|Photo by Mike Gil|
With Welker on the roster, the Pats were 7-0 at home this season. Without Welker, they lost in Foxboro to the Ravens, 33-14. It seems silly to pin a 19-point loss on an injury to one guy. But the evidence shows that Wes Welker turns Tom Brady from a "very good" quarterback into "the best quarterback ever".
Brady's career Passer Rating with Welker: 108.1. That's easily the best Passer Rating ever. It's not even close. According to Football Mogul, Steve Young has a career Passer Rating of 96.8. Peyton Manning and his vaunted four MVPs: just 95.2. Take Welker away from Brady and his career Passer Rating drops to 88.7, more than two points behind Chad Pennington!
The difference is just as stark in the playoffs. Brady's Passer Rating in playoff games with Welker is 97.1, including an amazing 70.6% overall completion rate. Without Welker, Brady's playoff Passer Rating is a mediocre 83.2. And the icing on this shit cake is a 49.1 Passer Rating in Sunday's game versus the Ravens.
Julian Edelman caught two touchdowns in Brady's first home playoff loss. But he didn't move the chains like Welker. And he didn't free up Moss to go deep. Brady spent a lot of time holding the ball and getting pressured, because he didn't have Wes to go to when he needed to.
For some final perspective, note that Matt Cassel's season with the Patriots (and with Welker) in 2008 was better than four of Brady's seasons without Welker. But it was worse than the seasons that Brady has had with Welker. So, Brady is better than Cassel. But Wes is better than both of them.
So, my vote for 2009 NFL MVP goes to Wesley Carter Welker. Without Wes, the Patriots may not have even made the playoffs this year. Tell Peyton to give back that trophy!