It sounds like a broken record
Brady takes out another NFL mark
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch stopped tracking Tom Brady’s records a long time ago. So yesterday, when Branch was asked for his reaction to the latest NFL mark now owned by Brady, Branch needed clarification.
“What record?’’ Branch asked after the Patriots’ 34-3 victory over the Bills. Brady now holds the record for the most consecutive passes without an interception. Brady bumped former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar (308) from the top spot, as he extended his streak to 319 and counting.
Branch has been the target of a number of those passes, and wasn’t surprised to hear of Brady’s record precision.
“I want to help him set every record he can,’’ said Branch, who had two catches for 25 yards yesterday. “I don’t think we go into the game focused on that. That’s why I didn’t know what record it was. I mean, he’s set so many records. So that’s nothing new.
“I’m happy to be a part of this one, but I’m sure Tom doesn’t set goals at the beginning of the season that he wants to set this record or that record. This guy just wants to make sure we go out and win games and make sure we execute our offense.’’
Brady completed 15 of 27 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns. In the current seven-game winning streak, Brady has been hovering around perfection. He has not thrown a pick since the Oct. 17 overtime win over the Ravens. In the 10 games since, Brady has thrown 24 touchdown passes.
“I’m glad I’m not throwing interceptions,’’ Brady said. “I think our team has done a really good job this year of not turning the ball over. All the guys that have handled [the ball] this year are doing a good job taking care of it. I’m very fortunate, believe me. There were plenty of plays that definitely could have gone to them. It’s a good trend for us to be on and hopefully it continues.’’
The Patriots have made it difficult for opponents to take advantage of turnovers. They have not committed one during the winning streak, and have just nine all season.
Brady got the record in the third quarter. He tied the mark when he completed a 4-yard pass to Danny Woodhead, and broke it on a pass that rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski dropped at the goal line. But on the next play, Brady went back to Gronkowski, who secured the 8-yard touchdown that gave the Patriots a 31-3 lead with 11:27 left in the third quarter.
“I didn’t realize he broke that,’’ coach Bill Belichick said. “That’s great. Tom does a great job of managing the game and taking care of the ball. I think he deserves that [record]. He’s pretty careful with the ball.’’
Said Branch, “It speaks volumes about what he does in the classroom. Tom is a perfectionist. We try to go out and execute our plays during the game, and a lot of that stuff stems from how we practice.’’
For an offensive line that has protected Brady well this season, the numbers are not always easy to fathom.
“I don’t think we as linemen have any comprehension,’’ center Dan Koppen said. “I know he has a tough job for what he has to do and how many reads he has to make to get the ball out in time. What he does to this point in his career isn’t shocking.’’
Brady has thrown at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions in each of the last eight games, extending his NFL record. Don Meredith (1965-66) had held the record with six straight games. Brady also has thrown at least one TD pass in all 15 games. If he throws for a score against the Dolphins Sunday, Brady will become the sixth quarterback to throw at least one touchdown pass in all 16 games.
The Patriots, however, have clinched home field throughout the playoffs, and for weeks Brady has been listed on the injury report with right shoulder and foot ailments. But when asked if he wants to play in the regular-season finale, Brady didn’t hesitate.
“Yeah, I want to play,’’ he said. “Whatever [Belichick] asks us to do we’re going to do. Miami’s a good team. Last time, we struggled against them offensively, so I hope we’ll go out and play better.’’
Monique Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.