Brady Struggles In The Second Half of NFC Championship

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In the NFC Championship game, Tom Brady showed some cracks in his armor during the second half of the game. Inaccuracy is typically not what you think of with Brady. As such his three interceptions were a bit of a shock. These mistakes and miscues can not be repeated if the Buccaneers want to win the Super Bowl.

1st Interception

With eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Buccaneers found themselves up 28-17. The Packers had orchestrated a long drive to bring the game within 11 points. At that point in time, the offense was on the Tampa 38 facing a second and ten. Brady drops back with a clean pocket and lets on fly deep down the sideline intended for Mike Evans. As Evans turned for the ball something was off. The ball floated beyond the route Evans was running. With the safety closing in from the center of the field and the corner inside on Evans the ball was intercepted.

This throw seemed very risky. The safety was not looked off and he easily closed in to interrupt the play. All while the corner had an adventitious position with the ball being thrown to the inside of the field to Evans. Ultimately, the turnover was costly. Subsequently, the Packers scored.

2nd Interception

With the ball back the Buccaneers started another long drive. Eventually, Brady had the team down to the Green Bay 28 yard line. Dropping back the pocket was clean. Brady floats one over the linebacker in the middle of the field. Stretching and leaping Evans has the ball graze off his fingertips. The deflection gives the ball some lift and it lands right in the hands of a crossing Jaire Alexander.

The pass was clearly high. Unusual for Brady while having a clean pocket. With Evans as open as he was right down the middle of the field there I no excuse for the misthrow. Luckily, this interception did not result in points off of a turnover for the Packers.

3rd Interception

Starting another drive after receiving a punt the offense was in a very manageable third and two on their own 46-yard line. The Packers brought a cornerback blitz that went unchecked. Immediately pressure was in Brady’s face. With no time he launches a ball to the sideline in the direction of Mike Evans. Because Brady could not fully put his body into the throw the ball simply fell short. The corner, Alexander again, was clearly about to beat but that left him in a better position to simply turn and catch the shortly thrown pass.

The Buccaneers defense would then again rise to the occasion. Preventing points off a tun over were crucial on Brady’s last two interceptions. It is what saved the game.

Overall Impression

These passes all seemed uncharacteristically forced. The first was into particularly good coverage. The second, too high and forceful. The third, while facing pressure was unfortunate as Brady was unable to follow through. These passes are the kind that typically sinks a team’s ability to win. It’s hard to win games with three turnovers.

In week 12 Brady threw two interceptions. Both came when pressure was applied and there were defenders in his face. Of the two, the second interception unluckily bounced off a player’s helmet and into the air. This allowed the defense to get under it and get a turnover. In order to keep up with the high paced Chiefs offense, Brady must remain turn over free.

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