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. In fact, we let you read about it moments after his 28-yard completion to Mike Evans in the first quarter gave him the yardage total he needed to leapfrog Drew Brees on the career list. But here, for posterity's sake, is how the top five now stands:

Most Career Passing Yards, NFL History, Regular Season

Table inside Article
Quarterback Team(s) Season Yards
Tom Brady Patriots/Buccaneers 2000-2021 80,560
Drew Brees Chargers/Saints 2001-2020 80,358
Peyton Manning Colts/Broncos 1998-2015 71,940
Brett Favre Falcons/Packers/Jets/Vikings 1991-2010 71,838
Philip Rivers Chargers/Colts 2004-2020 63,440

Brady also took over the 2021 season lead in that category heading into Monday night's game, though Las Vegas' Derek Carr will probably take it back before the Raiders game with the Chargers is done.

NFL's 2021 Passing Yardage Leaders

Table inside Article
Quarterback Team Yards
Tom Brady Buccaneers 1,356
Kyler Murray Cardinals 1,273
Matthew Stafford Rams 1,222
Patrick Mahomes Chiefs 1,218
Derek Carr Raiders 1,203

Brady added the all-time yardage lead to the records he already held in touchdown passes (591) and quarterback wins (now 233). All of these are regular-season totals but adding in postseason numbers would only greatly increase Brady's lead in all of these categories, as he is easily the most prolific playoff passer of all-time. The yardage, TDs and wins constitute what the NFL has dubbed the "Triple Crown" of passing, and Brady is just the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to wear that crown. The other four are already in the Hall of Fame. Nobody has owned the Triple Crown since Brady took the wins lead away from Peyton Manning in 2017. Here are the five Triple Crown quarterbacks, the seasons in which they gained and then relinquished that title and the team or teams they played for while holding the crown. In the case of each quarterback on the list before Brady, they retained the record after they had retired from playing

Table inside Article
Quarterback Teams(s) From Until
Johnny Unitas Colts/Chargers 1966 1975
Brett Favre Packers/Jets/Vikings 2007 2014
Peyton Manning Broncos 2015 2017
Tom Brady Buccaneers 2021 TBD

Will Brady be giving up that title any time soon? Here are the active quarterbacks in second and third place in those three categories as of the end of Week Four:

  • Passing Yards: Ben Roethlisberger (61,381), Matt Ryan (56,757)
  • Touchdown Passes: Aaron Rodgers (420), Ben Roethlisberger (400)
  • QB Wins: Ben Roethlisberger (157), Aaron Rodgers (129)

So the answer is no. No Brady will not be giving up that Triple Crown anytime soon.

Though Sunday's victory was the first by Brady as a visiting player at Gillette Stadium, he has a long history of celebrating wins in that venue. In fact, no other quarterback has won as many games in a single stadium as Brady has at Gillette.

Most QB Wins in a Single Stadium

Table inside Article
Quarterback Stadium Home Ws Road Ws Total Ws
Tom Brady Gillette Stadium 115 1 116
Brett Favre Lambeau Field 94 1 95
Ben Roethlisberger Heinz Field 86 0 86
Aaron Rodgers Lambeau Field 76 0 76
Drew Brees Superdome 76 0 76

Sunday's result gave Brady at least one win over all 32 teams currently in the NFL. He is now the fourth quarterback to be able to make that claim, joining Favre, Manning and Brees.

The Patriots hope they drafted Brady's long-term successor when they nabbed Alabama's Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick back in April. In a battle with the largest age discrepancy between two starting quarterbacks in the same game (21 years and 33 days), Jones crafted an impressive outing on Sunday. In just his fourth career start, the rookie completed 31 of 40 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, finishing with a passer rating of 101.6.

In the end, it wasn't enough to secure victory for his team, as Brady led his 50th game-winning drive, one that ended in Ryan Succop's 48-yard field goal with just under two minutes to play. In the process, Brady remained perfect in games at Gillette Stadium in which the opposing quarterback was making his first through fourth career start. Here are some of Brady's numbers in 10 such games:

Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium vs. Opposing Passers with 1-4 Career Starts

  • W-L Record: 10-0
  • Yards Per Game: 258.6
  • Touchdown Passes: 17
  • Interceptions: 1

The Buccaneers got their third win in four games despite scoring a season-low 19 points, the fewest they've scored in any game since Week Nine of the 2020 season, playoffs included. Of course, Tampa Bay also allowed it's lowest point total of 2021, 17, on a very rainy night that turned largely into a defensive struggle.

And the biggest struggle belonged to the Patriots when they tried to run the ball. In fact, New England actually finished the game with negative yards on the ground, the first time a Tampa Bay defense has ever accomplished that feat.

Fewest Rushing Yards Allowed, Single Game, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Opponent Date No. Yds. YPC
New England 10/3/21 8 -1 -0.13
Miami 11/11/13 14 2 .14
Washington 12/4/94 10 10 .83
Carolina 9/9/12 13 10 .77
Greenbay 12/26/99 12 12 1.0

The amazing nature of this feat is not contained just to Buccaneers history. On Sunday night, Tampa Bay became just the fourth team since the AFL-NFL merger to hold an opponent to zero or few rushing yards for an entire game.

Fewest Rushing Yards Allowed, Single Game, NFL 1970-2021

Table inside Article
Team Opponent Date No. Yds. YPC
Arizona Detroit 11/11/07 8 -18 -2.25
Minnesota Detroit 12/10/06 10 -3 -3.0
Tampa Bay New England 10/3/21 8 -1 -.13
Chicago Buffalo 10/2/88 10 0 0

The Patriots tried to run the ball only eight times, and two of those eight resulted in positive yardage. Here is what New England got on each of its eight runs, in chronological order on Sunday night: -4, 0, 0, 0, -1, -1, 1, 4. There was also one run for -1 yards and one run for three yards that were erased by penalties on New England. The Patriots' most successful run of the night was a one-yard gain on second-and-one by Damien Harris early in the second half. The Patriots' long run of four yards was recorded by a wide receiver, Nelson Agholor, who got the ball on a throw out to the perimeter that was deemed to have gone backward and was thus technically a lateral.

Tampa Bay's defense also punished Jones with four sacks and 12 quarterback hits, season highs in both categories for the Buccaneers. Rookie outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka starting in place of injured veteran Jason Pierre-Paul, got two of those four sacks, the first two of his young career. He also led the team with four quarterback hits.

QB hit data is available beginning in the 2006 season. Since then, Tryon-Shoyinka is the only Buccaneer rookie to have at least two sacks and at least four QB hits in a single game.

Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett and defensive lineman Will Gholston each had one sack on Sunday night. That gave Barrett 29.5 sacks since the start of the 2019 season, second most in the NFL in that span.

Most Sacks, NFL, 2019-21

Table inside Article
Player Teams Sacks
T.J. Watt Pittsburgh 34.5
Shaquil Barrett Tampa Bay 29.5
Aaron Donald L.A. Rams 28.0
Myles Garrett Cleveland 28.0
Za'Darius Smith Green Bay 26.0

Barrett also moved to within one sack of Pierre-Paul's total as a Buccaneer, which currently ranks eighth in team annals.

Most Sacks, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Seasons Sacks
Lee Roy Selmon 1976-84 78.5
Warren Sapp 1995-2003 77
Simeon Rice 2001-06 69.5
Gerald McCoy 2010-18 54.5
David Logan 1979-86 39.0
Chidi Ahanotu 1993-2000; 04 34.5
Brad Culpepper 1994-99 33.0
Jason Pierre-Paul 2018-21 30.5
Shaquil Barrett 2019-21 29.5
Ronde Barber 1997-2012 28.0

Inside linebacker Lavonte David made one of the most important defensive plays of the game with a minute left in regulation. Facing a third-and-three at the Bucs' 37, Jones tried to fire a pass to Jakobi Meyers in the right flat but David, who had begun to join a heavy blitz, stopped and leaped, batting the ball out of the air. The Patriots elected to send Nick Folk out to try to make a 56-yard field goal for the winning points, but his kick bounced off the left upright.

On the third-down play, Meyers was open and, had he caught the ball, it would have produced a first down. That would have put the Patriots in more reasonable field goal range and allowed the home to drain the clock and not give Tom Brady another chance.

David made this big play at the end of a night that saw him surpass Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp on the Buccaneers' all-time list for games played.

Most Games Played, Buccaneers Franchise History

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Seasons GP
Ronde Barber CB/S 1997-2012 241
Derrick Brooks LB 1995-2008 224
Dave Moore TE 1992-2001; 2004-06 190
Paul Gruber TE 1988-99 183
John Lynch S 1993-2003 164
Tony Mayberry C 1990-99 160
Mike Alstott FB 1996-2007 158
Shelton Quarles LB 1997-2006 148
Lavonte David LB 2012-2021 141
Warren Sapp DT 1995-2003 140

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