Tom Brady delivered a message to the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning on Sunday and surely all of NFL Nation had to hear it loud and clear.
Brady riddled the Broncos’ defense for four touchdown passes and 333 passing yards as the Patriots steamrolled visiting Denver 43-21 to assume control of the AFC by virtue of now owning the overall best record. As New England fans gleefully taunted Manning with chants of “Brady’s better,” the Hall of Fame-bound quarterback improved to 11-5 overall against the man who is largely considered his greatest rival for such worldwide supremacy over the period of both their distinctively brilliant careers.
“He has always set a real high bar for how to play and I have tried to do the same through my efforts with my team,” Brady told reporters in the aftermath of his epic performance. “The only thing I really care about is the respect from my team, going out there and trying to earn it.”
After stumbling to a 2-2 start and even hearing rumblings that his time might have finally come and gone, Brady has since been vintage Brady, leading the Patriots to five straight victories, none of them more highlighted than the way they routed the Broncos in Foxborough. Over that streak, Brady has 18 touchdown passes against just one interception. In back-to-back blowout wins, the Pats’ offense has now exploded for an average of better than 40 points per outing.
“Well, I don’t usually stink, but I stunk today,” said Manning, who passed for 438 yards and two touchdowns but obviously seemed to be comparing his relatively minimal successes to the prodigious ones performed by his nemesis. “The quarterback stinks, usually you’re not going to win many games,” Manning added.
With Brady now rolling as he is, New England no longer has to concern itself with such issues. Brady has now passed for at least 260 yards in the Patriots’ last five games, eclipsing 300 yards in three of them. Through it all, never was he more on point than he was against the Broncos’ fourth-ranked defense.
“I think we’ve figured out some of the things we’re pretty good at,” he said. Truth is, the Patriots simply put the ball back in Tom Brady‘s more than still capable hands and implored him to be Tom Brady. More often than not, as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos rediscovered on Sunday, that typically will prove to be more than enough for the Patriots.