Tom Brady ended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ seven-game losing streak against the New Orleans Saints as his team weathered a tense game of scuffles and strained nerves to seal a 20-10 win in Louisiana.
Four of those seven losses have come since Brady arrived in Tampa Bay, and those three years of frustration seemed to weigh on the seven-time Super Bowl winner.
With 10:48 in the third quarter and a 3-0 deficit against the Saints, Brady vented his anger on the sidelines by throwing a Microsoft tablet on the floor.
His frustration spread in the fourth quarter, and after an incomplete third pass in a 3-3 draw, a brawl ensued with New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Mike Evans intervened, sparking a skirmish that eventually resulted in Lattimore and Evans being expelled.
Evans was later suspended Monday by the NFL for one game without pay for “violations of unnecessary rudeness and unsportsmanlike conduct.”
Though the suspension won’t be welcome news for Tampa Bay, the incidents seemed to shake the Bucs up Sunday, when Brady caught up with wide receiver Breshad Perriman for a 28-yard touchdown in the team’s next series to beat Tampa Bay at 10: 3 to lead.
After a 47-yard field goal from Ryan Succop to extend the lead with 5:50 in the game, the Bucs sealed it when Mike Edwards picked up Saints QB Jameis Winston and returned him 68 yards for a touchdown.
“It’s an emotional game,” Brady told reporters afterwards. “A little execution helps everywhere. I found the defense played well again and the offense fought hard.
“It’s a really tough team, trained really well – a team that we’re really struggling with, so it feels good to win.”
“And I’m sorry I broke the tablet,” he added later on Twitter. “I think this is going to be another Twitter meme or something.”
It had been a hard-fought game dominated by both teams’ respective defenses as New Orleans held Brady at 142 yards on 14/24 and shut Tampa Bay out until a field goal by Ryan Succop late in the the scores at 3: 3 associated third quarter.
But after the fight and Perriman’s touchdown, momentum swung in the Bucs’ direction.
“We lost a good player and they lost a good player. It was a physical ball game,” 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 moves.”
Though the Saints had several chances late in the game, Tampa Bay’s defense stood firm, intercepting Winston three times in the last 12 minutes — including the game-winning pick-six.
New Orleans secured a touchdown of their own via a Winston pass to Michael Thomas with 1:08 left, but it was too late as the Bucs sealed their first regular-season win over the Saints since September 2018, snapping the seven-game losing streak.
The Bucs remain at the top of the NFC South with a 2-0 record and will host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.