The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered a frustrating 20-18 Week 6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, dropping them to 3-3 for the season. The offense once again struggled to put touchdowns on the board and the defense gave up two critical 3rd and long conversions late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Tom Brady had another pedestrian day statistically and questions have started to surface about his focus on the game as the team nears the halfway point of the season.
Prior to the loss, the seven-time Super Bowl champion attended the wedding of New England’s Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Friday, arriving to Pittsburgh separately from the team and missing their walkthrough on Saturday morning. Head coach Todd Bowles downplayed this having any impact on Sunday’s result and Brady himself chalked it up to the team not playing up to the levels they are capable of playing.
Conjecture and reports about his personal life aside, one has to wonder if Brady is a bit distracted in his 23rd season in the league. He had a cup of coffee with retirement this past offseason before hastily deciding to return for another season with the Bucs. Various reports since have suggested that this move to return to the Bucs came after plans to become the quarterback/minority owner of the Miami Dolphins were blown up by the Brian Flores lawsuit.
Upon his return, he mysteriously missed 11 days of training camp. That led to rampant speculation over his whereabouts, including a theory that he was appearing as a special guest on the hit show The Masked Singer. It was later confirmed that he would be getting Wednesday’s off from practice for the entire season, a move he would do a 180 on considering the number of injuries that the Tampa Bay offense experienced early on this season.
Distractions, focus, whatever you want to chalk it up to, the quarterback and the Bucs’ offense are clearly out of sync. With them owning a tiebreaker over the Atlanta Falcons, the team still holds onto the NFC South lead heading into Week 7. But one has to wonder if Brady can lock in down the stretch.