Tom Brady snapped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ seven-game losing streak against the New Orleans Saints as his team overcame a fraught game filled with scuffles and frayed nerves to seal a 20-10 victory in Louisiana.
Four of those seven losses have come since Brady arrived at Tampa Bay, and those three years of frustration seemed to weigh on the seven-time Super Bowl winner.
With 10:48 remaining in the third quarter and trailing the Saints 3-0, Brady took out his anger on the sidelines by throwing a Microsoft tablet to the ground.
His frustrations simmered over into the fourth quarter and, after a third-down incomplete pass with the score tied 3-3, he came to blows with New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Mike Evans intervened, sparking a skirmish that eventually led to the ejections of Lattimore and Evans.
Evans was later suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Monday for “violations of unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct.”
While the suspension will not be welcome news to Tampa Bay, the incidents seemed to galvanize the Bucs on Sunday as Brady connected with wide receiver Breshad Perriman for a 28-yard touchdown in the team’s next series to put Tampa Bay up 10-3.
After a 47-yard Ryan Succop field goal to extend the lead with 5:50 left in the game, the Bucs sealed it when Mike Edwards picked off Saints QB Jameis Winston and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.
“It’s an emotional game,” Brady told reporters afterwards. “A little bit of execution helps all the way around. I thought the defense played well again and the offensive line fought hard.
“It’s a really tough team, really well coached – a team we really struggle with, so it feels good to win.”
“And sorry for breaking that tablet,” he added on later on Twitter. “I think that’s gonna be another Twitter meme or something like that.”
It had been a closely fought game, dominated by both teams’ respective defenses as New Orleans held Brady to 14/24 passing with 142 yards and shut Tampa Bay out until a field goal from Ryan Succop tied the scores at 3-3 late in the third quarter.
But, after the fight and Perriman’s touchdown, momentum swung towards the Bucs.
“We lost a good player and they lost a good player. It was a physical ballgame,” Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles said, according to ESPN. “I don’t know if it was a turning point … It could have gone either way. We knew we had to make some plays.”
Although the Saints had several chances late in the game, the Tampa Bay defense held firm, intercepting Winston three times – including the game-sealing pick-six – in the last 12 minutes.
New Orleans secured a touchdown of its own through a Winston pass to Michael Thomas with 1:08 remaining, but it was too late as the Bucs held on to seal their first regular season win over the Saints since September 2018, snapping the seven-game losing streak.
The Bucs remain atop the NFC South with a 2-0 record and will host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.