TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady nearly delivered more magic Sunday night, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ comeback against the Los Angeles Rams fell short in the NFC Divisional Round.
Trailing 27-3 in the third quarter, Brady was not backing down. The 44-year-old quarterback helped rally the Bucs late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 27. But it wasn’t meant to be as Rams’ kicker Matt Gay was good on a 30 yard field goal as time expired.
Now, many fans wonder, if that was Brady’s final game. The retirement talk happened soon after the loss.
“I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. We’ll just take it day-by-day and kind of see where we’re at,” Brady said.
As he walked off the field, there was no wave goodbye to the fans suggesting his career is over; no final look back to the field in what could be his 365th and final game.
“I was thinking about winning. That is kind of my mentality always,” Brady said. “Go out there, try to win, give my team the best chance to win.”
No one knows Brady’s plan, but one thing is certain; in two seasons, he changed the culture in Tampa. Brady took over a Bucs’ franchise that had not made the playoffs in 12 seasons to Super Bowl champions.
“Tom’s special,” offensive line Ali Marpet said. “For the guys that stick around, hopefully we can carry that same approach, those lessons, the way he handles himself moving forward and can continue to play at a high level.”
This season ends without a ring, but Brady is still on top. He led the lead in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
“He’s self-motivated. He knows what he wants. Hopefully we get him back next year,” wide receiver Mike Evans said. “The best player ever, one of the best teammates and one of the best leaders I have ever seen. Hopefully we get him back.”
The seven-time Super Bowl champion once said his goal is to play until age 45. He’ll hit that number during training camp in August...If he’s there.
“Truthfully guys, I’m thinking about this game and nothing past five minutes from now,” Brady said.