Tom Brady hasn’t lost three games in a row since 2002. He’ll try to avoid matching that fate on Monday night against the Giants.
“I think we have to change it and I think winning football is about doing the right thing as often as possible,” Brady told reporters on Saturday. “Everyone being on the same page, great communication and just giving the best effort as possible on every play. Things aren’t always going to be perfect out there, but you have to have as few as mistakes as possible. I think there’s a real urgency for us to have it right. We played this opponent last year and they gave us a big challenge. I think they’re very talented offensively. They have a lot of good talent on their D-line especially. It’s going to be a big challenge for us, and we have to get back to playing the way we’re capable of playing.”
With the bye sandwiched between two losses, it’s been four weeks since the Buccaneers last won a game, a 38-3 Week Seven blowout of the Bears. How does it feel to go so long without winning?
“It feels like most teams when you don’t win,” Brady said. “It’s not nearly as fun putting all the work in and us trying to grind and get it right. We’re not doing what it takes on the field in order to win. In order to do it right, you put in a lot of time and energy and detail into what we’re doing. It will feel a lot better when we win, but we have to go earn it and we’re going against a team that challenges you to do it. They’re not going to make it easy. I think I have a decent understanding of what I think they’re going to try to do. But then again, they’ve done a good job at times this year by really forcing the quarterback to make tough decisions. This defense does a good job. They do a good job in disguise. They do a good job changing their looks. Like I said, they get to the quarterback. They have a good rush, so they have some good cover guys — some experienced players. It’s a very challenging defense that we’re going to face.”
At a time when the hero worship and myth-making when it comes to Brady has reached unprecedented levels, especially with the release of his self-produced documentary (a/k/a vanity project), it’s a splash of cold water in the 44-year-old’s face to go so long between victories.
“I like to think of myself as always trying to be on the winning side,” Brady said. “We just haven’t done it. I actually have great teammates and great group of coaches and we’re going to work our butt off to get it right. I think there are definitely things that we’ve done a good job of, but it’s identifying those things and then working at them. I think the expectations are high for a reason because we have a lot of talented players, and we know that we can play at a high level. We just have to go do it.”
The next chance to do it comes in roughly 48 hours. While the Buccaneers are still regarded as one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl from the NFC, their slide from 6-1 to 6-3 serves as a reminder that, even with the latest Super Bowl under their belts and with all starters from last season back again, the 31 other teams in the NFL will have something to say about how this season turns out.