Welcome to my weekly post-game column, where I’ll take a look at the moment(s) the game turned either in favor or against the Buccaneers. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at all the reasons the Bucs won or lost, but instead the key moment or two where things went north or south for the team.
In a game where the Bucs needed Tom Brady to rise above coaching and schematic woes, he not only couldn’t do it, but he fell flat on his face. Brady has been a Godsend for this 7-4 Bucs team, which was 4-7 at this time last year, and this poor performance won’t change that, but during the second half of Monday night’s 27-24 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Rams, Brady was brutally bad.
The Game-Changer moment didn’t occur until late in the game however, as a few Rams mistakes and some stellar late play from a Bucs defense that was reeling most of the game, allowed Brady and an incompetent offense to stick around for a potential game-tying or game-winning drive with the fourth quarter winding down.
After completions of seven and 12 yards on the first two plays of Tampa Bay’s final drive, Brady threw incomplete from his own 38 to bring up second-and-10 with 1:57 remaining. Then, apparently fooled by the coverage, Brady overthrew tight end Cameron Brate on a seam route, lofting a poorly thrown ball perfectly into the waiting arms of Rams safety Jordan Fuller, who recorded his second interception of the night.
The Rams (+4) beat the Buccaneers outright on MNF, cashing as +175 underdogs. 💰
It was a befuddling mistake by Brady, who said after the game that he just misread the Rams defense on the play.
“Just a bad read,” Brady said. “Cam was running up a seam and at the last second I saw the safety coming over and just popped it over Cam’s head. Just a bad read, a bad throw, decision – everything. Can’t happen.”
Brady’s nine interceptions this season – five of which have come in prime time – have had a few bad throws mixed in, but many have been more of the miscommunication variety. I’m not sure that was the case tonight, especially on his overthrow of Brate. There is just no way that throw should be made at that point of the game. It’s not open at any point on the play. There are better options underneath, and there is plenty of time remaining.
Also, it’s Cameron Brate! On a vertical route!
On Monday night, the Bucs offense was an inconsistent mess against maybe the best defense in the NFL, and play-calling was a big part of the problem. But Brady had opportunities to win this game regardless, and he threw it away. We can praise him for being the Bucs’ MVP this season while still recognizing that his egregious turnover and overall poor game was arguably the biggest reason Tampa Bay lost a very winnable game on Monday night.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft