Buccaneers: Concerning Tom Brady trend in recent weeks

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers have to find a way to make the deep ball work for Tom Brady again. 

The Buccaneers are one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL, and they have the talent to make almost anything work if opposing teams key in on their strategies. The Buccaneer offense didn’t look great against the Colts yesterday, and they were still able to score 38, but splitting hairs is how great teams stay great. The Buccaneers are at their greatest when Tom Brady is on his game, and he clearly hasn’t been.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, Tom Brady hasn’t been his usual self over the past few weeks. Brady has still been able to put together some great drives and make some incredible throws, but his overall play has been far more pedestrian in recent weeks.

Brady started the season on a tear. Brady accounted for 15 touchdowns (three per game),1,767 passing yards (353 per game), and only two interceptions through the first five games. During this time, Brady was averaging 9.32 intended air yards per pass.

The past six weeks have not been as great. Tom Brady has 15 touchdowns through the last six games, 1,636 passing yards (273 per game), and seven interceptions. Brady’s intended air yards per attempt also dropped to seven.

These stats show one major issue: the play-calling and decision making have become far too conservative, and the deep ball isn’t working at the same frequency. Brady’s 6.46 completed air yards per attempt during the first five games showed that the deep and intermediate passes were working, yet Brady has hit lows of 3.8 and 3.1 in this category in the past six weeks.

The numbers aren’t the only way to tell this story. The eye test also reveals how much the Buccaneers have struggled on the passing front. Brady and receivers show little chemistry deep, and Leonard Fournette looks like Brady’s primary target on far too many passing plays.

The offense has left behind risking it for the biscuit.

The Bucs were able to beat the Colts, which is a great win, but the other games during this stretch have been less than convincing. The offense doesn’t have the same power from the start of the season, and the confidence that this group is one of the best in the NFL through the air is starting to wane when it becomes built around dinking and dunking.

Tom Brady isn’t necessarily playing poorly, but the group as a whole appears to be playing timidly based on the decisions made by the coaching staff and the players.

If the Buccaneers want to get back to being dominant on offense, and if Tom Brady wants to get back to his MVP form, the deep ball needs a substantial fix.

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