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Looking at Tom Brady’s history after four-interception games

09.28.11 at 9:45 pm ET
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Tom Brady leaves the podium after talking to the media on Wednesday. (AP)

FOXBORO — Sunday will mark a rare return to the Bay Area for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady, who grew up in San Mateo, still has plenty of family and friends in central California.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been there — the last time when we played there I think was in ‘02,” he said Wednesday morning. “I think my parents are the most happy — they don’t have to come very far this week. So for us, it’s a road game — it’s an important one. We’ve got to go out there and try to win.”

Brady has only played one game in the Bay Area in his professional career — Nov. 17, 2002 against the Raiders. In that game, Brady went 18-for-30 for 172 yards with no touchdowns and no picks in a 27-20 defeat to the Raiders. (The Patriots were on the West Coast in 2008 to face the 49ers and Raiders, but Brady missed both games because of the season-ending knee injury he suffered in the opener against the Chiefs.)

For Brady, it’s not only a rare chance to save his parents a plane flight, it’s also a chance to redeem himself after a four-interception afternoon against the Bills. Brady four-pick outings are Halley’s Comet rare — five times over the course of his 11-plus seasons in the NFL. Here’s a quick look back at those efforts, and how he’s responded the following week:

•Oct. 28, 2001 against the Broncos, Brady throws four interceptions in a 31-20 loss to Denver. He responds by going 21-for-31 for 250 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 24-10 over Atlanta.

•Sept. 7, 2003 against the Bills, Brady tossed four picks in the infamous 31-0 “They hate their coach” loss to Buffalo. The following week, the quarterback went 30-for-44 for 255 yards, three touchdowns and zero picks in a 31-10 victory over Philadelphia.

•Dec. 20, 2004 against the Dolphins — in what might have been the most shocking regular-season loss of Brady’s career — he threw four picks in a 29-28 defeat to Miami. On Dec. 26 vs. the Jets, he went 21-for-32 for 264 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 23-7 win over New York.

•Nov. 27, 2005 against the Chiefs, the quarterback finished with four interceptions in a 26-16 loss to Kansas City. He turned around the next week against the Jets, and in a 16-3 win, posted a 27-for-37 performance for 271 yards with no touchdowns and no picks.

•Nov. 5, 2006 against the Colts, Brady tossed four picks in a 27-20 defeat to Indianapolis. The following week against the Jets, the Patriots suffered a rare back-to-back loss (17-14) as Brady finished 24-for-36 with one touchdown and one interception.

In all, that’s a 4-1 mark, going 123-for-180 with nine touchdowns and one interception for Brady in the five games following four-pick outings — that’s an average outing of 25-for-36 with two touchdowns and no interceptions (actually 0.2 picks per game, but for purposes of this study, let’s round down).

Not bad, but certainly not the sort of outing we’ve become used to from Brady over the course of the 2011 season. Brady is on pace for one of the best seasons in NFL history through three games — he has more passing yards through the first three weeks (1,327) than anyone in league history, which projects to 7,077 passing yards over the course of a 16-game season. Brady is also on pace to throw 59 touchdown passes, which would break his own record of 50.

On Wednesday, Brady talked about bouncing back as a team this week against the Raiders.

“I think it’s really a fresh week for us,” Brady said. “Like I said, there’s nothing that we can do about what’s happened. We’re trying to bring a fresh, new plan, new energy; we’re trying to put it together against a damn good football team. We’re going to learn more about going on the road and playing a tough opponent than anything more than that. We’re trying to get a win.

“We’ve moved on from Sunday, and we’re focused on what we need to do in our preparation,” he added. “There’s not much that we can do about last week [and] there’s certainly nothing we can do about next week. The only thing we can really do is focus on what we have ahead of us today and then we’re going to prepare like we always do and we’re going to go out there and put our best out there.”

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