OBF: Brady, Pats both suffering without each other

Gisele was wrong.
Tom Brady can “(expletive) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.”
Monday night, for the first time in collective memory, Brady threw an incomplete pass, caught a pass and completed a pass —all off the same snap.
A Brady throw in the third quarter bounced off the bicep of Rams lineman Morgan Fox and deflected back to Brady’s hands. The QB then threw the ball to Mike Evans for an 8-yard net gain. It stands forever because the Rams declined the illegal-forward pass penalty.
There is truly nothing Brady cannot do — except win the NFC South and shake Jared Goff’s hand.
Brady was blasted post-game for not exchanging pleasantries with the LA Rams’ victorious QB after he and the Buccaneers lost 27-24 Monday night.
News flash: Brady is a poor sport when he loses. It’s not pretty. Nor does it exude class. When you win six Super Bowls, you pout in defeat.
Brady and the 2020 Bucs are the newest “Not Ready for Prime Time Players.” That moniker, for those under 50, was first bestowed upon the rookie cast of “Saturday Night Live” back in 1975. Chevy Chase, Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi have been replaced by Brady, Bruce Arians and Gronk. The 2020 “Not ready for Prime Time Players” in Tampa Bay are 1-3 in evening tilts this season.
But the challenges currently facing Brady and his Bucs go well beyond the zillion-watt LED lights necessary for a nighttime high-def network football telecast.
For one, the Bucs lacks chemistry. We’re talking basic elements on the periodic table of football elements. The QB doesn’t know where his receivers are going. The receivers don’t know where the ball is going. And when it gets there, it’s as often dropped than caught. The offensive line can’t block. The defensive line can’t pressure the quarterback.
Monday night, it appeared defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul had the best hands of anyone in a Tampa Bay uniform. That’s exceptional given his less-than-full complement of fingers.
Brady has plenty of “weapons,” but he’s sorely lacking in ammo and target practice.
Arians has proven himself to be the anti-Belichick. The Skull Cap routinely throws players under the post-game Zoom bus. His teams make mistakes we haven’t seen in decades in Foxboro. Example: At the end of the first half Monday, Robert Woods scampered for 35 yards after catching a pass but was tackled on the 20-yard-line with just enough time left for Goff to spike the ball with one second remaining. The kicker Arians waived before the season — Matt Gay — kicked a field goal to give the Rams the lead to end the first half before booting the game-winning FG late in the fourth quarter.
There is much to criticize in the Hoodie’s performance of late, but he never publicly shifted blame to his players after a loss. “We were outplayed and outcoached in all three phases of the game,” is as much a part of New England lore as Paul Revere’s ride or the dialogue from “Good Will Hunting.”
The Bucs are 7-4 and sixth in the seven-team NFC playoff race. The chances of Brady nabbing an 18th divisional championship hat in January are about the same as Donald Trump’s legal team running the table in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania. The Bucs are three games back of the Saints (including the tiebreaker) with five games to play in the NFC South. Brady’s never reached the playoffs via the wild card. If he and Bucs hope to play at home in the Super Bowl come Feb. 3, they will very likely have to win three playoff games on the road.
Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs visit Tompa Bay Sunday. That game kicks at 4:25, so Brady has a shot.
Yes, I will be there Sunday in my St. Fauci-approved haz-mat suit, watching the last two Super Bowl-winning QBs sling it. Before COVID-19, social distancing was never much of an issue at Bucs’ games. This time, seating is capped at 20%, or about 15,000.
Monday, Brady was in position to deliver his 48th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter/overtime. The Bucs had the ball and one timeout with 2:36 to play. Four plays later, Brady was intercepted for the second time by Jordan Fuller. Brady was 1-for-9 on attempts over 15 yards. Brady has eight picks in 11 games in 2020, the same number he threw in 16 games last season.
Score one for Father Time.
They say the eyes always go first. In the case of Brady, it might be nerves or more-porous-than-expected offensive line.
“Bad read. Bad throw, decision,” Brady said of his ill-fated pass to Cameron Brate. “That’s a good word — disappointed. Nothing’s been great to this point.”
The most glaring lesson since the Brady-Belichick-Robert Kraft triumvirate dissolved is this: “One plus one plus one equals not three but six.” The complete entity that was the “Dynasty” — Jeff Benedict’s book is a must-read — was immensely greater than what Belichick or Brady or even Kraft could have achieved without the other two over the past 20 years.
There is no Belichickian Reign of Darkness without Brady. There is no GOAT without Belichick. There is no Kraft Franchise Gold Standard without the sustained genius of Belichick or brilliance of TB12. All it took was the removal of one piece for the other two to plummet back to worldly mortality. They were each other’s kryptonite.
The Patriots have exited 2020 in terms of competitive relevance. The Bucs now will fight just for the right to play beyond the first week of January. You know you will watch. It’s all New England football fans have left this year, whether they’re rooting for Brady or not.
Bill Speros (@RealOBF) can be reached at bsperos1@Gmail.com

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