Tom Brady's back and forth battle with Drew Brees for the league's career record for touchdown passes has received a lot of national attention. And while Brady tries to catch Brees in the record book, he probably wouldn't mind being passed by another future Hall of Fame quarterback in a different statistical category. Brady, who is in the midst of his 21st season and first with the Buccaneers, has been sacked 513 times during his illustrious career. That ties him with Ben Roethlisberger for third all-time. Both quarterbacks could soon pass John Elway, who was sacked 516 times during his Hall of Fame career. Brett Favre, who made a record 297 consecutive starts during his Hall of Fame career, holds the record after being sacked 525 times during his 20-year career.
The 43-year-old Brady has been sacked 13 times in nine games this season. He was sacked three times during last Sunday night's 38-3 drubbing at the hands of the Saints. The pressure appeared to get to Brady, as he threw a season-high three interceptions. Along with doing a better job protecting Brady (who has been sacked five times over the past two games), the offense also has to figure out how to perform better on prime time. In three prime time games this season, Tampa Bay has averaged less than 16 points per game, about a dozen points under their season average.
"We need to perform better at every time," Brady said of his team's prime time woes, via ESPN's Jenna Laine. "One o'clock, 4 o'clock, 8 o'clock, Monday night, Sunday night. Doesn't matter. They're going to schedule the games, and we're going to go out there and play. I don't think it's anything magical that's happening.
"As players we got to prepare harder, we got to execute better, there's no excuses for what it is. It's a poor performance by a team that's got a lot ahead of it. Hopefully, we can learn from it and come back to work this week with a lot more urgency, execute a lot better and try to go out and beat a good football team."
While Brady and the Buccaneers turn their attention to Sunday's opponent, the Carolina Panthers, Roethlisberger and the Steelers are dealing with two opponents this week: the Cincinnati Bengals and the coronavirus pandemic. Roethlisberger is one of four Steelers who were recently placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list after high "high-risk contact" with tight end Vance McDonald, who has tested positive for the virus. On Tuesday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that he expects to have Roethlisberger under center on Sunday as long as he passes COVID-19 protocols.
Despite being two of the most sacked quarterbacks in league history, both Brady and Roethlisberger continue to play at a high level. Brady, despite his recent struggles, has led the Buccaneers to a 6-3 record. Roethlisberger, who missed most of last season after undergoing elbow surgery, is on pace to throw for a career-high 36 touchdown passes. His play is the main reason why the Steelers are 8-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Brady was not sacked when the Buccaneers defeated the Panthers back in Week 2. Carolina is currently tied for 30th in the league in sacks. Roethlisberger, who has been sacked 10 times this season, would face a Bengals defense that is tied for 25th in the league in sacks.