When Tom Brady announced the earth shattering news that he was moving on from the Patriots to the Bucs, he never would have imagined that 8 months later he would find in this position. Even Bruce Aryans wants a little more grit.
The winningest NFL quarterback of all time, Tom Brady had never experienced a 5 touchdown defeat in his entire 25 year professional and college football career – all 312 games of it. And yet on Monday November 9th, he suddenly found himself feeling completely impotent as Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints delivered a crushing 35 point blowout that will be remembered for years to come.
Although the Bucs came into the match as the favorites, with most sportsbooks favoring them with a line of -220 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were crushed 38-3 by the Saints with a performance by Brady he surely wishes he could forget.
Finishing 22 of 38 for 209 yards with no touchdowns and 3 interceptions, Brady’s dismal 40.3 passer rating – the lowest he’s had since 2006, and 3rd lowest of his career – tells the story of a night where things simply did not go his way.
To put things in perspective, the last time Brady had thrown 3 or more interceptions in a single game was all the way back in 2011’s Week 3 game vs The Bills. Brady has thrown a total of 7 interceptions this season, 5 of which have come against the Saints – the first divisional opponent to sweep Tom Brady in his 19 seasons as a NFL starting quarterback.
During their two losses against the Saints this season, Brady has only managed two touchdowns and a 60.8% pass completion, versus his 66.5% and 18 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions against other opponents . He also suffered the same amount of sacks in both games as he has against all other teams he’s faced this season: 7.
While this may be Tom Brady’s first season in the Bucs, it certainly seems as though Saints have cemented themselves as his main NFC nemesis.
No Magic Solutions
After such an unexpected blowout, stunned reactions from the entire football world poured in shortly.
“It was shocking,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was the first to react. “To watch us practice the way we practiced all week and the confidence we had coming in — we have to go back and look in the mirror as coaches, players, everybody, from yesterday to today. Another [game] where we go three-and-out and give up a touchdown [to begin the game]. Second half, I thought we got the turnover and we don’t score a touchdown. I thought that kind of was the end of it right then and there. Give New Orleans credit — they kicked our ass in every phase.”
While Arians held off on directly calling Brady’s performance a poor one, several of his comments alluded that the veteran quarterback shouldered part of the blame, calling the interception where Brady sought out Brown “just a poor throw” and having plenty to say about the throw to Godwin.
“The one to Chris [Godwin] — Chris read the route properly, [but] Tom thought he was going deep,” Arians said. “He stopped [and] those things can happen sometimes when you’re doing it on the run”.
Meanwhile, from the Saints camp, Drew Brees was equally surprised by the result – though he showed nothing but respect for his longtime rival.
“He had all his weapons on field too, so I thought it would be one of those games. We have been playing against each other for 22 years now so there is a lot of respect there.”
Brees then moved on to commend his own team rather than criticize his rivals, “I can’t say enough about our pass rush and our front four. Tonight was a great night. It was pretty special, exceptional.”
“We can’t waste a win. We wanted to spread the ball around,” Brees offered. “The offense was able to possess the ball, run the ball well and throw the ball well.”
Meanwhile, Brady himself had plenty to say about his own performance and that of his teammates.
“I certainly have to play a lot better,” Brady said. “Turning the ball over against good teams never helps. We just didn’t play the way we were capable of playing. Everyone’s got to do a lot better, and it starts with me. Get back to work tomorrow morning and try to make it a better week.”
Brady, who for the first time in his career found his team trailing by 30 or more points at halftime, found himself without answers for many of the reporter’s questions, and instead stressed the need for hard work over anything else.
“There’s no magic play, there’s no magic anything. You just go out there and do your job at a much higher level.”
“We’ve just got to execute better. We’ve got to figure it out. Those are all good questions. I wish I had the precise answer for you because we’d be doing it.
“We need to perform better at every time,” Brady added. “One o’clock, four o’clock, eight o’clock, Monday night, Sunday night. Doesn’t matter. They’re going to schedule the games and we’re going to go out there and play.”
“I don’t think it’s anything magical that’s happening. As players we got to prepare harder, we got to execute better, there’s no excuses for what it is. It’s a poor performance by a team that’s got a lot ahead of it.
“Hopefully we can learn from it and come back to work this week with a lot more urgency, execute a lot better and try to go out and beat a good football team” Brady concluded.