Go back as far as you want.
Brady is the biggest Dolphins killer of them all.
This Patriot defense is again nothing to fear. These Patriot receivers aren't special without injured tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Brady is why Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, open as ever, says: "We're going to have to score some points. I mean, come on. Take a look at [New England's] scores. We're going to have to score some points, no question about it."
Brady is why Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake says of the defensive scheme, "It starts with the push in the middle. We've got to get some of that. Because you push the quarterback looks to run. And what's the one thing Brady doesn't do much?"
So he doesn't run. So what? Neither did Dan Marino. And if you think Brady's 24 touchdowns against three interceptions are compelling this season, that's his normal look against the Dolphins.
In his past 10 games against the Dolphins, Brady has thrown 22 touchdowns against six interceptions and completed 63.7 percent of his passes.
You can stack up such numbers like firewood.
He's 14-6 lifetime against Miami. His only Dolphins loss in his last eight games was by a point, 22-21 (he missed 2008 with injury).
You can go on with such numbers. And on.
But it's the stories that tell what he's done, too. He got cornerback Benny Sapp fired last trip to Sun life Stadium. His first-half in 2007 was as perfect — five-touchdown passes as New England led, 42-7 — as his simple quote about his halftime thoughts.
"I wanted another touchdown," he said.
I loved that quote, because it got to the on-field essence of a player who rarely lets you in. Asked this week about why he dominates the Dolphins, he said, "We've executed well against them."
Asked about his 99-yard touchdown pass against the Dolphins last year to Wes Welker, Brady said, "Wes Welker is a great teammate." Asked, at 35, about playing to 40, he said, "I feel great."
Bill Belichick is a Hall of Fame coach. He and Brady have won Super Bowl rings and contended for titles each year. But Belichick isn't why New England is the league's top-scoring team. Brady is. Belichick didn't get offensive assistants Charlie Weis and Josh McDaniels head-coaching jobs, where they failed. Brady did.
The franchise quarterback always is the tougher find than the franchise coach. Belichick's good friend, Nick Saban, is a regular reminder of that. In fact, every Dolphins coach since post-Marino is.
Maybe Ryan Tannehill, at 24, changes that. He's the best hope the Dolphins get on a level playing field with the Patriots. The clock starts working in the Dolphins with Brady and Tannehill, if that's the case.
For now, Brady is the primary reason this rivalry is on fumes. It's become a twice-a-year event back history, a few rude chants and the Patriots' relentless march to the playoffs.
The singular moment in this series for the Dolphins came when Tony Sparano unleashed the Wildcat against the Patriots in 2008. Since then, the Patriots have won six of seven games by an average 15.3-point margin. Their offense has scored at least 27 points each of those wins.
Philbin knows all about the Patriots and the measuring stick they bring. The five years he was Green Bay's offensive coordinator, his Packers ranked second in the league in offense.
"I know who was first," he said. "It was the New England Patriots in those five years."
Nothing's changed. New England averages 37 points a game this year, more than seven points ahead of next-best Houston. The Dolphins rank 26th in the league at 19.2 points.
The Dolphins' thin secondary will be strained Sunday. The Dolphins need points, Philbin knows, because the Patriots will get points. Brady will. He always has, especially against the Dolphins.
Once, Dolphins fans showed up Sunday to watch the main event of Marino. But for the last decade, Brady is the event. The challenge again is slowing down the biggest Dolphins killer of them all.
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