Not too terrific: So far he's been Common Tom

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

They call him Tom Terrific.

He's playing more like Average Joe.

A third of the way into the season, as much as it might be sacrilege to point it out, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been mediocre.

Statistically speaking, Brady is below average in many categories that don't depend on sheer volume.

Brady leads the NFL in pass attempts, which obviously increases associated stats. He's tied for second in completions and fourth in yards.

Yet when it comes to averages and percentages, Average Joe is outperforming him.

Despite hopeful expectations and a thrilling performance to beat the Buffalo Bills on opening night, Brady hasn't approached his record-setting 2007 form.

His top targets from that season, Randy Moss and Wes Welker, are back. The Joey Galloway signing has failed, but Brady has an array of other tools at his disposal at tight end and in the backfield.

Compared to the average NFL quarterback, Brady has the same completion percentage, a slightly lower yards-per-attempt average and slightly fewer touchdowns. Brady's yardage gives him a better passer rating.

"We've all got to play better," Brady said Wednesday at his weekly news conference. "I think, as a whole, we've done it in spurts at times and at other times we haven't. When you play like that, there’s a reason why you end up at 3-2 at this time, and we’re trying to make these improvements."

In situational data compiled by ESPN's Stats & Information, Brady also is treading water.

Based on passer rating, he ranks eighth on third down, 17th in the fourth quarter (even with that dazzling finish against the Bills), 15th in the red zone, 14th out of the shotgun, 17th on passes thrown 10 yards or shorter, 22nd on passes thrown between 11 and 20 yards and 28th on passes thrown beyond 21 yards or deeper.

The Patriots' longest pass play has been 36 yards. Brady is tied with Jason Campbell for 21st in the NFL with 11 pass plays of 20 yards or longer.

In the second half of New England's two losses, Brady has completed 38.2 percent of his passes for an average of 64.5 yards, which comes to 3.8 yards per attempt. He's thrown zero touchdowns or interceptions.

Brady still seems to be coping with the aftereffects of knee surgery, and his production has suffered. He has wasted numerous big-play opportunities. He's misfiring downfield with Moss and perhaps relies on Welker too much.

"He doesn't move his feet, set, re-plant and throw nearly as well or as comfortably as he did pre-injury," Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson said. "He seems to be seeing the rush rather than feeling it. I also get the feeling that Brady isn't real comfortable with huge men falling all around his lower body in the pocket.

"He reminds me of Peyton Manning a year ago, and he went on to win the league MVP."

For now, Brady is on pace to throw 19.2 touchdown passes, his fewest since 2001, when he started 14 games after taking over for Drew Bledsoe.

"In some ways we've done some very positive things over the five weeks," Brady said. "In a lot of ways, it's been inconsistent, which reflects in the amount of points that we're scoring.

"If we could be more consistent, we'd be scoring more points. We'd be winning more games, and everyone would be feeling a lot better around here. But because that hasn't happened, we're still searching."