Tom Brady has played the Saints four times in the regular season as a member of the Buccaneers. He has yet to win.
So why has that happened?
“That’s probably the thing that jumps out the most, turnovers,” Brady told reporters on Thursday. “They’re a very physical team, I think they beat us up, physically. It’s just a tough, hard-nosed team. They’re well-coached, they’ve got a lot of good players. They’ve kind of had a winning organization for a long time. They know how to get the job done. They’ve got a lot of great core players on both sides of the ball that have been there a long time. It’s a tough environment to play but you’ve got to go play . . . you play good teams on the road, you’ve got to go play well. The last couple times we’ve played them, we haven’t done a great job of that.”
It sounds almost as if Brady would have liked to play for the Saints. As reports at the time indicated, Brady may have landed in New Orleans in 2020, if Drew Brees hadn’t returned. (Apparently, the Saints almost went after Brady even with Brees coming back.)
So how can the Bucs do in the regular season what they did the one time they faced the Saints in the postseason.
“I think it’s just understanding why we’re losing those games,” Brady said. “There are reasons why in each game. You can look at them and look at why we won and why we lost, the one time we beat them. It’s got to be good football — offense, defense and special teams. They’re too good of a team to think that you can win one phase and win the game. It’s a challenge because they’re well-coached, they’re put in good position to do well, they have a lot of good players, a lot of guys who have been together, played together for a long time. They don’t make a lot of mistakes, they make you earn everything. Every third down’s important, every kicking situation’s important, every third down in the low red area is important, turnovers are important. It’s a lot of things that lead to winning and losing and obviously we haven’t done a good job of that in the regular season. We’re going to have to play a lot better if we expect to win.”
The regular-season games haven’t even been close. The narrowest margin was seven. On a Sunday night in Tampa in 2020, the Saints blew the Bucs off the field, 38-3.
For whatever reason, the Saints have had Tampa’s number. The Bucs get their latest chance to reverse that reality on Sunday.