TAMPA — A day after his team’s loss to Washington last weekend, Tom Brady spoke on his podcast of the soaring expectations that have accompanied his success, and how wins these days elicit more relief than joy.
Stands to reason, then, the seven-time world champ occasionally would like to remind humanity that he’s — well — human.
Or would he?
“I prefer to just win and erase that from peoples’ minds,” he said Saturday after practice.
Bottom line, the 44-year-old Bucs quarterback simply doesn’t wear mere mortality well, nor has he had to for a significant stretch in his career. Not since 2002 — Brady’s first full season as a starter — has he lost more than two games in a row. That year featured a four-game skid beginning with a Sept. 29 loss at San Diego and ending with a Nov. 3 triumph at Buffalo.
That’s 41 days between victories.
Saturday marked his 27th day since the Bucs’ last win, the 38-3 home romp of the Bears.
“It feels like most teams when you don’t win,” said Brady, who tries to avoid his first three-game skid in 19 years when the Bucs host the Giants on Monday night. “It’s just not nearly as fun, putting all the work in, and us trying to really grind to get it right, and we’re not doing what it takes on the field in order to win.”
Clearly, the mini-skid has been an ensemble effort, at times devoid of discipline (11 penalties in a 36-27 loss at New Orleans), passion (per Bruce Arians) and third-down defense (Washington was 11-of-19 on third down in its 29-19 win).
Count Brady as complicit. His four interceptions the last two games are one more than his total in the first seven contests. When he was leveled by Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen upon releasing a pass on the game’s third play, he spent nearly the rest of the day spurning downfield shots for check-down throws.
His average yards gained per pass attempt (5.0) were his lowest of the season, according to Pro Football Reference.
“They did a good job,” said Brady, who can end this current slide against the same franchise that snapped his most glorious win streak (in Super Bowl 43, when the Giants stunned the undefeated Patriots).
“There’s definitely some throws that I wish I could’ve held on to the ball longer to throw more intermediate passes, I would say. But I’ve got to do a good job of getting the ball to the guys who are open and just putting ourselves in a position to find the open guy and make a good throw. So I certainly can do a better job of that than I did last week.”
On Friday, Brady was given a veteran’s day off — his first of the season — by Arians. Yet he was out there, and as practice concluded, was seen presiding over a brief offensive walk-through.
Call it a snapshot of urgency, a guy taking every measure to fumigate the smog in his rarefied air.
“When you’re a good team there’s no big-time joy of winning,” Arians said. “You just (say), ‘Okay, let’s get the next one.’ And when you lose, it’s double. Any team that I’ve been on that has high expectations, that’s pretty much the case.”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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