NFL

Bucs relieved to get back on winning track but have 'long way to go' - Brady

By Sports Desk November 23, 2021

After a pair of losses sandwiched around their bye week, it had been nearly a month since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers enjoyed a victory. 

That led to a "lot of bad nights' sleep" for ultra-competitive Tom Brady as he stewed over mistakes made and opportunities lost. 

Even after they got back on track with a 30-10 defeat of the New York Giants on Monday, though, the quarterback and his team-mates did not sound entirely satisfied. 

"I think we've got a long way to go," Brady told ESPN afterward. "Seven games left, so there's a lot of football left.

"The games are bigger because there's fewer of them, and we put ourselves in a decent position but we've got to keep going."

On the heels of defeats against New Orleans and Washington, the Buccaneers (7-3) and little trouble fending off the Giants (3-7), but the reigning Super Bowl champions could have been more efficient. 

While all three of their touchdowns came from deep in Giants territory, the Bucs drove inside New York's 25-yard line three more times but had to settle for field goals. 

"We executed a little bit better," Brady said. "Still left a few out there, I thought, but better.

"Good win for our team, obviously. Losing two straight, that really sucks in the NFL. But glad it's not three straight, glad we won." 

Brady completed 30 of 46 passes for 307 yards with an interception and a pair of touchdown passes, hitting Chris Godwin for a TD on the opening drive of the game and finding Mike Evans for a five-yard score midway through the third quarter. 

Evans' touchdown was the 72nd of his Buccaneers career, breaking the franchise record of 71 previously held by franchise icon Mike Alstott. 

"It's something I dreamed of," Evans told NFL Network. "I've been blessed to have great teammates, good health, and I've worked really hard for it, so I'm proud of it. I'm just happy to be in the same sentence with Mike Alstott."

Only 28 years old, Evans has spent his entire eight-year NFL career with Tampa Bay and reached double digits in touchdown receptions four times. 

With 10 TD catches this year, he is well-positioned to top his career-best mark of 13 in a season established last year. 

Brady said Evans is "amazing, in every way – as a player, teammate, friend, leader. He's just awesome. Love being out there with him, love playing with him. He really sets the tone for that group."

In addition to Evans' steady contributions, the Bucs also benefited from tight end Rob Gronkowski's return to the lineup Monday after playing only five snaps since Week 3 due to a variety of injuries. 

He had six catches for 71 yards against the Giants, and if he can stay healthy he will provide another valuable weapon as Brady and the Bucs gear up for another playoff run. 

"We're at a decent point but we can play a lot better than we've played," Brady said. "I'm hoping our best football is in front of us."

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