Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady had already suffered the indignity of losing twice to the same divisional opponent this season, his first in the NFC. He didn't want it to happen three times.
Sunday, Brady was on his favorite stage, in the postseason, on national television, determined to make sure he didn't lose to New Orleans for the third time. The adjustments that coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles made after the Saints had swept Tampa in the regular season paid off handsomely. Drew Brees may have played his last game in New Orleans, if not forever, limited to 135 yards passing with 1 TD and, most tellingly, 3 interceptions.
Brady's goal, obviously, is to prove he could win another Super Bowl without his former coach in New England, Bill Belichick. As of this morning, he's halfway there. Leonard Fournette and the defense made sure of that as the Buccaneers advanced to the NFC title game with a 30-20 win over the Saints. Brady, like Aaron Rodgers on Saturday, ran for a score. His 4th quarter TD put the game away with about 4 1/2 minutes left.
While the Patriots are contemplating what might've been, and Belichick turned down a Congressional Medal of Freedom from President Trump, who was handing out medals just because he could, Brady had problems adjusting to the NFC early on. In the days in between beating the Washington Deviants and the Saints, Brady reportedly was open to returning to Tampa Bay next season.
However, should Tampa Bay fall in the frozen tundra in Green Bay, then Brady will be hearing the same questions that Brees is hearing now. Will he retire?
The highlights come from the NFL's YouTube channel: