Bloodied and battered by the Los Angeles Rams, the 44-year-old seven-time Super Bowl champion rallied the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back from a 27-3 deficit, only to see the defense surrender a big play in the final minute to set up Matt Gay’s winning 30-yard field goal.
The Rams‘ 30-27 victory Sunday sent Los Angeles home to host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game next week. They ended Tampa Bay’s bid to become the NFL’s first repeat champions since Brady led New England to consecutive titles following the 2003-04 seasons.
“Truthfully, guys, I’m thinking about this game. I’m not thinking about past five minutes from now,” Brady said.
“I haven’t put a lot of thought into it, taking it day by day,” Brady said.
Asked last month when he’ll know it’s time to retire, Brady said:
“That’s a good question. I don’t know. I think I’ll have to just, after every year, think about what the situation looks like for me, personally and professionally. Obviously, I love playing; I don’t think my love will go away. I think I’ll be able to do it, it’s just the other things are kind of happening in my life, in regard to family situations. My kids are not getting younger, and I want to make sure that they get what they need, too.”
“He can do it as long as he wants, because his intangibles really are very much off the charts,” Yee said for an upcoming episode of the AP Pro Football Podcast. “I’ve been around professional athletes since 1974 and I’ve seen a lot of different types of athletes. And I think all the very best will tell you the intangible part is critical. There are a lot of great, physical specimens, but to keep trying to do something for a long period of time and to do it well, you have to have other intangibles. … you have to want to get up every morning to be great.
“And so he still possesses all of that and more. And so I don’t. … It’s going to be his decision, and I would never, ever speak on his behalf on this issue. But he clearly is still performing very well.”
“He got in my face in an aggressive manner and used abusive language,” referee Shawn Hochuli told a pool reporter about flagging Brady. “As for the hit, we did not think that it rose to the level of roughing the passer.”
But defensive breakdowns allowed Matthew Stafford to lead the Rams in position to win it.
Brady finished 30 of 54 for 329 yards and one TD, but the offense got going far too late.
Brady overcame losing two of his top three receivers, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, and top two running backs, Fournette and Ronald Jones, down the stretch and didn’t need them last week against Philadelphia. But losing All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs last week was a huge problem Sunday. Though Fournette returned this week, the Bucs had no answer for Aaron Donald, Von Miller and L.A.’s ferocious rushers without Wirfs.
After leading the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl title in his first season in Tampa after 20 years with New England, Brady led the NFL in yards passing (5,316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and attempts (719) while guiding the Bucs to their first NFC South title since 2007.
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