At 43 years old, Tom Brady certainly hasn’t gotten any faster with time.
Against the Raiders, it didn’t matter.
Brady felt almost no pressure from the Raiders’ defensive front on Sunday as he completed 33 of 45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 45-20 win at Allegiant Stadium.
The Raiders never sacked Brady and managed just one hit on the future Hall of Fame quarterback — by Maurice Hurst, who helped up his fellow Michigan alum after the play.
“We did not get enough pass rush today, and if you let Tom Brady sit back there and survey the field, he’s proved it for 20 years, he’s proving it for 21 years, that he’s still one of the very, very best,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “They have an arsenal of weapons, credit to them, but we have to generate a better rush, and until we do it’s going to continue to be tough.”
The Raiders entered Sunday with just seven sacks in their first five games, one of the worst totals in the NFL. Still, in Week 5 against the Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders had three sacks and five quarterback hits.
“It’s two different styles,” Raiders linebacker Cory Littleton said. “Because we have Patrick Mahomes — mobile, extends plays. Then we have Tom Brady — stationary, sitting in the pocket. Two different type of offenses to compare and just say, we did one thing more last week than we did this week. Just a different game plan, a different team and we didn’t get it done.”
Brady connected with nine receivers on pass completions. Chris Godwin was his favorite target, catching nine passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Rob Gronkowski had five catches for 62 yards.
Brady’s fourth TD pass, a 1-yarder to rookie Tyler Johnson, moved him past the Saints’ Drew Brees for the most career touchdown passes in NFL history with 559.
The prettiest pass of the day came with 17 seconds left in the second quarter.
With the Raiders rushing four on a 2nd-and-10 play at the Las Vegas 33-yard line, Brady stepped up into a clean pocket and dropped in a perfect pass over Scotty Miller’s right shoulder in the end zone for his second touchdown throw of the day.
Nevin Lawson seemed to have good coverage on Miller, but there wasn’t much he could do.
Miller had six catches for 109 yards.
“Obviously, there’s some things we have to take a good look at, and that process will start as soon as this press conference is over,” Gruden said. “But if we’re going to rush four, we’ve got to do a lot better than we did today.”
The Raiders stopped the Buccaneers’ offense on the game’s possession — perhaps more by luck than anything as Brady overthrew an open Gronkowski on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
But those type of plays — where the receiver found a seam between the secondary and the linebackers — were there for the taking for Brady most of the day, as he had all the time he needed to make plays.
Brady had been sacked eight times’ in the Bucs’ first five games, but Sunday marked the second straight game where he had not been brought down.
“It basically comes down to the things that we practice and then transitioning that into actual games,” Littleton said. “We practice great. Now, we just have to correlate the playing grade during these intense game time situations.
“Everybody’s capable of it and we always plan to strive and do those things. We’ve just got to work a little harder to make sure we do it.”
Dan Carter was a reporter for nomad Labs, before becoming the lead editor. Dan has over forty bylines and has reported on countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Dan studied at CSUF.