Is it all downhill from here?
Asked the above question, most fans of Tom Brady wouldn’t hesitate to say, “no, not yet.” Is that realistic, or is that what a fan does? Consider this, not including this latest Saints game, Brady’s completion percentage so far in 2022 is at its lowest since 2013. Beyond 2013 he has had only one additional year with a rate below what he has through 12 games in 2022. (through 12 this season 60.66, 2013 – 60.5, 2003 – 60.3) Stats don’t always make the man, meaning they can sometimes be deceiving. I’m not convinced that this is one of those times. I’m not saying the guy is washed up and I’m not saying it is time to hand father time the cleats; however, what I am exactly saying is that Brady has missed a lot of connections this season, most of them of the longer variety. Many of the missed connections have been somewhat subtle. Receptions may be that the intended receiver could have made but was off just enough to make the reception more difficult — to a lesser degree, but still must be counted. There were some that he missed pretty badly. He’s been fortunate to have thrown only 2 interceptions through 12 games. (currently, in the Saints game, he has thrown one interception directly to the defender)
It goes deeper than just the completion percentage.
Tom Brady has had that special aura around him for 22 seasons. That special “It” factor that only a handful of players have ever had. Elway had it. Joe Montana had it. Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Dan Marino all had “It”. That ability to almost single-handedly bring their teams back and snatch victory from their opponents when trailing late in games. You never felt like you were out of it when those guys above were under center. Tom Brady and the Bucs reality this season is nobody is worse at third and long than they are. It’s pretty hard to make a big comeback when you are forced into so many three and outs. We keep waiting for the Bucs to finally get things on track and magically play much better than we have seen. That is basically what they did in their 2020 Super Bowl run. After every loss and disappointment, that hope fades away a little more. I just don’t get that feeling that Brady is going to bail the Bucs out anymore, even in close games. At this moment, the Bucs are only down 10-3 to the Saints, just a one-possession game. While my heart is all for the possibility of Brady and the Bucs rising to the occasion. My mind is laughing at me, taunting me. It’s telling me they have been out of this game since just after their first drive, and it ain’t happening.
The shine is gone.
The shininess may have finally worn off of Mr. Brady. That edge that he has maintained over countless seasons and opponents has dulled to some degree. We may not know just how much shininess and edge he has lost until he goes to another team that is Super Bowl-ready and then can judge his performance with that team. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t all Tom Brady’s fault. The offensive line has been just that, offensive. The defense is very inconsistent, etc., etc. Yet, I cannot forget how much credit for our last Super Bowl victory that Brady received. In my book, he should also get much of the credit when we have the worst third-down percentage in the league and own a losing record. Tampa was a team expected to make some waves in the playoffs. At this point, it’s not waves but desperate splashes as we begin to sink to the bottom of the pool. At this moment, Brady and the Bucs’ shine is gone. Let’s hope for the impossible. In closing, let me say that Brady may still have something in the tank. All I’m saying is that there has been a decline this season, and it begs the question. I don’t believe in being very good one moment and trash the next; there is a process in between. I’m just dangling the question, has that process begun? Go Bucs!!