FOXBOROUGH - Chad Ochocinco took heavy criticism last week for describing the Patriots offensive output from Week 1 as video game numbers. But if Tom Brady continues to put up ridiculous numbers - he has 940 passing yards through two games - Ochocinco might not be able to help himself from speaking out again.
Brady is the first quarterback in NFL history to follow up on a 500-yard outing (517 against the Dolphins ) with a 400-yard performance. He completed 31 of 40 passes for 423 yards against the Chargers in yesterday’s 35-21 win.
He’s also the seventh quarterback in NFL history to post back-to-back 400-yard games. He extended his Patriots record for 300-yard games to 36. In addition, he passed Bills great Jim Kelly for 17th on the all-time passing yards list with 35,694.
“You have to see this guy’s eyes,’’ said Deion Branch, who collected game highs in receptions (eight) and yards (129). “Once he’s in the pocket his eyes are so big. He gets so excited when guys are so open.“
Said Brady: “It’s true.’’
Branch said the Patriots work hard to get open and Brady, coming off an MVP season that was soured by an early playoff loss, works hard to find them.
“The things that we do in practice is pretty much what’s going on in the game,’’ Branch said. “You know Coach puts us through a lot of different situations in practice. And Tom puts up the challenge in practice. The expectation is what’s going on, on the football field [in practice], goes on in the game.’’
Coming off a lockout, there was concern that players would struggle to perform at a high level early in the season, something Brady has obviously defied.
Bill Belichick said the goal remains the same week in and week out.
“We actually expect to go out and play good football,’’ he said.
Brady tossed three touchdowns, connecting with Rob Gronkowski twice and fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez once. Brady was at his distributing best, hitting seven receivers.
“I think we were able to spread the ball around,’’ Brady said. “Deion, Wes [Welker] had his catches; Aaron [Hernandez], Chad [Ochocinco] made plays. Obviously Deion made a bunch of plays. We ran the ball pretty good. It was a good team win.’’
“We have so many guys,’’ Branch said. “That’s the plus that I think Coach Belichick and the staff do a great job going out and finding the guys that fit this offense. It’s not about one guy. It’s not about me, it’s not about Wes, it’s not about Chad.
“I mean you got Gronkowski, Aaron, you got the running backs coming out of the backfield, [Danny] Woodhead. And there’s a couple of guys we haven’t even gotten to, you know Julian Edelman, [Matthew] Slater; guys making plays all over the place. And Tom has the confidence in all of them to go out and get the job done. He’s seen it done in practice and he expects it in the game.’’
Like Ochocinco, they just have to be ready to comment on Brady’s exploits.Zuri Berry can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter @zuriberry.