By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — A few years back, after the Patriots beat the Steelers in the 2016 AFC Championship Game, Tom Brady announced to the world that he, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett had formed an unbreakable quarterback bond.
Now in 2019, that wolf pack is wreaking absolute havoc on the rest of the NFL.
With the 49ers’ win over the Redskins in rainy Maryland, and with the Colts’ divisional win over the Texans on Sunday, the quarterbacking trio of Brady, Garoppolo and Brissett improved its collective record to 16-2 this season.
Brady and Garoppolo are, of course, undefeated, both leaders of 6-0 teams. (Brady will start Monday night at the Jets for his seventh game of the year). Brissett, meanwhile, has managed to prevent the Colts from missing a step after the late-summer sudden retirement of Andrew Luck, steering the Colts to a 4-2 record.
Brissett was particularly outstanding on Sunday, completing 26 of his 39 passes (66.7%) for 326 with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Through six starts, he now has 1,388 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions. After entering the season with a career passer rating of 81.6 in 17 starts (and 23 games played total), Brissett has a sterling 101.0 rating this year.
Garoppolo’s numbers on Sunday were subdued in a big way, on account of the heavy rain that fell all afternoon long in Landover. Nevertheless, Garoppolo’s performance (12-for-21 for 151 yards with no touchdowns and one interception) was enough to get the 49ers to 6-0 on the year.
Similar to last year, Brady’s statistics have been kept in check, even as he’s steered the Patriots to a successful record. He’ll head into Monday night with a 65.4 percent completion rate for 1,743 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Noteworthy: Through six games, Brissett has more touchdown passes and a better passer rating than both Brady and Garoppolo.
Also noteworthy: The 42-year-old Brady has three rushing touchdowns this season, which is more than Garoppolo and Brissett — combined.
Taken together, the trio is 16-2 with 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
For the uninitiated, Brady borrowed from Alan’s famous “wolf pack” speech from “The Hangover” when posting the following picture to his Instagram account in January of 2017.
View this post on Instagram
You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when the Patriots brought Jimmy in, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack – it grew by one, so where there two – there were two of us in the wolf pack. I was alone first in the pack and then Jimmy joined in later. And nine months ago, when the Patriots introduced me to Jacoby, I thought 'Wait a second, could it be?' And I knew for sure- I just added another guy to my wolf pack. So today, I make a toast! Blood brothers!
“You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when the Patriots brought Jimmy in, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack – it grew by one, so where there two – there were two of us in the wolf pack. I was alone first in the pack and then Jimmy joined in later. And nine months ago, when the Patriots introduced me to Jacoby, I thought ‘Wait a second, could it be?’ And I knew for sure- I just added another guy to my wolf pack. So today, I make a toast! Blood brothers!”
That photo was shared after a season during which all three of those quarterbacks started games, with Brady serving his four-game suspension to start the year. Garoppolo and Brissett combined to guide the Patriots to a 3-1 record during that absence, and Brady went 14-1 from that point forward, en route to earning a fourth Super Bowl MVP Award and finishing second for the NFL MVP Award.
Is there a larger point to the current state of the wolf pack? Perhaps not. But as of Sunday, three of the NFL’s eight division leaders — and the only two undefeated teams — are being led by quarterbacks drafted by Bill Belichick. The blood brothers having themselves quite the season thus far in 2019.