2022, the year the NFL reminded its legacy quarterbacks that retirement is inevitable. We are approaching the halfway point in the season and suddenly the layup prediction that is the NFC South is looking like a complete hot mess. We are not far from the days when Matt Ryan and Drew Brees made the division reputable and competitive. Alas, we are in the final moments of the Tom Brady era in Tampa.
I am sorry for your loss Buccaneers, but your season is over!
Week seven was more than a gut punch for Brady and his subordinates. Sure, he’s having a tough go this year, but playing against a team who fired their coach, traded a starting wideout, and a franchise running back should pretty much be the cheat code of the season. How did Tampa choke so badly?
I will get to Tom in a moment. The Tampa defense should have been chomping at the bit to shred the Panthers. Instead, they mustered ONE sack and zero turnovers. P.J. Walker, also known as, “anyone but Sam Darnold,” took the Bucs to task by running a moderately effective and efficient air attack (16 completions on 22 attempts) but most importantly two touchdowns.
But, Carolina won this one through the ground game, and not through the air. The Panthers, with the next committee-up mentality, dropped 173 on the Bucs with D’Onta Foreman getting 118 on just ten carries! Chuba Hubbard, who I wish was a spokesperson for Hubba Bubba, plowed through Tampa for 63 yards and a score to boot. It was statistically a relatively even game but Carolina was able to cap off on their opportunities. Who is more likely to perform well? A team needing a rebound or a team that knows they have one more week to increase their trade value? Congrats to all the interim Carolina Panthers on their upset!
Back to Brady and his genius. If you watched the game or saw the highlights you know what happened with Mike Evans. Wide open for a deep bomb and walk-in touchdown, Mike Evans bobbles the ball and juggles it worse than a 90s sitcom pratfall. That gaffe was the third play of the game. Coaches lean on the cliche of having short-term memories but that botched score must have eaten at Brady and company for the rest of the game.
Not too many people are jumping at the opportunity to pity Brady’s second time being 3-4. I’d like to take a moment to apologize to Todd Bowles, who for whatever reason is cursed with rosters flopping when being a head coach. The AFC South has four teams, and one actual legit starting quarterback, and yet they sit tied at 3-4. I sure hope the Florida humidity doesn’t make that dumpster fire smell even worse.
Players all love the fact of no income tax in Florida but let’s admit, this has to be Brady’s most taxing year to date.