BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady is healthy heading into Sunday’s divisional round clash against the Los Angeles Chargers, but that wasn’t the case for a large chunk of the regular season. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots quarterback was battling an MCL sprain that he suffered in Week 11, and only recently did he feel like his usual self.
Turns out that first-round playoff bye was pretty darn important for Brady and the Patriots.
“Sources say Brady is as healthy as he’s been today since he began the season, having made good use of the bye. Previously, Brady battled an MCL sprain, sources say, one that took him a few weeks to overcome,” Rapoport reported Sunday morning. “In his worst statistical season since 2014, it clearly affected Brady.”
Brady suffered the injury on a double-pass play against the Titans when he hauled in a reception in Tennessee.
“The injury occurred as Brady slipped, misstepped, then fell playing receiver on a double pass on Nov. 11 versus the Titans,” Rapoport said. “He was on the injury report until Week 15. At various times, he could be seen fiddling with his knee brace or cutting his pregame warm-ups short.”
Brady finished his regular season with 4,355 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and completed 66 percent of his passes. There was speculation that he was dealing with a knee injury following their Week 14 loss in Miami after Brady took an awkward tumble to the field as he ran to celebrate a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski. Turns out that speculation was true.
Brady and the Patriots are looking to advance to their eighth straight AFC Championship game with a win over Los Angeles on Sunday.