Only once this season did Tom Brady fail to throw a touchdown pass in a game. Only once did Tom Brady complete less than 60% of his passes in a game. And only once did Tom Brady throw three interceptions in a game this season. All of this happened on November 8th when the Bucs got rolled at home against New Orleans, 38-3. Brady was 22-38 for 209 yards and three picks.
That night, and days that followed, the media and fans moaned that Brady looked old. He couldn't throw the deep ball. He had issues with Bruce Arians. It went on and on and on. After being considered a Super Bowl contender, sitting at 6-2, the Bucs lost that game to New Orleans and lost three of four and some wondered if they could even make the playoffs.
The Bucs last loss was a 27-24 setback to Kansas City. Brady threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns but he was also picked off twice. Since then the Bucs have won five straight and Brady has thrown 14 touchdown passes with only one pick. The Bucs have averaged 36 points and 460 yards per game. Tampa Bay put up 507 yards against a good Washington defense.
Before we get to Brady's next challenge of Drew Brees and the Saints defense, let's look at Brady's body of work in 2020.
He started 16 games at the age of 43. In the last 12 seasons, Brady has started 16 games 11 times. This season he threw for 4,633 yards.(5th most in his career). He tossed 40 touchdowns, second most since he threw 50......14 years ago!!!! Stats don't always tell a story, but Brady has had one of his best seasons throwing in his entire career. He's 43 years old!
Now he faces Drew Brees, who turns 42 Friday. Combined, the two have thrown for almost 160,000 yards and 1,152 touchdown passes.
But Brees and the Saints have won five in a row over the Bucs, including the two victories this season. And in the two wins, Brees threw for a total of 382 yards. New Orleans defense has been the difference in games with Tampa Bay before Brady arrived and now with Brady as a Buc.
Brady chose Tampa Bay because he believed the Bucs were ready to win. They had better running backs and receivers than most other suitors of Brady and the Bucs were even willing to let him bring Gronk and Antonio Brown to town.
For Tampa Bay to win, they must play from the lead. They need a ground game as well and limit New Orleans' possessions. Make Drew Brees have to play from behind. The defense gets back linebacker Devin White and defensive tackle Steve McClendon. White's return is big. Brees threw six touchdowns and no picks and was sacked just twice in the two wins over Tampa Bay. He has to be pressured by a Bucs' defense that needs some turnovers.
But this still comes back to Brady. The greatest quarterback to play the game gets another chance to prove his greatness. Can you imagine the journey in the next three weeks?
Brady faces Brees this weekend. If the Bucs win, he may face Aaron Rodgers in the NFL Championship game and then maybe another shot at Mahomes in the Super Bowl, in Tampa!
Can you imagine if Brady wins two more games and takes the Bucs to the Super Bowl and become the first team to play the Super Bowl in their hometown?
And if Brady would win another title, could there be a better way to end his incredible journey?
Look, the Bucs are underdogs this week and if they lose there will be no shortage of critics who will say the season is a waste, which is ridiculous. Brady has made Tampa Bay relevant and he has posted one of his best seasons. He is signed to play in 2021 and gives no indication that he is ready to step aside whenever this season ends. But the greatest of all can do something at 43 that would be the fitting finish. Does Tom Brady have one last act of greatness?...
Final thought: There is an invincible "8" in the middle of the eight of diamonds
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