Only the Bucs could turn Tom Brady into an accomplice.

Only the Bucs Could Turn Tom Brady into an Accomplice

Only the Bucs, right?

Only the Bucs could take a perfectly suitable dream season, with a very good coach and the very greatest quarterback in perfect harmony, all the right pieces in place, poised for a postseason run, a run at a Super Bowl in their home ballyard, and turn it into a white-hot mess, at 7-5 and falling away, the GOAT even shaping up as a goat.

Only the Bucs could turn Tom Brady into an accomplice.

It’s so bad right now that Brady and the Bucs are the only story going and they’re not even playing this week. It’s bye week and all we can talk about is if this is bye-bye to all the big talk when Brady decided to slum it this season with a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in 13 years. Yeah, all Bucs head coach Bruce Arians had to do was flip the switch, right?

Try thinking that after consecutive losses to the Rams and Chiefs. Try thinking that after Brady walked out on a news conference on Sunday after the loss to lion-king-in-waiting Patrick Mahomes when someone asked whether there was anything bubbling up between the QB and the HC. End Brady. That’s what 7-5 gets you late in once-promising football seasons. It hints at a collapse we haven’t seen around here since Chucky Gruden’s 2008 Bucs dropped four in a row at the finished to end up out of the playoffs,

Okay, let’s not write this hootenanny off just yet. The Bucs’ final four games of the season are against Minnesota, Detroit, and Atlanta, a combined four games under .500. Brady and the Bucs feast on losers. It’s winners that pose the problems.

So do the starts to games. So does playing defense, suddenly, for a Bucs unit that appeared to have turned the corner last season. And so, invariably, do footballs when Brady throws them deep, the way Arians likes. It isn’t working, one reason Brady seemed edgy in that news conference, polite but pointed, tactical.

It’s about time we realized that even if 12 won it all here, we’d never get to know him, not a bit. He’s one of those superstars you can reach for but never quite touch. Just let Brady be Brady before he picks up his marbles and tries to go back to New England.

It’s high time Arians gets on that bus and rolls with Brady, even if it’s over a cliff, even if Arians has his own ideas about running offenses and running mouth, loud and clear and honest. So what if you have to baby the GOAT? I mean, why the hell else was Brady brought here but to be the deliverer?

Fine. Put it on him. The worse thing that can happen is we see how far his game has dropped off, what with being 43 and all, those 28 TD passes notwithstanding.

It’s hard to see the Bucs not making the postseason, but it’s also hard to see them being long for it once the dancing starts. They’re 1-4 against teams better than .500. There is no getting around that. That’s the reality, even armed with the greatest quarterback of all time. The Bucs made a lot of noise before the season, and the early going pointed to the mania of the Brady Bunch.

Now we’re down to it, the big nut crunch, waiting for the Bucs to show up, led by their quarterback. It doesn’t matter if any of this is Brady’s fault. That’s why they pay him all the money. The Bucs have gone all with Brady. Push past any glitches between him and Arians. They’re grown men getting paid to do a job. It’s time to do it together.

What was this season about, anyway?

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