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Tom Brady record vs. Saints: Why NFL legend has struggled vs. Dennis Allen’s defense

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At this point in his career, it’s impossible to argue against Tom Brady being one of the best quarterbacks ever and difficult to argue against him being the best ever. But since he joined the Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season, one team has given him more than he bargained for in the NFC South: The New Orleans Saints.

Against the Saints, Brady is 1-4 in the regular season, 2-4 counting the Buccaneers’ playoff game against the Saints en route to a Super Bowl in 2020. He’s 28-11 against the rest of the league since joining Tampa Bay.

This has been exclusively a Tampa Tom problem as well. With New England, Brady went 4-1 against the Saints, the inverse of his record with Tampa Bay.

In 2021, things hit an all-time low for Brady and the Bucs when they lost to the Saints 9-0 in embarrassing fashion. Brady passed 48 times in that game and had under 250 yards and an interception to show for it.

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Tom Brady stats vs. Saints

Brady’s stats against the Saints largely speak for themselves.

Date Comp-Att Yards TD Int Score
Sept. 13, 2020 23-36 239 2 2 34-23 NO
Nov. 8, 2020 22-38 209 0 3 38-3 NO
Jan. 17, 2021 18-33 199 2 0 30-20 TB
Oct. 31, 2021 28-40 375 4 2 36-27 NO
Dec. 19, 2021 26-48 214 0 1 9-0 NO
Sept. 18, 2022 18-34 190 1 0 20-10 TB
Totals: 135-229 (59%) 1,426 9 8 147-103 NO

The struggles there are clear, particularly for a player of Brady’s caliber. Even in the Buccaneers’ wins against the Saints, they’ve largely been reliant on a gameplan of going away from Brady when he’s struggled early.

So what’s happening, and what’s Dennis Allen doing that seems to have Brady so flummoxed?

For starters, the Saints have brought a relentless barrage of pressure against him, and the very good Buccaneers offensive line has struggled to protect Brady. He’s been sacked 14 times by the Saints in their meetings. When the Buccaneers won against New Orleans earlier this season, the Saints got just four pressures on Brady the entire game, a far cry from their 15 in the previous meeting.

Mike Evans vs. Marshon Lattimore

It’s difficult to explain, because Marshon Lattimore isn’t the shutdown corner he was his rookie year. But he always shows up against Mike Evans.

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Next Gen Stats tweeted this after the Saints’ playoff matchup against the Buccaneers, and it hasn’t changed in the past two seasons. Evans is regularly flustered by Lattimore, which can throw the offense off-kilter.

Because the Buccaneers are effectively playing down a man when Lattimore lines up on Evans, the Saints are able to key in on other parts of Brady’s game. Chris Godwin is constantly being surveilled by multiple members of the Saints secondary, which does Brady no favors.

A defense built for Brady

The Saints of 2020 and 2021 were perfectly equipped to deal with Brady and the Buccaneers.

For starters, they had the services of C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who has solidified his place among some of the best cornerbacks in the NFL this season.

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But when dealing with someone as quick to read defenses as Brady, the best way to win is by slowing down the run game and getting pressure without blitzing. In last year’s 9-0 game, the Saints blitzed Brady just four times over the course of the game. Brady completed three of his four pass attempts against those blitzes.

When rushing base, however, the Saints had four sacks on fourteen pressures and held Brady to a completion percentage of just 52 percent.

By getting pressure while not sacrificing coverage and taking a man off the board with Lattimore vs. Evans, it simply makes them a bad matchup for Brady. Add to that his visible frustration over the course of those games, and it’s easy to see why Brady makes more mistakes against the Saints.

The Saints as a team have struggled this year, so perhaps that trend gets bucked. But the Buccaneers have some clear issues too, so Monday’s game could be a chance to either continue them or exorcise some demons.

Either way, they’re 1-0 against the Saints this year, and they’re still atop a struggling NFC South. If the division’s struggles continue this year, this could well end up being a pivotal matchup. So the time for Brady to figure it out is now, particularly if this is in fact his last NFL season.


Credit: sportingnews.com

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