Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians’ assessment of Tom Brady’s play was far less critical Sunday than it had been the week before.
Brady followed up his two-interception loss in his debut with the Bucs by mounting four touchdown drives and throwing for 217 yards and one TD to avoid starting 0-2 for the first time in his 21-year NFL career in Sunday’s 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Arians, who had pinned Tampa’s Week 1 loss to New Orleans on Brady’s “bad” decisions, including a pick-six by former Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, was effusive in his praise Sunday for the three-time MVP.
“I think he has a pretty good history of (bouncing back),” Arians said. “This game should never have got as close as it did. We let ’em back in. But I thought he played outstanding. His leadership on the sideline was great, and he put us in the right play on a number of different audibles. He played really, really well.”
Indeed, Brady’s .790 winning percentage (49-13) following a loss in his career is second only to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, according to ESPN.
Wide receiver Mike Evans had seven receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown Sunday after making just one catch for two yards the previous week.
Leonard Fournette also rushed for over 100 yards, including a late 46-yard touchdown to seal Brady’s first win with his new team.
“It’s going to take time, and with having no preseason and all those practices we missed, we’re just growing day by day with Tom, the receivers and the entire offense,” Arians said. “I think we’ll just get better and better. We’re nowhere near — I think — what we are in September, what I think we’ll be in November.”