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It’s not often the GOAT gets criticized, but when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 3-5, Bruce Arians was not afraid to speak up.
The Bucs offense had trouble putting the ball in the end zone the first half of the season, and because Tom Brady is Tom Brady, it’s hard to place blame on him.
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Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts after a play during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams at Raymond James Stadium on November 6, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Instead, much of the blame went toward offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich — but Arians, now a senior football consultant for the Bucs, said that was unwarranted and wasn’t afraid to place blame on Brady, a usually unlikely source.
“I don’t think it was fair to Byron,” Arians said, via Joe Bucs Fan. “Nobody is going to say that Brady was playing bad, but he was playing bad.
“We also had growing pains on a young offensive front, and we weren’t running well. There comes a time as a play-caller when you’re losing yards running the ball, and you say, ‘Forget this, I’m putting the ball in Tom’s hands.’”
Tom Brady was not happy with his first half performance in his game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday. (Chris Graythen)
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Tampa Bay’s 3-5 start included losses to the now 4-6 Green Bay Packers, 3-6 Pittsburgh Steelers, and 2-7 Carolina Panthers. They since have beaten the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams and NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks.
Those two victories, Arians says, can be the catalyst for something special in Florida.
“I’m really optimistic about the rest of the season,” he said. “First off, we’re getting healthy. Tom smiled at practice last week for the first time this season. He’s going to be fine. I love the swagger we played with Sunday, especially defensively. It’s been missing.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady warms up before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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Brady completed 22 of his 29 passes for 258 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick — his first interception in 399 pass attempts — on Sunday in Munich against Seattle.
After their bye week this Sunday, they will face the Browns in Cleveland.