The news first: Play-by-play man Rich Eisen said on the broadcast of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers victory over Seattle Seahawks from Munich, Germany that Tom Brady told the crew in their production meeting tight end Rob Gronkowski “is done” and he has not spoken to free agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in a while.
So bummer for hopeful Buccaneers fans hoping for a Gronk return for the playoff run or Beckham Jr. news.
But this also is news: The Buccaneers seem to be back to the team everyone expected them to be when the season began.
How else to put it when Tampa Bay beat the NFC West leading Seahawks 21-16 in the NFL’s first regular season game in Germany?
“I thought we did some pretty great things out there,” Brady said afterward.
“I felt like we had a great team win today, all phases” receiver Julio Jones said. “Everybody’s contributing. We’ve moving the ball around a lot. Running the ball … As you can see today it felt effortless the way we were moving the ball today.”
Jones caught a 31-yard TD passes from Brady.
Brady And Buccaneers Correct Course
The Buccaneers’ victory ended a four-game win streak for the Seahawks.
Brady and the Buccaneers won their second consecutive game and got to .500 for the first time since Oct. 16.
This was billed as the first international NFL game between two division leaders. But it really was a referendum on how capable the NFC West leading Seahawks are of running away with their division and the Bucs remaining the class of their division.
The Seahawks, with surprising Geno Smith at quarterback, scored 14 points in the fourth-quarter while the Buccaneers only managed a second-half touchdown.
But ultimately the Tampa Bay running game showed up to the tune of 161 rush yards. And Brady was good enough — completing 22 of 29 for 258 yards with 2 TDs and 1 interception.
This victory makes Brady the first NFL quarterback to win a regular season game in four countries — the United States, England, Mexico and Germany.
“That was one of the great football experiences I’ve had,” Brady said. “Says a lot for 23 years in the league, for a regular season game, and the fan turnout was incredible. It felt very electric from the time we took the field.
“And the end of the game with them signing Sweet Caroline and Country Road, that was pretty epic. So I think anyone who was part of the experience will have a pretty amazing memory the rest of their life.”
Buccaneers Make Mistakes But Still Win
The Buccaneers, you must know, weren’t without bonehead moments. While the offense moved the ball effectively throughout the game two interceptions stopped drives.
One of those was by running back Leonard Fournette who got the ball on a direct snap and tried to pass to Brady along the sideline. That’s not a misprint or fake news.
The ball thrown by the running back to the 45-year-old quarterback was intercepted.
“Had he not slipped, you would have seen his 42-inch vertical,” Bowle joked.
Wouldn’t have been so funny had it backfired. But the fact is after the Bucs gave up that turnover, the Buccaneers defense got it back with a red zone recovery of a Smith fumble.
That was probably Smith’s worst moment of the day because he avoided throwing an interception while collecting 2 TD passes. Smith actually outplayed Brady, completing 23 of 33 passes for 275 yards for a QB rating of 115.1.
But too little, too late.
Tampa Bay held Seattle to 57 net yards of offense in the first half – the fewest the Buccaneers have allowed in any half this season and the fewest since allowing just 53 yards vs. New Orleans
The Buccaneers defense, which forced the Los Angeles Rams to off the field on eight three-and-out last week, limited the Seahawks to only 39 rushing yards.
“Yes,” Jones said, “It’s a great win for us.”