After throwing at least one touchdown pass in 52 straight games, Tom Brady ran into the perfect storm -- quite literally -- on Sunday in Cincinnati.
Brady was harassed by the Bengals' defense all day and struggled to find a rhythm with his receiving corps. But he and the Patriots still had two chances in the closing moments to tie or win the game, only to be further stymied by an absolutely biblical downpour.
The rain got to be so heavy in the game's final two minutes that CBS had to switch away from its camera at the 50-yard-line so viewers could have a clear shot of the action. And here's how it looked from inside the stadium, courtesy of The MMQB's Greg Bedard:
Brady's final attempt to erase the Patriots' 13-6 deficit late resulted in an Adam Jones interception, as a deep ball intended for Aaron Dobson fluttered far short of its target.
Even in better conditions, however, Brady and the Patriots found the going tough. Cincinnati sacked Brady four times, picked him off once and forced four fumbles (New England recovered three). Despite getting Danny Amendola back into the lineup, the Patriots were unable to muster any consistent offense. Amendola led the team in yards from scrimmage with just 55, followed by LeGarrette Blount's 51 yards rushing. Overall, Brady went 18-of-38 for 197 yards.
The Patriots again played without tight end Rob Gronkowski. Never was his absence more noticeable than on a goal-line situation in the fourth quarter with New England down 10. After Blount was stuffed from the 1, Brady attempted to hit tackle Nate Solder (who reported as eligible for the play) on a second down play-action. Solder, rather predictably, could not come open and was unable to find Brady's pass.
Brady then saw his third-down pass fall out of the hands of Julian Edelman, who nearly came down with a sensational grab.
That was the second time in the game that Brady came within a whisker of extending his TD streak to 53 -- and within one of Drew Brees' all-time record. Just three plays before Edelman's near-miss, Brady completed a pass to a tumbling Danny Amendola, who attempted to somersault into the end zone. He was touched down inches shy of the goal line, leading to that aforementioned sequence of plays from the Cincinnati 1.
Cincinnati came into Sunday's game shorthanded, too, with cornerback Leon Hall and defensive end Michael Johnson out due to injuries. The Patriots were unable to take advantage and fell from the ranks of the undefeated. Brady finished with a QB rating of 52.2, the lowest for him in a regular-season game since a 51.5 showing against the Jets in 2007. (New England won that game 20-10.)
Performances like those have been very few and far between in Brady's career. On Sunday, though, he was unable to weather the storm.