Tom Brady played the Saints four times in the regular season as a member of the Pirates. He has yet to win.
So why did this happen?
“That’s probably the thing that stands out the most, turnovers,” Brady told reporters Thursday. “They are a very physical team, I think they beat us physically. It’s just a tough, tough team. They are well coached, they have a lot of good players. They have had a winning organization for a long time. They know how to get the job done. They have a lot of great core players on both sides of the ball that have been there a long time. It’s a tough environment to play in but you have to go play. . . you play good teams on the road, you have to go play well. The last two times we’ve played them, we haven’t done a great job of that.”
It almost sounds as if Brady would have liked to play for the Saints. As reports at the time indicated, Brady might have landed in New Orleans in 2020 if Drew Brees hadn’t returned. (Apparently, the Saints almost went after Brady even with Brees coming back.)
So how can the Bucs do in the regular season what they did the one time they faced the Saints in the postseason.
“I think it’s just understanding why we lose those games,” Brady said. “There’s reasons why in every game. You can look at them and look at why we won and why we lost, the one time we beat them. It’s got to be good football — offense, defense and special teams. They’re too good a team to think about , that you can win one phase and win the game. It is a challenge because they are well coached, they are put in a good position to do well, they have a lot of good players, a lot of guys who have been together, played together for a long time. They don’t make a lot of mistakes, they make you work for everything. Every third down is important, every kicking situation is important, every third down in the low red zone is important, turnovers are important. There are a lot of things that lead to a win and a loss and obviously we didn’t good job in the regular season. We’re going to have to play a lot better if we expect to win.”
The regular-season games weren’t even close. The narrowest margin was seven. On Sunday night in Tampa in 2020, the Saints blew the Bucs off the field, 38-3.
For whatever reason, the Saints had Tampa’s number. The Bucs get their latest chance to reverse that reality on Sunday.