NFL defenses seem to be helpless in the face of an aerial assault that has seen quarterbacks post Star Wars numbers of secondaries at a pace that could result in the 2018 – 2018 NFL gridiron season coming to be known as the “Year of the Quarterback.”
Four-hundred yard passing games were almost routine in the fourth round of the season. Yardage does not necessarily translate to points in every instance, but it is a solid indicator that pass defenders are losing ground, as the scoring oriented NFL has tipped the balance in favour of offensive output.
The Denver Broncos, once braggers about their strength at denying passing attacks and known as the “No Fly Zone,” has this year become the “Frequent Flyer Zone,” as they seem entirely incapable of covering opposing receivers.
Another recent example was the mid-week game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium in New England.
Patriot quarterback Tom Brady has two receivers in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendoula who could not outrun most of the fans in the stadium, yet that pair routinely gets open for easy pitch and catch pass completions from Brady.
It was Edelman’s first game since the pre-season of 2017 and the 10-year veteran did not come back from the injury that kept him out all of last year any faster than he had been, yet he caught three passes in the Patriots’ opening possession of the game, a 75-yard touchdown drive.
The Patriots won the game 38 – 24 and Brady became the third quarterback in NFL history to reach 500 career touchdown passes, following Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Brady did not need 400 passing yards to shred the Colts’ defense. Instead, the passed for 341 yards of 34 of 44 attempts/completions, a staggering 77.3 percent ratio. Of the 10 passes recorded as incompletions, two were interceptions thrown to the other side, although one of those was a completion to Rob Gronkowski, who had the ball stolen from his hands by the Colts’ defense.