When Tom Brady missed four games in 2016 following the Deflategate scandal, takes on Brady being a system quarterback swirled.
CBS Boston’s Matt Dolloff addressed many of the takes in 2016 amid the New England Patriots’ 3-1 start with backup QBs Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Fast forward four years and Brady gets the system QB takes again as a 43-year-old starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady deflated the 2016 system QB takes, leading the Patriots to a couple more Super Bowl victories in 2017 and 2018. He’s on track to deflate any system QB label again this season, Sports Illustrated’s Robin Lundberg wrote. He threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns in Week 7 and became the NFL’s all-time TD passing leader. That’s his second time going over 300 yards and three TDs in a game this year.
Media outlets such as the Washington Post recently contrasted Brady’s latest Bucs game, a 45-20 rout over Las Vegas, with the Patriots (2-4) getting steamrolled 33-6 by the 49ers. Patriots starting Cam Newton got benched. Backups Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer haven’t looked much better with QB ratings below 60 this season. Brady’s former coach, Bill Belichick, has a team with rare lows in his New England tenure, Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer notes.
Brady announced his decision in March to leave the Patriots as a free agent after 20 years with the franchise. It ended a Patriots dynasty linking Brady and head coach Belichick together for 20 seasons with nine Super Bowl appearances and six championships.
Former teammate Rob Gronkowski joined Brady in Tampa, and fellow former teammate Antonio Brown will come, too. Pro-bowl caliber players such as Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy joined before the regular season.
New England let talent go during Brady’s final years, CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley noted. Brady turned in a relatively average season of 24 TD passes and eight interceptions last year, Hurley wrote, with non-Pro Bowl skill players around him. It led to a Wild Card game exit at home, capped by a pick-six.
Bucs Trending Up
Brady didn’t flip a switch in his first game as a Buccaneer. He threw two interceptions but threw for 239 yards and two TDs in a loss to the Saints.
Brady led Tampa to wins over the Panthers, Broncos and Chargers. He threw five TDs in a comeback win against the Chargers posted three TDs against the Broncos.
Consistency evaded Brady with a botched fourth-down at Chicago, but he’s looked like a QB in his prime the past two weeks. He led the Bucs offense in a 38-10 rout of the Packers Week 6 and lit up Las Vegas Week 7.
Pats Trending Down
Newton looked like a free agent steal for Patriots coach Bill Belichek before the season according to Sporting News’ Tadd Haislop.
The former MVP came a goal-line play short of a 3-0 start before the COVID bug stung the team. New England hasn’t won a game since it’s first reported COVID case Oct. 3.
COVID hasn’t excused teams from executing and winning, and Newton admits as such per CBS Sports’ Jeff Karr. The Tennessee Titans won after more than two weeks off due to COVID cases, beating AFC East front runner Buffalo.
Final Report Card
Who ultimately enjoys the most success after the split between Brady and Belicheck remains to be seen.
For this season, the Buccaneers need to build on their surging momentum to get past other NFC contenders. The Patriots need to rediscover the Patriot Way without the signal caller that made the offense go for two decades.
As Sports Illustrated’s Lundberg wrote, Brady “is looking like a system in and of himself.“