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As Bucs season looms, milestones in view for Tom Brady and Co.

The franchise itself also could reach some historic standards in 2022.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) and receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrate after connecting for a 36-yard touchdown in the third quarter of last season's 31-15 triumph against the Eagles in an NFC wild-card game.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) and receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrate after connecting for a 36-yard touchdown in the third quarter of last season's 31-15 triumph against the Eagles in an NFC wild-card game. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jul. 20

TAMPA — Contrary to sprawling perception, Tom Brady doesn’t have the monopoly on milestones around here.

Oh sure, the team’s resident freak of nature could further embed himself in franchise lore this fall, but a number of other Bucs also enter 2022 on the cusp of statistical immortality — to one degree or another.

Here are the most significant marks, milestones or thresholds within reach this season.

Mike Evans

Bucs receiver Mike Evans enters his ninth season only 699 receiving yards shy of 10,000.
Bucs receiver Mike Evans enters his ninth season only 699 receiving yards shy of 10,000. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]

• The ninth-year receiver enters the season 699 regular-season receiving yards shy of 10,000. To date, only 50 NFL players are in the 10,000-yard fraternity.

• Evans also enters 2022 with 75 career receiving touchdowns in the regular season. Ten more would move him into the career top 20 (four retired players are tied at No. 20 with 84).

Lavonte David

Bucs inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) carries the ball after recovering a Rams fumble during last season's division playoff game.
Bucs inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) carries the ball after recovering a Rams fumble during last season's division playoff game. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

• If he remains healthy (a notable “if” considering he spent the offseason rehabbing a Lisfranc injury), David will move into the franchise’s all-time top five for games played. He enters the season with 149, 15 shy of fifth-place John Lynch.

Cameron Brate

Bucs veteran Cameron Brate and his newly minted mustache are one touchdown catch shy of the franchise's all-time record for tight ends (34) held by Jimmie Giles.
Bucs veteran Cameron Brate and his newly minted mustache are one touchdown catch shy of the franchise's all-time record for tight ends (34) held by Jimmie Giles. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

• The most improbable record-chaser on this list. A former undrafted Ivy Leaguer now entering his ninth season in Tampa Bay, Brate is one touchdown catch shy of the franchise career record for tight ends held by Jimmie Giles (34).

Tom Brady

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady needs one more fourth-quarter comeback to tie the NFL career record (43) held by Peyton Manning.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady needs one more fourth-quarter comeback to tie the NFL career record (43) held by Peyton Manning. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

• Didn’t think we’d forget the GOAT, did you? Brady is one fourth-quarter comeback shy of tying Peyton Manning’s NFL career regular-season record (43). A fourth-quarter comeback, as defined by Pro Football Reference, is any offensive scoring drive in the fourth quarter, with the player’s team trailing by one score. Only games ending in a win or tie are included.

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• Brady also is one game-winning drive shy of tying Manning’s career regular season record (54). A game-winning drive must be an offensive scoring drive in the fourth quarter or overtime that puts the winning team ahead for good (per Pro Football Reference).

• Brady enters just his third season in Tampa Bay only 38 regular-season touchdown passes shy of Jameis Winston’s franchise record (121). Brady had 40 in 2020 and 43 last season.

• With 886 completions as a Buc, Brady needs only 155 to take sole possession of fifth place in franchise history, and 259 to move into sole possession of second place.

Rob Gronkowski

Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) walks from the field, possibly for the last time, after his team's 30-27 loss to the Rams in a division playoff game on Jan. 23. He announced his NFL retirement five months later.
Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) walks from the field, possibly for the last time, after his team's 30-27 loss to the Rams in a division playoff game on Jan. 23. He announced his NFL retirement five months later. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

We know he’s finished with football (or so he insists), but just play along and presume Gronk returns for the season’s final two months. If that occurs, he’ll need eight touchdown catches for 100 (regular season) in his career. Only 10 players in NFL history have reached 100.

Team

Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23) celebrates with a few peers following his second-quarter interception in the 2020 NFC title game against the Packers.
Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23) celebrates with a few peers following his second-quarter interception in the 2020 NFC title game against the Packers. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

• Should the Bucs win their second Super Bowl in three seasons, that Lombardi Trophy will be accompanied by some ancillary history. The franchise is nine regular-season wins shy of 300, with an all-time record of 291-433-1.

• The team also will be trying to win at least one playoff game in three consecutive seasons for the first time. Additionally, it’s pursuing its third consecutive regular season of double-digit wins, also unprecedented.

• • •

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