Bucs’ Brady on retirement: ‘I haven’t put a lot of thought into it’

For most of Sunday’s divisional-round playoff matchup, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were having a difficult time with the Los Angeles Rams.

Los Angeles led the Buccaneers 27-3 in the third quarter. At that point, it appeared the world champions’ goal of repeating was done. However, the Bucs slowly worked their back and tied the game at 27 late in the fourth.

But, Matthew Stafford hit Cooper Kupp on a 44-yard strike that set up Matt Gay’s 30-yard game-winning field goal at the buzzer to give the Rams a 30-27 victory at Raymond James Stadium.

With the win, the Rams host the 49ers in the NFC Championship game next Sunday.

“Yeah, we were down a bunch, and a lot of guys made a bunch of different plays to get us back into it,” Brady said postgame. “And they just made one more than us. So, kind of back and forth, we got off to a slow start which we certainly didn’t want to do against a good football team like that, who plays well from ahead. It made us pretty one-dimensional. But, you know, it is always tough losing at the end of the year. Obviously, we showed a lot of fight, but at the end of the day, you lose a game, you lose a game.”

Brady completed 30-of-54 passes in the game for 329 yards and one touchdown, but at age 44, the logical question is, have we’ve seen the last of him in the NFL. Well, we didn’t get that answer postgame.

“I haven’t put a lot of thought into it, so you know, we will just take it day by day and kind of see where we are at,” the 22-year veteran said. “Truthfully, guys, I’m thinking about this game. I’m not thinking about anything past five minutes from now.”

If Brady retires, which could happen, clearly he goes down as the G.O.A.T. He won seven Super Bowls, which is just ridiculous; however, based on what we saw out of him in 2021, he still is playing at a high level as he led the league in passing yards and touchdown passes. Of course, if he wants to come back, Tampa would like him back. Brady’s magic number for retirement was 45, so maybe that means one more year, or maybe not. 

We’ll see what happens going forward. 

 

 

Bucs activate Fournette from IR, waive Le’Veon Bell

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated running back Leonard Fournette from injured reserve and waived running back Le’Veon Bell, the team announced Saturday

Fournette, who injured his hamstring in Week 15, played in 14 games for the Buccaneers during the 2021 regular season, with 13 starts, prior to being placed on injured reserve on December 23.

The fifth-year running back rushed 180 times for 812 yards and eight touchdowns, adding 69 receptions for 454 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. He led the team in both rushing yards (812) and scrimmage yards (1,266) this season.

Over the Buccaneers four-game playoff run to Super Bowl LV last year, Fournette led the team in rushing yards (300), rushing touchdowns (three), scrimmage touches (82), scrimmage yards (448), scrimmage touchdowns (four) and receptions (18). He also became one of just three players in NFL history to record a touchdown in all four of their team’s playoff games in a single postseason, joining Larry Fitzgerald (2008) and Terrell Davis (1997). His 448 scrimmage yards marked the most in team history for a single postseason, the ninth-most in NFL history for a single postseason and stand as the second-most all-time in franchise playoff history, trailing only Mike Alstott (502). Fournette’s 300 rushing yards and 18 receptions both also set team records for a single postseason.

In addition, Tampa Bay elevated wide receiver John Brown and quarterback Ryan Griffin from the practice squad to the active roster for Sunday’s game vs. the Los Angeles Rams.

Eagles’ Hurts: ‘We’re going to come back hungry, but this season was far from a failure’

For the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium Sunday, they needed to play close to a perfect game. Unfortunately, they were far from perfect. Philadelphia turned the ball over three times, leading to 14 points for Tampa Bay. 

After three quarters, the Buccaneers led 31-0 and would defeat the Eagles 31-15 in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. 

Tom Brady completed 29-of-37 passes in the game for 271 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions.

With the win, Tampa Bay will host the winner of Cardinals-Rams in the divisional round, while the Eagles go home and think about next season.

In his first career playoff start, the 23-year-old Jalen Hurts, the youngest Eagles quarterback to start a playoff game, struggled. He was 23/43 for 258 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions. Many of those 258 yards came when the game was out of reach. 

“We didn’t do our jobs good enough, I didn’t do my job good enough – communicating and doing the little things,” Hurts said. “I could have been better, definitely, and I think there are a ton of different areas where we can kind of shoulder this as a team, but I take accountability for my actions and everything.”

The biggest question for the Eagles coming into the season, and the biggest question as the season ends, is Hurts, the team’s franchise quarterback. The second-year quarterback got a ringing endorsement from his head coach postgame.

“Again, we’re all going to say for today’s game he didn’t play his best game, as we all know,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said. “But you don’t take the body of work that he had for 17 weeks – and I know he didn’t play two games, so 15 weeks – and put everything on this game. I know we’re all judged on the last game that we play, I understand that and fully get that, but I felt like Jalen grew throughout the year, and he got better as a passer, and he got better reading the defenses, getting the ball to the right place. 

“He developed so much in his ability to extend plays of not only making plays with his feet but also making plays downfield on the scramble. I know the one today; he scrambled and threw the interception. He had some other scrambles that were good throws. So, I feel really good with what we have in place right here at the quarterback position. I thought he had a great year, and he came a long way, and that’s what I expect from Jalen because of the type of football character he has, the type of character he has, the toughness that he has, the love for football that he has. I can’t say enough good things about Jalen, the person, and the player, so I feel good about him. I know again, this wasn’t the game that any of us are going to be satisfied with – me, him, multiple guys on that football team, but I’m really pleased with how he came along this year and the leader he is on this football team.”

Despite the loss, Hurts feels the future is bright in Philadelphia.

“I’m not going to make any expectations for anything, but I know for us as a football team, the sky is the limit,” Hurt said. “And I’ll reiterate, nobody likes this feeling. Nobody likes this feeling. Nobody likes this feeling. We’ll do the things we need to do so we don’t feel this feeling again. I think with the guys that we have, especially in the youth, the young guys we have, we’re hungry. We’re going to come back hungry, but this season was far from a failure. It’s only a failure if you don’t learn from it. So, we’ll take it as a lesson; I’ll definitely take it as a lesson. My third year starts tomorrow.”

The Eagles’ 2021 NFL season was a success, but Philadelphia will have an interesting offseason. They have three first-round picks in the upcoming draft. Do they use those assets to trade for a quarterback, or do they use them to build a team around Hurts? 

After the way he played against Tampa Bay, there will be questions about Hurts, and the Eagles will have to answer those questions in the offseason.

NFL announces schedule for Divisional Playoffs

The NFL announced Sunday night the schedule of sites, dates, and times for the Divisional Playoffs on January 22-23.

Saturday, January 22:

AFC:    4:30 PM (ET)              Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (CBS, Paramount+)

NFC:    8:15 PM (ET)              San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (FOX, FOX Deportes)

Sunday, January 23:

NFC:    3:00 PM (ET) Arizona Cardinals or Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(NBC, Peacock, Universo)

AFC:    6:30 PM (ET)              Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (CBS, Paramount+)

Eagles’ Sirianni on Hurts: ‘I know he’s ready for the next game, which just so happens to be a playoff game’

On Sunday, Jalen Hurts and the upstart Philadelphia Eagles(9-8) will try to go on the road and defeat Tom Brady and the world champion Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Before losing a meaningless game to the Cowboys in Week 18, the second-year quarterback had the Eagles on a four-game winning streak, and after starting 3-6, the Eagles have won six of their final eight games.

In Week 6, Hurts and the Eagles fell to the Buccaneers 28-22 at Lincoln Financial Field. In that game, Philadelphia was down 28-7, but the Eagles trimmed the lead to 28-22 with just under six minutes left, but they could not get the ball back. 

Hurts, who was 12/26 for 115 yards, touchdown, interception and two rushing touchdowns in the regular season matchup against Tampa Bay, won big on the collegiate level, including winning a National Championship at Alabama, but this is the NFL, and he’s playing Brady in the playoffs, so it won’t be easy.

According to Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia will have to play very good football to defeat Tampa Bay.

“It’s going to take everybody’s best effort, but the process remains the same of how we go about our business, right? When it’s about the process when you’re process-driven, and you’re results-aware, then you don’t ride the highs and lows of the season,” Sirianni said on Monday. 

Sirianni expects Hurts to be ready against the Buccaneers when it’s all said and done.

“I know he’s ready for the next game, which just so happens to be a playoff game, and he’s going to prepare the same way he has prepared,” he said. “I know, from the outside, it looks like it’s a bigger game and everything, but to us, we understand the consequences of losing, and when you win – you’re done if you lose, so we understand that.

“But our process remains the same through it all, and I’m confident in our process. I’m confident in [QB] Jalen [Hurts’] process that he’s going to go out and be ready to play in this game.”

On paper, the Buccaneers are the better team, and for the Eagles to defeat Tampa Bay, they will need Hurts to be at his best, and they will need the team to be at their best.

However, no matter what happens, 2021 is a successful season for the Eagles.

NFL announces schedule for Super Wild Card Weekend

The NFL announced Sunday night the schedule of sites, dates, and times for Super Wild Card Weekend on January 15-17.

With the addition of a Monday night game to the 2021 playoffs, Super Wild Card Weekend will now have two Wild Card games on Saturday (4:30 PM and 8:15 PM ET), three on Sunday (1:00 PM, 4:30 PM, and 8:15 PM ET), and one on Monday (8:15 PM ET).

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

Saturday, January 15

AFC:    4:30 PM (ET)  5 (Las Vegas/New England) at 4 Cincinnati (NBC, Peacock, Universo)

AFC:    8:15 PM (ET)  6 (Los Angeles Chargers/New England) at 3 Buffalo (CBS, Paramount+)

Sunday, January 16

NFC:    1:00 PM (ET)  7 Philadelphia at 2 Tampa Bay (FOX, FOX Deportes)

NFC:    4:30 PM (ET)  6 San Francisco at 3 Dallas (CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video)

AFC:    8:15 PM (ET)  7 (Las Vegas/Pittsburgh) at 2 Kansas City (NBC, Peacock, Telemundo)

Monday, January 17

NFC:    8:15 PM (ET)  5 Arizona at 4 Los Angeles Rams (ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes)

The Divisional Playoffs schedule will be announced next weekend.

The 2021 NFL Playoff field:

American Football Conference

National Football Conference

1.

Tennessee Titans (12-5), AFC South champion

1.

Green Bay Packers (13-4), NFC North champion

2.

Kansas City Chiefs (12-5), AFC West champion

2.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4), NFC South champion

3.

Buffalo Bills (11-6), AFC East champion

3.

Dallas Cowboys (12-5), NFC East champion

4.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-7), AFC North champion

4.

Los Angeles Rams (12-5), NFC West champion

5.

Las Vegas Raiders or New England Patriots (10-7)

5.

Arizona Cardinals (11-6)

6.

Los Angeles Chargers or New England Patriots (10-7)

6.

San Francisco 49ers (10-7)

7.

Las Vegas Raiders or Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)

7.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)

Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell, Rob Gronkowski react to Antonio Brown

It was fun while it lasted, but now it’s over. Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown quit on his team as he ripped off his jersey, waved to the crowd, and left Tampa’s 28-24 victory over the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The 33-year-old Brown, who signed with Buccaneers last season, has had his share of issues over the years, including being suspended three games this season for having a fake vaccination card, but he’s talented, and he helped Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl last season. However, on Sunday, he waved goodbye to the fans and maybe his NFL career.

After the Buccaneers'(12-4) comeback win over New York(4-12), head coach Bruce Arians, who cleared COVID protocols to coach Sunday, said AB’s time with the team is over.

“He is no longer a Buc,” Arians said. “That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys that went out there and won the game.”

Tampa Bay got off to a slow start Sunday and trailed for most of the game until Tom Brady, who, according to ESPN Stats & Info, tied Drew Brees for the most game-winning drives(53) of any quarterback since 2000, connected with wideout Cyril Grayson on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds left.

Back to Brown, Brady, who lobbied for Brown to be a Buccaneer, asked people to have compassion for the wide receiver.

“I think everybody should hopefully do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it,” Brady said. “We all love him. We care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best.”

Le’Veon Bell, who played with Brown in Pittsburgh, has nothing bad to say about his former teammate.

“He’s still one of my close friends,” Bell said. “Like you won’t hear me talking bad about AB at all. Obviously I understand things happen, but he’s one of my closest friends that I’ve been around. Close teammate, overall good person. Obviously, some bad decision-making sometimes but you know, he’s human. He’s not perfect.”

Brown’s refusal to play will cost him a lot of money. According to Spotrac, Brown needed eight  catches to unlock a $333,333 bonus. He also needed 55 receiving yards to unlock another $333,333 bonus. He also needed just one receiving TD to unlock another $333,333 bonus.

No matter how you feel about Brown, this is sad. He clearly has some issues that he has to work through. The hope was that he could work through those issues while playing football, but it’s clear, he may need to step away from the game to get right.

For Buccaneers, their focus is the playoffs, as they hope to repeat. 

Sadly, they will be doing it without Brown.

Watch below as Rob Gronkowski, Bell, and Brady react to Antonio Brown:

 

Bucs’ Bruce Arians to coach Sunday against Jets after clearing COVID protocols

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and wide receivers coach Kevin Garver have returned to their respective roles, the team announced Saturday.

Earlier in the week, Arians tested positive for COVID-19, but he cleared COVID protocols Saturday.

Assistant head coach/run game coordinator Harold Goodwin served as interim head coach in Arians’ absence.

The Buccaneers will battle the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

In addition, the Buccaneers have made the following moves for Sunday’s game:

  • Designated running back Kenjon Barner and wide receiver Cyril Grayson as Contagious Disease PracticBucs’ Bruce Arians to coach Sunday against Jetse Squad Elevations

  • Designated punter Sterling Hofrichter and outside linebacker Elijah Ponder as Standard Practice Squad Elevations.

  • Activated cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting from the Reserve/COVID list. Both players are questionable (illness) for the game.

Buccaneers’ Arians tests positive for COVID-19

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently isolating at home, the team announced Tuesday. Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin will serve as interim head coach in Arians’ absence.

“I tested positive for COVID-19 this morning but have only experienced mild symptoms to this point,” said the 69-year-old Arians. “Harold Goodwin will take over my duties during my absence. I have complete confidence in him and the rest of our coaching staff to prepare the team for this week’s game against the Jets. I look forward to rejoining the team and being back in the facility as soon as I can test back in.”

The Buccaneers also placed cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

In addition, Tampa Bay signed outside linebacker Elijah Ponder to the practice squad and released safety Chris Cooper from the practice squad.

Ponder  entered the league as a college free agent with the Buccaneers this offseason. He spent training camp and preseason with Tampa Bay and spent four weeks on the team’s practice squad earlier this season.

The Buccaneers travel to New York to play the Jets on Sunday.

Bucs’ Brown: ‘I can’t control what people want from me; I can’t control what people write about me’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were without wideouts Mike Evans(hamstring) and Chris Godwin(ACL) against the Carolina Panthers(5-10) Sunday, but fortunately, they got back Antonio Brown, who missed the past eight games with an ankle injury and suspension due to allegedly misrepresenting his vaccination status.

The Buccaneers went on the road and routed the Panthers 32-6 to win their seventh division title in franchise history. At 11-4 with two games left, Tampa Bay is one game behind the Packers(12-3) for the best record in the NFC.

Back to Brown, in his return, he came up big! Brown had 10 receptions for 101 yards. Since entering the league in 2010, Brown has recorded 23 games with 10-or-more receptions – the most-such games in the NFL during that span. In addition, Brown’s 46 100-yard receiving performances since 2010 are the second-most in the NFL during that span.

However, after the game, the questions shifted to the alleged misrepresentation of his vaccination status, which he did not want to discuss.

When asked about being supported by Bruce Arians after another controversy, Brown said the following:

Next question, next question,” Brown said. “We just want to talk about this game… I don’t want to talk about that. You guys are all drama. It’s all about football. We’re going to talk about Carolina, or I don’t want to talk to you guys.”

When asked about the injury that kept him out, Brown said the following:

“It’s a lot of drama you guys create, a lot of drama that people create who want stuff from me. That’s a part of life, that’s a part of being in the position. I can’t control what people want from me; I can’t control what people write about me; I can’t control what people say about me.”

With Godwin gone for the season, the Buccaneers will need Brown going forward. Say what you want about him, he’s a playmaker, and if the Buccaneers want to repeat, they are going to need what he brings to the table.

Watch below as Brown talks return against Carolina: