Tampa, Florida – Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady’s postseason begins on Saturday, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback makes his bid for a seventh ring far from the chilly embrace of his former team, the New England Patriots.
After throwing 40 touchdown passes — his most since 2007 — in a productive season, Brady and the Bucs will began what they hope is a long playoff run on Saturday, when they visit the Washington Football Team in the wild card round. Brady, 43, will use that as a starting point as he tries to prove that he’s still a threat in the postseason.
“It all comes down to one game,” Brady told reporters after the Bucs’ 44-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. “It’s one football game, who plays well, who executes when the pressure is on.”
Peyton Manning, Brady’s former rival, is the only starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl ring with multiple teams — one of the few achievements Brady has yet to reach in his 21 seasons in the league.
Brady seems to be on the right track, casting aside late-season concerns over his ability to get the ball down the field with 399 yards in his final game of the regular season.
When head coach Bruce Arians was asked to choose which player he was the most proud of, the coach diplomatically told reporters that there were many — but then singled out Brady.
“I’d probably have to say Tom for what he’s been through,” said Arians. “What he’s done — 40 touchdowns with a new team — learning all that verbiage, it was not easy.”
Beating Washington won’t be a breeze either. Three-time Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans didn’t practice on Tuesday because of a knee injury and linebacker Devin White, who had 140 tackles during the season, is on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Of particular concern for Brady will be rookie defensive end Chase Young — already a Pro Bowler — who boldly declared “Tom Brady, I’m coming!” after 7-9 Washington book a spot in the playoffs with a sloppy 20-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Young didn’t back off on Wednesday.
“I play ball,” Young said. “I’m excited to go against the best. The media, their job is to stir it up. If you know me, I’m excited for every game. Tom Brady, you think I’m not excited to play against the G.O.A.T.? You trippin’. I’m not going to apologize for saying I want Tom. No, I want every quarterback I play against.”
Brady had no issue acknowledging Young.
“He’s obviously a great young player. We’ve got our hands full with that D-Line — one of the best D-Lines in the league,” Brady said. “Chase is a great young player — he went to Ohio State, so naturally I think that Ohio State-Michigan thing wears off on him a little bit. I understand that. We’re prepared for a tough challenge and it should be a fun game.”
Arians responded to Young’s comments on Tuesday.
“He’s a hell of a player,” Arians said. “We’ll have our hands full but it’s one of those games where you better watch what you wish for.”
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