FOX’s Erin Andrews asked Brady about the decision to keep playing “with the game kind of in hand” despite the potential risk of injury, saying fans were “worried.”
“They were. I understand that,” Brady said with a smile after a 31-15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, January 16. “They’ve been great all year. It’s nice having them back. Great turnout today, and we’re going to need it next week, too.”
A third or fourth sack couldn’t move Bucs head coach Bruce Arians to pull Brady. Then, it became impossible to pull the 44-year-old quarterback when the Eagles put up 15 fourth-quarter points.
Brady then finished off the Eagles with a 9-play, 30-yard drive that ate up 3:34 of time. Before all of that, fans and media pundits alike ranted on Twitter about Brady staying in the game.
Independent NFL reporter Dov Kleiman attributed it to motivation on Brady’s part before the Eagles made it a two-score game.
“Tom Brady wins a playoff game by 30 on the same week (Bill) Belichick loses a playoff game by 30… think he wasn’t a little bit motivated for this one,” Kleiman tweeted. “He’s still in the game up 31-7 with less than 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter for no apparent reason.”
Earlier, one fan tweeted a thought that likely encapsulated many other fans’ musings.
“It’s 31-0. Why is Tom Brady still in the game getting sacked in the fourth quarter?” he wrote.
“Tom Brady still being in this game and taking sacks is indefensible,” another fan tweeted.
Brady the Surgeon
Before Brady’s lengthy stay on the field caused fears of injury and needing a surgeon, the Bucs quarterback surgically dissected the Eagles defense with 2 touchdowns and more than 200 yards passing through almost three quarters.
“Once Tom figures you out, you’re in trouble,” Arians said during the postgame press conference. “The wind didn’t affect him at all. He was extremely accurate (and) on the right guys.”
“That was a dime he threw to Mike for that long touchdown,” Arians added.
Brady connected with Evans on a 36-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 31-0.
Brady released the ball quicker than anyone in the NFL this season on Sunday according to Next Gen Stats. He clocked an average release time of 2.17 seconds.
Brady hit his only deep shot of more than 20 yards to Evans, and the veteran quarterback went 6-8 on passes for 10 or more yards. Brady finished with 271 yards on 29-37 passing and a 115.2 quarterback rating.
“He’s a surgeon,” Arians said.
Brady’s Protection Getting Dinged
Brady stayed upright most of the day except for taking four sacks, but the Bucs offensive line didn’t stay as healthy.
Tackle Tristan Wirfs injured his ankle and attempted to return to the game. He didn’t last long, and the Bucs listed him as out for the game.
Arians said training staff is “working on that ankle non-stop” after the game.
Center Ryan Jensen got hurt during the Bucs’ second drive of the game but returned to action.