Bucs edge Patriots in Brady Bowl

by Gary Shelton on October 4, 2021

in general

Brady had his 41st career comeback./TIM WIRT

Monday, 4 a.m.

The Bucs won...barely. But as far as the debate, this settled nothing.

If you think that Tom Brady was the key to the New England dynasty, well, you probably still think so. After all, Brady won. He pulled off another fourth-quarter comeback in the rain. And at 3-1, Brady is a lot better bet than the 1-3 Belichick to make this year's playoffs.

If, on the other hand, you think that Belichick was the architect of the Patriots' run, well, you haven't changed your mind. After all, you can argue that Belichick did more with less, that without a running game and with a rookie quarterback, the Patriots came within a field goal bouncing off the left upright of pulling off the upset.

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Isn't that the way it goes with sports arguments? Does anyone ever change their minds? Or do the voices just get louder?

Bucs' coach Bruce Arians, for one, grew tired of hearing so much about Brady and Belichick.

"This wasn't for Tom," Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said. "The was for us. We ain't losing two in a row."

 "I think it’s very special for him," Arians said of Brady. "Obviously. he kept it inside all week. He’s probably letting it out right now. It was a big week for him, but it was a bigger week for the team."

Granted, the win was a big one for Brady. The game wasn't quite like any he has played.

"I was very frustrated with everyone saying this was  a quarterback and a coach. This is a team sport. The Bucs won this game. We beat the Patriots. We’re losing sight that this is a team game. Everybody wanted to make this all about Brady and Belichick. I don’t think Bill played a snap. He had 22 guys out there playing their asses off. We had 22 guys playing their asses off, but one of them happened to be named Brady."

Either way, the hype is finished for now, maybe forever. The truth of it is that Brady wasn't particularly sharp in the rain (he had his lowest rating of the season, a 70.8.. But he was good enough (22 of 43 for 269 yards) to win over rookie Mac Jones, who hit 31 of 40 passes for 275 yards.

Still, the Bucs need to raise their game as they did a year ago down the stretch. That will be harder -- the Bucs' injuries in the secondary got worse Sunday night. Antoine Winfield was being checked for a concussion during the game, and Carlton Davis left with a quad injury.

The Bucs did have their best running game of the year. Leonard Fournette rushed for 91 yards and caught passes for 47.

"It was the way they were playing," Arians said. "We knew we could run it. Running was the way we won the game. We stayed patient with it. We have a tendency to try to go get chunks — I’m the worst one at that. :

Rookie defensive end Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, playing for injured Jason Pierre-Paul, had two of the Bucs' four sacks. Shaq Barrett and William Gholston had the other two.

The Bucs play at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday (1 p.m.) against the Miami Dolphins.

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