Heading into his tenth Super Bowl, Tom Brady has been playing some pretty good football. He did throw three interceptions against the Green Bay Packers, but the rest of his postseason performances have been excellent. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ offense has turned it around thanks to Brady and his greatness.
Being able to make every throw is what has made Brady a legendary talent at quarterback. There is one throw he’s specifically thrown well over the past couple of years. With the pass-catching weapons at his disposal, utilizing the this route against the Chiefs could give Brady a huge advantage in Super Bowl 55.
The Buccaneers have the height advantage over the Chiefs’ secondary
One thing that plays a role in executing a fade route is the height of the receiver and the defender. When the receiver has the height advantage over their defender, it gives the quarterback a bigger window to throw the ball.
They can throw the ball higher in the area, only a place where their receiver can make a play on it. Tom Brady knows that his receivers have the height advantage over Kansas City’s defender.
The tallest secondary defender on the Chiefs is Daniel Sorenson at 6 feet, 2 inches. According to ESPN, the Chiefs have seven corners of safeties on their roster that are under six feet tall.
Their best defender, Tyrann Matthieu, only stands at 5 feet, 9 inches. The limited height in the secondary could be in trouble against Tampa Bay’s receiving core, who are tall and long.
Mike Evans is 6 feet, 5 inches tall, and led the Bucs in receiving with 1,006 yards in 2020. Brady has used Evans’ height to his advantage on many occasions during the season.
Rob Gronkowski is one inch taller than Evans. Seven receivers on Tampa Bay are listed at least 6 feet, 1 inch tall, per ESPN. The numbers show that the Bucs can use their height to annoy the Chiefs’ defense.
Knowing the matchups that favor his personnel is something Tom Brady has done for years. The fade is such a versatile route that he can throw it multiple ways to beat the Chiefs. Brady has been a master of the fade route, almost perfect whenever he throws that kind of pass.
Tom Brady is a master at throwing the fade route
Having the height advantage is important for fade routes, but putting the ball on target is important also. Tom Brady can execute the back-shoulder fade, the lob fade, the low and away fade, and more.
Over the past two seasons, TB12’s been one of the NFL’s best at targeting fade routes. It’s was more evident in Tampa Bay with the bigger receivers.
Brady has thrown 13 touchdown passes when targeting fade routes since 2019, per ESPN. He’s thrown 11 this season, including the playoffs. Those 11 touchdowns were the most in the NFL.
The 23 completed passes Brady has on such routes were tied for the most among quarterbacks in 2020. He threw only one interception when targeting fade routes in the past two years, which is remarkable.
The fade route has become a big part of Brady’s arsenal since coming to Tampa Bay. He didn’t have the capable receivers to run it in New England.
With the bigger bodies on the Bucs, using the fade is easy and allows the receivers to make the play. It must be nice that Brady can just throw it up to his tall targets at age 43.
When it comes to the Brady and targeting fade routes, it is a success almost every time. Brady is continuing to redefine his game. If he and the Bucs receivers can use their chemistry on this route, they could put some serious pressure on Kansas City’s pass defense.
Tampa Bay can use the fade route to their advantage
Given the height difference between Tampa Bay receivers and Kansas City’s secondary, along with Brady’s excellence, the Bucs can use the fade route to their advantage.
If they come into this game with a balanced offensive mindset, the fade will come in handy in the red zone and short-yardage situations. It could end up being the difference in the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs’ defense isn’t the strongest, being a middle of the pack team against the pass. Their defense gives up a lot, but they do get the critical turnover when they need it.
The Bucs will need to sustain long drives and finish them with touchdowns. The fade route can be used when they enter the red zone to end drives with six points. Fades can also be useful when they need a quick first down or want to take a shot downfield after a big run.
Tom Brady is 42 years old and still finding new ways to beat his opponents. His throws on fade routes are exceptional, which could be the difference-maker against the Chiefs. Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski could see a lot of targets coming their way in the Super Bowl.
Stats courtesy of ESPN