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Pats' Brady seeks perfection, not just wins

There's a distinct trait that flows through the seemingly ice-water veins of Tom Brady, one that Trevor Pryce believes separates the Patriots' GQ quarterback from everyone else.

"He's the type of guy, he'll win and still be very angry about something," the Jets' defensive lineman said. "What makes him better than everybody, he's chasing perfection. He's not chasing wins. It's like, 'How can I be perfect?' "

Brady was essentially that in the Patriots' 45-24 pasting of the Lions on Thanksgiving. He posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3, completing 21 of 27 passes for 341 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions, which led to the 11th-year pro's being named AFC offensive player of the week Wednesday.

It was the second time Brady recorded a perfect rating, joining Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner as the only players in NFL history who have done it more than once. It was also just the latest virtually flawless performance by the three-time Super Bowl champ and two-time Super Bowl MVP.

Brady is tied for the league lead in touchdown passes with 23 and is on pace to throw for 3,932 yards and 33 TDs. He's rattled off 25 straight regular-season wins at home. He is 120-36 during the regular season and postseason for a .769 percentage, the best record of any quarterback since the Super Bowl Era commenced in 1966.

Simply put: The guy's pretty darn good.

"There is no weakness in Brady's game," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "He's poised. He's competitive. He's a leader, and by the way, he can make every throw. He's great underneath. He's smart. He knows where to throw the [ball]. He's gone 199 straight throws without throwing a pick. He can throw the deep ball with touch, stands in there, faces the pressure.

"He's just a heck of a football player."

Apparently, a bit of a bookworm, too.

"Tom is a nerd, this guy studies so much," Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch said Wednesday. "And the thing is we are in the room studying with him, going [over] a lot of things - positions where he wants us to be, when he's going to throw the ball. I think guys' jobs are to make sure that you do what he asks us to do and the outcome will be pretty good.

"This guy, he's a perfectionist, and we all enjoy going to work for him."

Few defenders enjoy going against him, though, because Brady is nearly impossible to sack. That's happened only 15 times this season, so about the only way to throw him off his game is to harass, hit and pressure him, and give him different looks. The Jets managed only one sack and one quarterback hit in their 28-14 win on Sept. 19 but still were able to get two interceptions off Brady - half of his season total.

Jamming his receivers at the line to throw off the timing and rhythm of the offense is also key because "he gets rid of the ball," Pryor said. "I've sacked him before, but he gets rid of the ball very quickly. He knows when the rush is coming."

That's why it's critical for the Jets to maintain their individual responsibilities rather than freelance against Brady.

"You can't be slacking," defensive lineman Sione Pouha said. "He's a guy, if your armor is not all the way on, he'll stab you somehow. He's a guy that just cuts people apart because of the mistakes that you make. So we've got to make sure that we stay on our game plan, everybody stays on their assignment and does their job."

Shaun Ellis said: "It all starts with Brady. It's been that way for years. He's a guy that's going to the Hall of Fame, a guy that has all the numbers, has the rings. So, it all starts with him. If we can make his job a lot harder, it will be more to our advantage. Anytime you play them, you have to put the pressure on him and make him make mistakes. It's hard. It's hard doing that."


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