Tom Brady won his first game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, defeating the Carolina Panthers 31-17 at Raymond James Stadium.
The victory — Brady’s first with a team other than the New England Patriots — might go a long way toward dialing back the drama that surrounded the Bucs in wake of their Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints, but ESPN’s Max Kellerman wasn’t overly impressed by the quarterback’s Week 2 performance.
“Tom Brady was meh. He was meh. He was OK,” Kellerman said Monday on “First Take” after suggesting everyone is overrating how Brady played against Carolina. “He did worse against the least-experienced secondary, whose best player is playing on a bad foot, a bad defensive team — he did worse than (Las Vegas Raiders quarterback) Derek Carr did the week before.
” … This was supposed to be a dynamic offense, right? You beat a bad team with a bad defense, mainly with your running game, and I’m supposed to be impressed?”
Brady completed 23 of 35 passes for 217 yards with a touchdown and an interception as the Bucs jumped into the win column for the first time in 2020. The effort drew effusive praise from head coach Bruce Arians, who offered a harsh assessment of Brady’s play after Week 1.
That said, it was the defense and the ground game, led by Leonard Fournette’s 103 rushing yards and two touchdowns, that mostly paved the way for Tampa Bay’s victory over Carolina. One could argue Brady simply was along for the ride.
“Any competent NFL quarterback would have done at least what Tom Brady did this past weekend. At least,” Kellerman said. “Was he terrible? No. But actually, compared to expectations in Week 2, he severely underperformed my expectations, including the two drops that could’ve been scores. He underperformed my expectations for him. Take a look at the numbers; they don’t lie.”
Of course, Kellerman has been more critical of Brady than most in recent years, ever since he predicted the former Patriots star’s production would fall off “a cliff” in short order.
Kellerman might have a point here, though. Brady was OK on Sunday, as Tampa Bay’s offense (understandably) still looks like a work in progress.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images