Commentary

Quick Reads: Weighing garbage time

Tom Brady has been as good as ever. But are blowout wins distorting his real impact?

Updated: December 13, 2010, 2:39 PM ET
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders
Tom BradyDilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesDespite the elements, Brady still rocked the Bears on Sunday.

If there's any critique people can throw at Tom Brady these days, it's that his New England Patriots are running up the score in blowouts. Over the past two weeks, dominant victories over the New York Jets and Chicago Bears have been marked by the presence of Brady in the lineup late in the game, picking up passing yards while opposing defenders are plotting their disappointed postgame tweets in their heads.

On the other hand, DVOA suggests that Brady hasn't been saving his success for garbage time. Even before the Bears game, he comfortably led the league in DVOA and DYAR. That's not about to change after DVOA is completed upon the conclusion of the Monday night games, either; for the fourth week out of five and third week in a row, Brady had the best performance by any quarterback. And that was in a driving snowstorm.

DVOA accounts for the game situations in which players accrue passing yards, but Brady can still get an impressive DVOA by outperforming the way an average quarterback performs in garbage time. Is that what is happening? Does he get a disproportionate amount of his yardage in the latter stages of blowouts, relative to other quarterbacks? Let's take a look at the numbers.


To see if Tom Brady's impact on the game is at all distorted by garbage time, plus Football Outsiders' list of the best, worst and most surprising performances of Week 14, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.