TAMPA, Florida. “If Tom Brady retires in the offseason, he will leave after one of the worst playoff games of his career.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion had a tough night against Mickey Parsons and the Dallas Cowboys, throwing his first red-zone interception with the Buccaneers in a 31-14 loss that ended Tampa Bay’s season of ups and downs on Monday night.
Brady will not be returning home to the Bay Area for a rematch against Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round. However, he can return home forever.
The 45-year-old five-time Super Bowl MVP has already retired once since last season, only to return 40 days later. He said that this time he would need more time to make a decision.
“It’s going to be one day at a time, really,” Brady said.
Brady waved his cap to the crowd as he ran off the field for what was possibly the last time and stopped to kiss his parents before heading into the tunnel.
Before leaving the podium, Brady thanked reporters, saying, “I hope you know I love this organization. It’s a great place and thanks to everyone for hosting me. … Very grateful for the respect and I hope I repay you guys in the same way.
Prior to that game, Brady led Dallas 7-0, including a 19-3 road win in the first week.
Although he was fired only twice, the Cowboys forced him to make several one-off shots and forced a bunch of reckless passes.
He made a career-high 66 passes, throwing 35 of them for 351 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Brady had 65 tries for New England against San Francisco on December 16, 2012.
After the Buccaneers lost their first three possessions, Brady went a long way before everything fell apart.
On the first down from Cowboys 22, Brady rolled to the right and had an open field in front of him, but got a four-time cover in the left corner of the end zone with an incomplete throw through his body. A few games after the Cowboys 5, Brady threw a tackle in the back of the end zone, where the nearest player was Cowboys defenseman Jaron Kears who made the pick.
“Not the way we wanted it to end, but we didn’t deserve it,” Brady said. “Give them their due. They showed a good game, played a lot more than us.”
Brady has not been conceded in the first half of a playoff game since his first game in 2001, a Tuck Rule game on January 19, 2002. The Patriots rallied to defeat the Raiders in this game.
Brady and the Bucks (8-10) had no chance of a comeback against Dallas (13-5). Parsons and company dominated Brady from start to finish.
“It was typical of the way we played all year: inefficient in passing game, not very good in running game, so it’s hard to beat such good teams,” Brady said.
The Bucks finally found end zone when Brady connected with Julio Jones in a 30-yard TD pass just before the end of the third quarter. But Tampa’s defense gave TD straight away, and the Bucks failed to score after reaching the Cowboys 2 on their next drive.
Brady’s worst playoff loss was a 33-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on January 10, 2010. It was close.
For Brady personally, it’s been a tumultuous season. His marriage to Gisele Bündchen ended when they announced in October that their divorce was finalized. He had the first losing season of his 23-year career, although the Pirates won the unsuccessful NFC South to finish 4th.
Brady is set to become a free agent so he can continue his unparalleled career with another team. There will be a lot of interest in the player who turns 46 next season in training camp.
The buccaneers want him back if he keeps playing. Lavonte midfielder David said he would wait a few weeks before recruiting him.
Brady showed he still had a lot left in the regular season, despite playing behind an injury-depleted offensive line and without stellar tight end Rob Gronkowski, who retired in the offseason. He broke his own NFL record for most completions in a single season with 490, led the NFC with 4,694 yards, and threw for 25 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
Brady holds almost every passing record in the NFL, has won more championships than any other player in the sport, and is destined to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Not bad for a sixth round draft.
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