Recapping Tom Brady’s value to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense in 2020

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense won a Super Bowl last season. Let's look back at how the veteran quarterback did it.

Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the biggest story of last offseason. The union proved to be fruitful, with Brady having his best season in years and Tampa Bay winning the Super Bowl after not even making the playoffs since 2007. Let’s look back at Brady’s 2020 season to see what made him and the Buccaneers’ offense so successful.

Tom Brady’s box score in 2020 was his best in years

Looking back at Brady’s statistics during his final years in New England, it appeared as though Father Time had finally caught up to the ageless wonder. But the switch to the Buccaneers’ offense clearly rejuvenated the veteran quarterback.

Although he threw 12 interceptions, his most since 2011, Brady threw for 4,633 yards, his highest total since 2015, and 40 touchdowns, his most since 2007.

It was a throwback performance from the future Hall of Famer, aided by the immense talent surrounding him.

Brady’s advanced metrics were also stellar

It wasn’t just the conventional metrics that showed Tom Brady to be an elite quarterback in 2020. Let’s turn to the Offensive Value Metric (OVM), a grading system created by the (Bx) Movement to evaluate players based on how much influence they had over their statistics, rather than the statistics themselves.

In 2020, Brady earned an OVM grade of 29.34, his highest in the last five years. That made him one of the most effective quarterbacks in the NFL last season. Only three players at the position earned higher grades in 2020.

Examining Brady’s weekly grades

For a more in-depth examination of Brady’s 2020 OVM performance, let’s look at his week-to-week performances. In the chart below, you can see his weekly grades, marked by the black dots. For comparison, the yellow line represents the league average OVM grade for quarterbacks during the 2020 regular season.

Recapping Tom Brady's value to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense in 2020

Brady consistently earned high grades, with most coming in above the league average. He had a few grades below 20 but none below 10.

Meanwhile, his best performance was truly spectacular. It came in a Week 16 47-7 drubbing of the Detroit Lions. The Buccaneers thoroughly trounced the Lions’ defense, leading to Brady not playing after halftime. Yet, the veteran quarterback earned the highest OVM grade of any quarterback in 2020.

At 56.04, it was nearly seven points higher than the next-best grade on the list. It also made Brady the only quarterback to earn a grade that ranked inside the top 10 by any player at any position last season.

The advanced metrics behind Tom Brady’s OVM grades

To understand what made Brady’s OVM grades so exceptional last season, we need to look at the advanced metrics involved in calculating them. Most of Brady’s metrics rank above the halfway mark when compared to all other players at his position in 2020.

However, what really set Brady apart last year was how far he threw the ball downfield. His passes traveled an average of 9.3 yards past the line of scrimmage across all of his pass attempts. That was the third-highest average in the NFL in 2020 and a massive jump from Brady’s average of 7.6 the year prior.

Brady’s completions traveled an average of 7 yards downfield, the sixth-most last season. Once again, that was a big jump for Brady from 2019, increasing from an average of 5.6 yards.

Despite his later years in New England suggesting that his arm strength had declined, Brady can still throw downfield with the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

Looking at Tom Brady’s best game of 2020

I’d like to take a moment to return to a game I mentioned earlier: Tampa Bay’s Week 16 matchup with the Detroit Lions.

Brady’s box score from that game was impressive enough, putting up 384 yards and 4 touchdowns in a single half, but his advanced metrics were truly spectacular.

He threw the ball an average of 13.9 yards past the line of scrimmage and 12.2 yards on his completions, averaging well over a first down per completion.

Brady also completed 81.5% of his passes against Detroit. According to the NFL’s projections, that number was 18.4% higher than expected.

All of those statistics led the NFL in Week 16, except his completion percentage, which ranked second.

Detroit’s defense might have been among the worst in the NFL last year, but what Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense did in the first half was demolition on a different scale.

If Tom Brady can maintain his level of play next season, Tampa Bay could win another Super Bowl

Last season, Brady’s performance laid to rest whatever doubts anyone might have about his ability to perform outside of New England. Unfortunately for the rest of the NFL, the Buccaneers have the same offense and defense as the year prior.

If Brady can continue to play at an elite level in his 22nd NFL season, there are few reasons to bet against him winning his eighth Super Bowl.

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