There has been a lot made about Brady’s struggles in prime time this season, complete with jokes about his age. The jokes were strong when Brady forgot it was fourth down in a loss to the Chicago Bears.
Brady and the Buccaneers try again in prime time when they host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night, a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app. The Buccaneers are 1-2 in prime time, and the win was a near escape against a bad New York Giants team. Tampa Bay is 6-1 when they kick off during the day.
There has been eye-rolling over the notion that there’s something behind Brady’s age, sleep habits and his play tanking at night. Could it be possible?
Tom Brady hasn’t been the same at night
Brady’s sleep habits, going to bed by 8:30 p.m. and waking up early, have been public knowledge for years.
The Patriots played on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights plenty through Brady’s career, and they won most of those games. Brady has always done well under the lights. There’s probably nothing to his issues in prime time this season beyond random variance. However, the Patriots lost their last three night games last season too, including a defeat to the Tennessee Titans in the wild-card round. Between Brady’s last 20 starts, his teams are 11-3 during the day and 1-5 at night.
There’s more to wins and losses than simply the quarterback, but Brady hasn’t been at his best in prime time this season.
Normal Sunday kickoffs (seven games): 179-of-266, 1,998 yards, 20 TDs, 4 INTs, 108.3 rating
Night kickoffs (three games): 75-of-119, 741 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 78.5 rating
It’s all probably dumb and using small samples to connect the dots on a humorous narrative about a 43-year-old quarterback. But maybe there’s a little something to asking someone to compete at the highest level of sports after he’s usually in bed.
Buccaneers change their practice schedule
Whatever is behind the Buccaneers looking like a different team in prime time, Tampa coach Bruce Arians has noticed. He said the Bucs in prime time has been a combination of “Bad football [and] not being ready to play.”
To change it up, Arians said he’d alter the schedule and have the team practice at night.
"We've got to try something because we've had really, really poor starts in night ballgames,” Arians said. “We're going to try practicing at that game time [on] Friday and Saturday night [and] do some more stuff, actually, Monday morning than we've been doing. We've got to try something, so luckily we have an indoor facility and we can work at night. We're going to do that and hopefully get a better result to start a ballgame at night."
Brady is one of the NFL’s greatest clutch performers, typically doing his best work when the spotlight is the brightest. That hasn’t been the case this season. Brady and the Bucs better figure it out, because the NFL won’t change kickoff times to accommodate Brady’s bedtime.
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