I'm not going to take too deep a dive into how Tom Brady did at Denver. Mainly because there's not a lot to say other than, if you're someone who's been rooting for him to fall flat on his perfectly proportioned face because:
A) You resent him for leaving New England. Or:
2) You resent him for refusing to fall off a cliff the way you've been insisting he would for the last four years in front of your declining ESPN audience
... then this is a very bad day for you.
Aside from the uniforms that made the Bucs look like a reason to call the pediatrician if you found them in your infant's diaper, Tampa Brady looked every bit like he did for in Foxboro 19 years. If not exactly like Patriots Brady at his very best, at least like a fair approximation. Today he could've made a nice living touring as a Peak Brady tribute band. GOATmania.
This version of Tampa Brady ran a solid Frank Caliendo impression of the Josh McDaniels offense. There were a lot of spreads and empty backfields. Motions to expose what the Broncos defense was doing, followed by alerts and audibles to exploit their best laid plans. More than anything he did what he always said he preferred to do as a Patriot, which is hit his favorite receiver: The guys who's open.
I went into this one convinced Brady would be dialed into Rob Gronkowski, given the fact that Gronk had two catches on four targets for 11 yards through two games. But also because Bruce Arians was calling him a blocking TE. Brady is not predisposed to force the ball to anyone, but there are exceptions. And when a close personal friend hangs up his WWE tights to come out of retirement to move a thousand miles south to be with you again, it's only natural to not want him to live life as a $9 million Dwayne Allen.
But while Brady definitely looked to Gronk more than he has, it would be ridiculous to say he "forced" a damned thing to any damned one. He spread the ball around like vintage TB12. Eight of his receivers had between two and six receptions, and Gronk led the way with six on seven targets. And four had between 48 and 83 receiving yards. That kind of distribution of wealth that used to give Karl Marx a lumpen in his proletariat.
Simply put, he took what Denver gave him. In a stadium that has long been a sort of weird temporal anomaly for Brady, with strange things happening at precisely the wrong time, he was his old self. He might as well have been facing the Houston Texans or Cleveland Browns or some other team he's owned the deed to for decades. Occasionally he overthrew somebody, like that attempt to an open Gronk running a corner route behind the man coverage. But way, way, much more often than not, he delivered throws on the money, tight coverage or no.
Brady ran the offense he mastered some time during the George W. Bush administration and made it look very familiar.
There were times when he ran like a baby deer on an icy pond and took the loss of yardage for doing so. But then again, I could've written that same sentence in 2002. And you can correctly point out that in the 2nd half the Bucs possessed the ball six times and scored three points total. One of those drives finished with a field goal, the final drive with the end of the game, and the other four ended with punts But by then the damage was pretty much done. From that 23-10 halftime lead on, it was a matter of playing situational football, picking up enough first downs, running enough time off the clock, not giving Denver a chance to get back in the game with stupid turnovers and allowing Jeff Driskel to throw some of the worst, most Tebowesque displays of taking care of the ball since the Celtics in the 3rd quarter of Game 2. Seriously, the kid had a roll out on 3rd & 2 with a receiver open in front of him and might have thrown the ball four feet into the ground. I could've done better by gripping the ball with chopsticks. So compare and contrast for one second and you realize how ridiculous it sounds to say Brady didn't have a great half when he finished with almost 300 yards, three TDs and no interceptions.
Say what you will about how Tompa Brady looked in Week 1. And there were some odd decisions and poor executions in there. But you can't argue that he's gotten better with each subsequent game. Assuming this trend continues, the Chargers - a team he's 9-2 career against with a regular season passer rating of 97.3 - might as well not make the trip to Tampa next week.