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Tom Brady Authoring Truly Remarkable Chapter Late In Hall Of Fame Career

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Rex Ryan didn't even care.

Well, he cared, sure, but he knew that for all of his own defensive genius, there was simply nothing he could have done on Sunday afternoon to stop Tom Brady. And he knew that even though 50 percent of his season still remains to be played, his Buffalo Bills have zero chance of catching up to the Patriots and winning the AFC East.

"That team is three games up on us, and I think at the halfway point they've lost one game," Ryan said when asked if his team had a chance of winning the division. "And Number 12 is back. So I don't see that happening. Hope I'm wrong."

There's Rex, the most braggadocious coach in a league full of egos, reduced to having nothing left except for hope.

That's the type of beatdown Tom Brady has been delivering since returning from his DeflateGate suspension like a bat out of hell. He's not just leading his team to victories; he's demoralizing opponents.

The Bills were merely the latest victim. They got in their shots on Brady, but he remained unfazed throughout, eventually throwing for 315 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Since Brady's return to the Patriots, they're not just 4-0. They've outscored opponents 136-71, winning their games by 20 points in Cleveland, 18 points vs. Cincinnati, 11 points in Pittsburgh and 16 points in Buffalo.

The 39-year-old quarterback is killing teams with his arm, with his brain, and even with his legs. He scampered for 15 yards on a third down on Sunday vs. Buffalo, a run that was tied as the fourth-longest of his 17-year NFL career.

It's to the point where even if you tried, even if you dedicated all of your brainpower and all of your energy into focusing on what the man is doing on the field, there would be no way to properly digest what Brady is doing right now at this moment.

Here's one picture:

Brady, 2007, age 30, first four games:
79.2% passing, 1,118 yards, 13 TDs, 2 INTs
5 rushes, 6 yards

Brady, 2016, age 39, first four games:
73.1% passing, 1,319 yards, 12 TDs, 0 INTs
10 rushes, 44 yards

For Brady, the only opening four-game stretch of his career was last year (1,387 yards, 11 TDs, 0 INTs) when he hit the ground running after spending the summer fighting Roger Goodell in court. These are things that quarterbacks typically don't do as they approach 40.

Here's another picture:

Brady's first four games at age 39:
73.1% passing, 1,319 yards, 12 TDs, 0 INTs

Peyton Manning's first four games at age 39:
63.6% passing, 968 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs

Joe Montana's first four games at age 38 (his final season):
63.6% passing, 1,054 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs

Dan Marino's first four games at age 38 (his final season):
59.3% passing, 1,080 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs

Steve Young's first three games at age 38 (did not play again after Week 3):
53.6% passing, 446 yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs

John Elway's first four games at age 38 (his final season):
61.3% passing, 781 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs

Brett Favre's first four games at age 39:
70.2% passing, 935 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs

Johnny Unitas' first four games at age 39:
56.5% passing, 947 yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs

Warren Moon's first four games at age 39:
62.7% passing, 878 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs

It's without a doubt more of a passing league now than when the Montanas and Marinos played, but that doesn't entirely account for the unprecedented excellence which Brady has put on display each Sunday this month. And, most obvious, most of the greats never even lasted physically to age 39. Brady, meanwhile, currently looks as fit as he ever has.

Roger Staubach retired at 37. So did Bart Starr. Jim Kelly retired at 36.

At age 39, Brady's looking capable of working himself into the MVP discussion despite playing just 12 games.

Most frustrating for opponents is the ease with which he appears to be doing it. On third-and-6 on the Patriots' opening drive Sunday, Brady knew he had the conversion before the play even began. He took a shotgun snap and quickly lobbed a pass to running back James White on the left side. The chains moved. Three plays later on third-and-10, Brady casually waited for Chris Hogan to break out of his route for the easiest 16-yard gain of the receiver's career. The chains moved.

Three more plays later, Brady barked at Julian Edelman before the snap. Brady looked perturbed; how did Edelman not see exactly what the QB was seeing? Brady glanced at the play clock, realized he had enough time to get on the same page with Edelman, and then delivered a dart to Edelman's belly button while wide open in a soft spot in the defense. Gain of 10. The chains moved.

That drive -- which began with the Patriots trailing 3-0 -- ended with Brady rolling right and throwing on the run to a wide open Danny Amendola for a touchdown.

At that point, the Bills likely figured they better start getting to Brady. They did. It didn't matter.

On a third-and-8 near midfield on the next New England drive, Brady ran left to buy more time. He stood tall, knowing he still had a second or two to wait for Edelman to spring free down the field, but also knowing that he'd be absorbing a massive hit by a speeding 248-pound Zach Brown, who was in the process of making a beeline for Brady's chest. Brown delivered. So did Brady, connecting with Edelman 30-plus yards away and on the opposite end of the field. Edelman might have even crossed the goal line after the catch, but it wouldn't matter because Marcus Cannon was penalized for illegally being downfield.

In the moment, Brady had just gotten flattened at full speed by Brown, and he faced a third-and-13. The rain was picking up. The Buffalo crowd was at max volume. And sure enough, he stood tall in the pocket, waited patiently and then lofted a picture-perfect deep ball (the one thing critics have always said he can't do) into the hands of Chris Hogan, who caught it in stride and kept on going for the 53-yard touchdown.

It was just one moment, but it was indicative of so much of Brady's mind-set at this point in his career.

Close the window, talk about the decline, exclude him from the "top 5" QB lists. He won't care.

Spend two years attacking his character, labeling him a cheater, forcing him to sit out four games. He won't let you win.

Hit him as hard as you want. It's not going to bother him.

That was just one hit he withstood. He was on the receiving end of at least a half-dozen hits, four sacks, and one helmet-to-helmet hit that didn't so much as keep him down on the turf for a second.

He was football's version of RoboCop.

There is, quite simply, no stopping this Tom Brady.

"If you really think we can run the table and still win it ... I don't think so," Rex Ryan lamented while pondering his team's chances in the division vs. the Patriots.

The head coach of the second-place team in the division has given up. It's Week 8.

That's what Tom Brady has done in 2016.

Rex Ryan is not the first opponent to be left shaking his head after facing Brady this year, and he will not be the last.

In the meantime, do your best to witness as much of this as you can. You'll never see anything like it again.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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