Tom Brady is back in the groove; New England Patriots not so much


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And while last time Brady quarterbacked the New England Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit in Super Bowl LI to stun the Falcons, the 43-year-old was wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey this time.

Brady threw 390 yards and two touchdowns in the second half to help the Buccaneers overcome a 17-0 half-time deficit, eventually winning 31-27.

And it was Brady’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown — the first of his Buccaneer career since signing after his eight-game suspension — to give the Florida team their first lead of the game late in the fourth quarter.

After helping his team to its third fourth-quarter comeback victory of the season, Brady praised the “poise” of his teammates.

“Everybody hung in there. We got off to a tough start but found a way to win,” he said.

“The defence came up huge, made some big stops. Offensively, everyone made a bunch of different plays and it was a great win for our team and we’re going to have to keep building on it.”

The win improved Tampa Bay’s record to 9-5 this season with two games remaining. They need only one win in the next two weeks to clinch a playoff spot without any help from other results around the league.

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Brady throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons.

Not so rosy

Paired with Brady, Bill Belichick built one of the great sporting dynasties in US sports history with the Patriots.

After he was drafted with the 199th pick in the 2000 draft, Brady and Belichick won six Super Bowls together.

And during their extended run of success, the Patriots set an NFL record of 11 consecutive years of playoff appearances.

However, with Brady choosing warmer climates following his move to Tampa Bay and former NFL Most Valuable Player Cam Newton now at quarterback, that run of success looks to be coming to an end.

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Newton (right) walks off the field against the Miami Dolphins.

On Sunday, facing an up-and-coming Miami Dolphins led by 2020 No. 5 pick Tua Tagovailoa, the Patriots were defeated 22-12, meaning they were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

It means that for the first time since 2008, fans will not be able to watch Belichick’s trademark scowl on the sideline as football continues into January in the post-season.

“It’s obviously a disappointing day for us,” Patriots head coach Belichick told reporters on a video conference. “We didn’t do anything well enough to win the game. Miami was just better than we were today. That’s the bottom line.”

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