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Was the Week 9 Win Over the Rams a Turning Point for Tom Brady?

After his longest losing streak in 20 years, Tom Brady broke the all-time NFL record for game-winning drives with Tampa Bay now in first place in the NFC South.

Tom Brady has been many things over the course of his 45 years on earth.

Most notably, he’s arguably the greatest football player to ever live, with seven Super Bowl titles, a vast TB12 business empire, and a huge Fox contract waiting for him whenever he decides to hang up his cleats (and rumors swirling that he may slide into the Fox booth in February if he isn’t competing in the Big Game).

But over the last month, Brady has taken on a different type of role: punching bag. His long-rumored divorce with Gisele Bundchen was finalized as his Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost five of six games, including a three-game skid — his longest personal losing streak in 20 years — where Brady’s offense scored a total of 43 points. It proved all too easy for so many to take shots at someone who fell, even if momentarily, from the highest of perches.

These circumstances made Brady’s comeback win on Sunday over the defending champion Los Angeles Rams all the more special. Down 13-9 with 44 seconds left, he completed five of six passes for 60 yards, including the game-winning 1-yard score to rookie tight end Cade Otton with nine seconds left. The seven words he used to open his postgame press conference summed up the sheer joy, happiness, and relief that came with a desperately needed victory.

It was a milestone victory for Brady in two respects. It was the 55th game-winning drive of his GOAT career, passing Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history. And Brady became the first QB to ever surpass 100,000 career passing yards, holding both regular season (87,067) and postseason (13,049) records.

After falling to the Rams in last year’s playoffs, the win brings Tampa Bay to 4-5 and, sadly, first place in the NFC South. Though Brady is having a down season statistically in 2022 after leading the NFL in passing yards a season ago, he still leads the league in several categories:

  • Passes completed (260)
  • Passes attempted (398)
  • Pass attempts per game (44.2)
  • Lowest interception rate (0.3%)
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Brady hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 1 against Dallas, spanning 373 attempts, on pace for the lowest INT rate of his career. He’s only finished under 1% twice, in 2010 and 2016. He finished first and second in MVP voting in those seasons and is now doing it at age 45.

“We needed it and we got it. We fought until the end,” Brady said after the win. “Hopefully this gives us some confidence and we can win again next week and get to 5-5, which would be good for us at the bye week.”

Brady and Co. now pack up and head for the NFL’s first-ever game in Germany, another milestone in a 23-year career full of them. But the task in Munich will be tall, facing a thriving Seattle Seahawks team shockingly running away with the NFC West title. After that, however, Tampa Bay’s schedule is quite soft, with just one of the Bucs’ final seven games coming against teams currently over .500.

TB12 surely isn’t having his best season out there as he heads toward the wrong end of 50. But the road map is there for another division title and a crack at Super Bowl No. 8. The odds are long, with the Bucs at +900 to make the Super Bowl and +1900 to win it at FanDuel Sportsbook, but history has taught us that it’s never wise to fully count Thomas Edward Patrick Brady out of anything.

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