And yes, Brady wants to beat his former team. What player wouldn’t?
That being said, there are plenty of motivations to win this weekend for the Bucs. And according to head coach Bruce Arians, one comes before all the rest.
“I think the motivation for us is we don’t want to lose two in a row,” Arians said on Friday. “And they just happen to be the next game. A lot of us have lost up there. Some people have won, not very many...It’s a hard place to play, but it’s the next game.”
Before last weekend the Buccaneers hadn’t lost at all since November 29th, 2020. That loss, to the Kansas City Chiefs, came on the heels of back-to-back losses, with the first coming to the Los Angeles Rams.
Well, this time around, the Rams look to be the first of the two. That’s what the team is trying to avoid.
And even if Brady is gone, there might still a little of the Foxboro mystique lingering on Sunday night.
How old were you on September 3rd, 2020? Brady was 23-years old, and was inactive for his first game as an NFL quarterback. On that afternoon, the backup quarterback watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat his New England Patriots, in Foxboro.
Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe led the game in passing yards, while Shaun King quarterbacked the winning squad.
The Buccaneers defense sacked Bledsoe six times, with Warren Sapp and Marcus Jones leading the team with 1.5 sacks a piece. Safety John Lynch recovered a fumble, Ronde Barber got in on the sack party, and Derrick Brooks racked up 15 tackles.
That’s the last time the Bucs beat the Patriots in Foxboro. Hell, it’s the last time Tampa Bay beat New England, period.
Granted, they’ve only played four times since then, but each time it was a Patriots win, and both times in Foxboro it wasn’t even close.
In 2005, the eventual 11-5 Buccaneers entered Foxboro with a 9-4 record having won four of their last five games.
That December afternoon, they got smoked to the tune of 28-0. Tom Ashworth, David Givens, and Corey Dillon all caught touchdown passes from Brady, and Dillon added another on the ground just for good measure.
This time, it was New England’s turn for a sack party, as they got to quarterback Chris Simms seven times. Brady was taken down just once. By Simeon Rice.
The next trip by the Buccaneers franchise to New England didn’t come until 2013. This time, they fared a little better, putting up three points instead of none.
Of course, that year’s squad would end up 4-12 under Greg Schiano in his second and final season as head coach in Tampa Bay.
The Week 3 loss to Brady’s Patriots was one of the eight straight that team suffered before getting a win.
Brady only threw two touchdown passes against that defense, both to Kenbrell Thompkins.
On the Bucs side, quarterback Josh Freeman completed just 19 of his 41 pass attempts, was sacked three times, and threw an interception with no touchdowns.
Second-year linebacker Lavonte David got half a sack on Brady in that game, on his way to seven sacks that year. He would become a First-Team All-Pro after that season while missing the Pro Bowl.
Fond memories of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing in New England are hard to come by if you haven’t been watching this team for at least 21 years.
Here’s hoping they give this generation of fans some new ones, this Sunday night.