This past Sunday, perennial pocket passer, Tom Brady, achieved his 1,000th rushing yard. It took him 265 games since the year 2000 to do it. Unlike Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, or Michael Vick, who rushed for more than 13,000 yards combined, Brady has done most of his damage strictly from the pocket.
Drew Brees has played with a very similar style throughout his concurrent career. Since entering the league one year later in 2001, Brees has rushed for 762 yards in 261 games. Though neither passer will be remembered for his legs, it appears that Brady holds a slight advantage when it comes to rushing statistics.
While Brees averaged 1.6 yards per carry and 2.9 yards per game, Brady averaged 1.7 yards per carry and 3.8 yards per game. Brees’ three most prolific rushing seasons were for 84, 85, and 86 yards (2011), with only one of them coming in a Saints uniform. Brady’s three most prolific rushing seasons were for 110, 102, and 109 yards (2011). Neither have come close to repeating their rushing totals from 2011.
Brees has scored 116 1st downs in 465 career rushing attempts, which is good for around a 25% 1st down conversion rate. Brady has scored 198 1st downs in 579 career rushing attempts, which is good for around a 30% 1st down conversion rate.
Brees has fumbled 21 times (or once every 22 attempts) to Brady’s 28 (once every 21 attempts), so we’re splitting hairs here as it comes down to volume of attempts. It’s clear both future first ballot Hall of Famers have relied on their arms more than their legs, though they are both still dominant despite their “one-dimensional” styles of play.
Since Brees needs 238 more rushing yards to hit 1000, we can assume, at his current rate, that he won’t hit that mark for roughly another 82 games. That’s five seasons, and even though Brees has said he would like to play until age 45, it’s more unlikely than likely to happen.
It’s a good thing career rushing stats are probably the last thing Brees cares about as he pursues several more important tasks at hand. Among them, position his team for the playoffs, win his first MVP, and win his second Super Bowl.
It’s perhaps more likely than we think.