Bucs miss the feeling of victory

by Gary Shelton on November 20, 2021

in general

Brady driven by victory./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

The more. you win, the more it hurts when you do not.

Such is the paradox of being Tom Brady, football's most accomplished quarterback. He is a man who has lived in the headlines, and he wants to remain there. He is a star who has dealt in championship trophies, and so little else matters as much.

And he is a man who hasn't won in 27 days.

It is a drug, winning. It is self-validation. It is the goal that lies beyond money and celebrity and the trappings of stardom. Nothing else feels quite right to a man used to winning.

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"It's been that way for a long time," Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said Friday. "When you're a good team there's no big-time joy of winning. You just [say], 'Okay, let's get the next one.' And when you lose, it's double. Any team that I've been on that has high expectations, that's pretty much the case."

Now comes a weak Giants team, yet one that has some weapons and one that has traditionally played close games against the Bucs. Brady's biggest losses of his career have come against the Giants. And now, with the Bucs sputtering, who knows how sharp they will be on Monday night?

If there is anyone who understands how Brady feels, it is longtime teammate Rob Gronkowski, who is fighting to get back onto the field. It is possible he plays against the Giants.

“That’s all I want to do," Gronkowski said. "I just want to be out there. I want to help out the guys. I want to be out there and make some plays like I was at the beginning of the year, have some first downs, have some touchdowns. Just help out the offense throughout the game – that’s my goal. We’re taking it one step at a time. I just had two good practices under my belt and that’s a big step right there. That’s the first crucial step is having some practices under my belt and making sure I feel good after them. It’s going well and the arrow is pointing up toward playing. Hopefully, it does go right and I’m out there Monday night.”

There are a few Bucs players who should be hungry. Mike Evans had just two catches against Washington. Shaq Barrett didn't have a tackle. Ronald Jones didn't have a carry. The offensive line blocked poorly. The defense gave up a 19-play drive at the end.

But it's hard to believe a team as talented as the Bucs would lose two in a row to the bottom dwellers of the NFC West. The team might struggle, but they'll win in the fourth quarter.

Won't they?

Prediction: Tampa Bay 27, New York 21.

In other NFL games:

Pittsburgh 23, L.A. Chargers 21.

Seattle 20, Arizona 16.

Kansas City 30, Dallas 24.

And in the college games:

Clemson 31, Wake Forest 17.

Boston College 27, FSU 23.

Florida 38, Missouri 34.

Miami 23,Virgina Tech 20.

USF 27, Tulane 26.

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