It’s no secret Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady hasn’t been at his best the last few weeks.

No one is saying he’s been a bottom of the barrel-type player. Brady is still in the upper half of the league when it comes to quarterback rankings. But, at the same time, his recent play has been nowhere close to what we’re used to when it comes to playing for both the New England Patriots and Buccaneers.

His performance against the Arizona Cardinals was nearly identical from what we’ve recently witnessed. Brady missed some pretty big throws throughout the night -the guaranteed touchdown throw to Julio Jones is the first one that comes to mind- and he also threw two very bad interceptions that helped the Cardinals build their 16-6 fourth quarter lead.

“I just think we had two bad balls thrown,” head coach Todd Bowles said when asked what the Cardinals did to essentially cause Brady to throw his interceptions.

“They played Cover 2. We got a go route, and I threw the ball pretty early,” explained Brady. “He [Cardinals DB Marco Wilson] had his eyes on it before Mike [Evans] did and then came down with it. Then, the second one, they were in man coverage, and Mike broke to the out cut. I was late throwing it, and he [Wilson] made a great catch.”

But, despite the struggles, Brady still found a way to bounce back and lead his team to their ever-needed seventh victory of the season.

He was the Brady of old in overtime, completing all six of his pass attempts for 69-yards, which included the 23-yard deep shot to Russell Gage that moved the Buccaneers into Cardinals territory.

“It was good. We set it up,” said Brady. “We had a few plays where they were really aggressive on some of those flare routes, and we just said, ‘Hey, let’s make an adjustment, pump it and give ourselves a shot.’ It ended up being a good play.”

Brady certainly caught some breaks there at the end, namely the botched pitch between Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Keaontay Ingram.

But, at the same time, it was Brady who took control in overtime and led the Buccaneers to the win. Without him, it’s very likely this game results in the Buccaneers’ ninth loss of the season.

“It was a hard fought win, we needed it and we got it no matter how pretty it looked or (if) it didn’t look pretty and we’re excited for next week,” said Bowles.

Brady put the Buccaneers in a hole, but he helped dig them out of it. And because of that, the Buccaneers are still very much alive in the playoff race. Even if the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints won their respective matchups.

And for now, that’s good enough. But he -along with the rest of his team- have to straighten up over these next couple of weeks or else they may not find themselves in the same position they were in on Christmas.

Featured image via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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