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Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones III (27) celebrates with quarterback Tom Brady (12) after scoring on a 37-yard touchdown pass against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

In Tampa, Tom Brady has weapons, something he was missing the last season or so in New England. There’s Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and even his old friend Rob Gronkowski.

But three quarters of the way through his first season with the Buccaneers, there has been precious little Brady magic. Instead, he has looked out of sync and uncomfortable with Bruce Arians and the offense.

The latest example came Sunday when Brady passed for 345 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs but for the second consecutive week was intercepted two times. In their third loss in the last four games, the Buccaneers defense couldn’t get Patrick Mahomes’ gang off the field in the closing moments, depriving Brady of a chance at a miracle.

The loss dropped the Buccaneers to 7-5 and renewed the conversation about what is missing between Arians and his quarterback. It’s a far cry from New England, where offensive coordinators like Josh McDaniel and even coach Bill Belichick knew how to make Brady comfortable.

Last week, the disconnect got personal when Arians said that Brady was missing open receivers and even said Brady was “getting confused a few times with coverage,” an observation that Rob Ninkovich, Brady’s former teammate in New England, demanded a new coach.

“… Bruce Arians at this point right now, he’s not cutting it,” Ninkovich said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “All his interviews he is throwing players under the bus. … Asking him about Tom Brady being confused by coverages, I don’t think Tom Brady gets confused by coverages. … It’s the first time Tom Brady has ever had a head coach throw him under the bus like this.”

That line of speculation came up immediately after the loss to the Chiefs and, after he addressed it as “external noise,” Brady ended his news conference after about two and a half minutes.

“It’s just external noise that when you are losin’, that’s what you deal with,” Brady said. “I love playin’ for the guys that I play with, the coaches, the whole organization has been unbelievable. I think I … certainly have to do a better job the last four weeks of the year. So, I appreciate it. Let’s have a good week.”

And with that, Brady and the Bucs headed off for a bye week. A wild-card berth may beckon, but a deep run in January is no certainty especially with Brady going 2-4 with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions against opponents who are presently at .500 or better.

Monday morning critics were harsh. ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky called the Bucs “the walking definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Rex Ryan added, “They’re still not running Tom Brady’s offense” and added that they’re running Jameis Winston’s.

Over their past four games, the Bucs will face the Vikings (5-6), the Falcons (4-7) in Atlanta, the Lions (4-7) in Detroit and the Falcons again. Maybe they still have time to work on that “sync” thing.

“Everybody tried to hand us the Lombardi trophy in August, but you don’t just throw guys out there with names,” Arians said after Sunday’s loss. “You’ve got to practice, you’ve got to learn to get in sync with one another, but that takes time.”


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