We are now entering Week 12 of the 2020 NFL season, and we are still trying to figure out what kind of team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are. Is this an elite unit that can contend for a Lombardi trophy this year? Or is this a team that probably needs another year together before they become the super team that many imagined they would be in 2020? The Buccaneers are in no way out of the playoff race with a 7-4 record, but their Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams felt like somewhat of a low point for Bruce Arians and Co. this year.
In the 27-24 loss, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady completed a season-low 54.17 percent of his passes for 216 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Both of his interceptions were head-scratchers, especially the final one which secured victory for Los Angeles late in the fourth quarter. How can Brady go from completing 71.79 percent of his passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns one week, to what we saw on Monday night? When asked if Arians had a sense of the identity of this team, he offered up an interesting response.
"Offensively, it's just a matter of each and every week if the quarterback plays well or not," Arians said during "Bucs Total Access" this week, according to JoeBucsFan.com. "And our job is to make sure he's comfortable and let him play well."
So what does this answer really mean? It seems like Arians is saying everything hinges on the play of Brady, and that the Buccaneers don't have a good shot to win a game if he's struggling. One area where Brady has been struggling consistently as of late is throwing the deep ball. According to Next Gen Stats, Brady is 0-19 on deep passes (20-plus air yards) in his last four games with a 0.0 passer rating. Going back to Week 5, Brady is 3-36 on deep passes -- and all three of those completions came in one game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
This late in the season where every matchup is important, the Buccaneers can't afford to suffer through more games where Brady is struggling. Up next in Week 12 are the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, and we will see if Brady and Tampa Bay's offense can kick it back into high gear.