Sorry, Tom Brady: Patriots Quarterback Isn't Washed Up Yet

Of course once anyone began to suggest he might be done, Tom Brady showed he's a long way from it.

The New England Patriots quarterback, who is the wrong side of 40, don't you know, carved up a predictably porous New Orleans Saints defense Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Brady completed 30 of 39 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns, despite losing pretty much every previously healthy receiving target to injury.

Rob Gronkowski left the game in the third quarter with what was diagnosed as a groin injury, while Chris Hogan was limping by the end of the game. NFL.com reported Phillip Dorsett left with a knee injury, while Rex Burkhead, the running back, suffered a rib injury. With Julian Edelman out for the season with his own knee injury and Danny Amendola still in concussion protocol, the Patriots were down to one fully fit wide receiver by the game's end.

No one schemes like Bill Belichick, though, and no one uses adversity to increase his aura quite like Brady. He looked much like his old self on Sunday, regularly exploiting the Saints' inexperienced linebacking corps with short throws for yards after the catch. With the Saints' defensive front struggling to generate any real pressure all game, Brady had time in the pocket to launch downfield, too. A fourth-quarter missile to Dorsett, thrown into double coverage, was a particular highlight.

Undoubtedly the Patriots were helped by that Saints defense, which is managing to look as bad as it has in the past few seasons under Sean Payton. The Kansas City Chiefs managed to hassle Brady; once it became clear that the Patriots' offensive line was going to hold up, the Saints were in trouble. Brady also was helped by an improved defensive effort. While the Saints scored 20 points and Brees passed for 356 yards and two touchdowns, seven of those came toward the end of the fourth quarter, when the game was already sealed. Adrian Peterson gained just 26 yards on eight carries, a fact that is almost certain to increase his frustration.

It was only over a week ago that we, right here, suggested Brady's mediocre Week One performance—under 300 yards passing and no touchdowns—might be evidence that he was in decline. Perhaps he read our story; more likely, Brady went away and studied film and came back seemingly better than ever. So Tom Brady—sorry for ever doubting you.

Click here to watch Brady's best throws of the game on NFL.com.