Ron Jaworski, color commentator for ESPN's Monday Night Football, has discovered something while preparing for Monday's showdown: Tom Brady is not Brady-like against Rex Ryan:
"Tom Brady has not solved that Jets defense," Jaworski said. "You just watch the areas of the field where he attacks. He struggles to the outside, the middle of the field, missing blitz pressures. This Jets defense has Tom Brady’s number. And until Tom Brady can solve that defense, this offense is going to struggle."
I can say I have noticed a similar trend. Back when the Patriots were the Darth Vaders of the NFL in 2007, the 5-11 Baltimore team (who gave Miami it's only win that year) nearly beat the almost-perfect Pats, when Brady's completion percentage was under 50%. In 2009, the Pats failed to score a touchdown in their first meeting, and only put up 14 points in week 2 of 2010.
Why is Brady not successful against Ryan? For one, he's not very mobile, and that's the best tool to beating a Ryan blitz: running away from it. Darrelle Revis has something to do with it. Brady has also not had a great rushing threat, which is another key element to beating Ryan. For example, look at what Jones Drew did to the Jets last year, and look at the impact Peyton Hillis had. Now, however, the Pats are re-committed to running the ball, giving them balance.
Is it Monday yet?