Brady less than a star against Baltimore
BY HOWARD ULMAN Associated Press
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/17/13 at 6:38 AM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - There is something about the Baltimore Ravens that brings out the worst in Tom Brady.
Against most teams, he plays like one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. Against the Ravens, he gets outplayed by Joe Flacco.
So what's the problem?
Start with the Ravens' inspirational, hard-hitting leader, Ray Lewis. Add a talented secondary led by Ed Reed. And throw in a strong defensive line with Haloti Ngata leading the charge.
"They have a lot of playmakers at each level of the defense," Brady said Wednesday before the New England Patriots practiced. "It's not like you beat this team, 50-0. It's always a tight game. There's tight coverage. There's tight throws, tough reads because schematically they do quite a few things. So it's never easy."
Brady is 5-2 in his seven games against the Ravens, not a bad record. But his personal statistics are among the poorest against any of the 31 teams he has faced in his 13-year career.
His 58.6 completion percentage and 74.1 passer rating are the lowest against any opponent. The Ravens are the only team he has thrown more interceptions against (eight) than touchdowns (seven). They've sacked him 16 times, one of five teams averaging more than twice per game.
In five games against the Patriots, Flacco is 2-3 but has completed 64.7 percent of his passes with a 95.7 passer rating. He has thrown for nine touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Brady's 49.1 rating in a 33-14 playoff loss to Baltimore on Jan. 10, 2010 is his lowest in his last 101 games and sixth lowest in his 198 career starts, including the postseason.
"For one, you've got a guy (Lewis) that's been playing ball for 17 years sitting in the middle, so that tells you right there that their leadership is one of the best things that they have," Patriots running back Stevan Ridley said. "They're known for defense. They're known for Ray Lewis. They're known for Ed Reed."
In their most recent meeting, the Patriots led 30-21 on Sept. 23 in the fourth quarter but punted on their last two possessions. The Ravens then scored 10 points in the last 4:01 and won 31-30 on Justin Tucker's 27-yard field goal on the final play.
"They're as good as any team we played this year, better than most," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We're playing a team that we had a great, great game with earlier in the season. It came down to the last play. We don't really expect much less than that this time around."
Original Print Headline: Brady struggling against Baltimore
New England quarterback Tom Brady has thrown eight interceptions in seven career games against the Baltimore Ravens defense, which he will face Sunday in the AFC championship game. STEPHAN SAVOIA / AP