Falcons would pull off a rare feat if they upset nemesis Tom Brady, Bucs

Falcons in rare territory ahead of clash against Brady, Bucs on Sunday
FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Los Angeles...
FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game Jan. 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. Brady’s retirement lasted 40 days. He said Sunday, March 13, 2022, he is returning to the Buccaneers for his 23rd season in the NFL. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio, File)(Mark LoMoglio | AP)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 11:26 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Quarterback Tom Brady is undefeated against five NFL teams. That list includes the Atlanta Falcons. There is no other NFL team Brady has tortured more in his illustrious 22-year career. Unless you include the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, two longtime AFC East division rivals.

The greatest quarterback of all time has a 10-0 record against the Falcons, including a 4-0 record as the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a 6-0 record as the former quarterback of the New England Patriots dating back to 2001.

If the Falcons beat the Buccaneers on Sunday, it would mark the first time in franchise history they beat the 7-time Super Bowl winner. It would also mark the first time since the 2002 season that Brady lost three consecutive games. Brady and the Bucs lost to the Green Bay Packers 14-12 in Week 3 and lost 41-31 to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday.

Current Falcons Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees previously coached in New England as the defensive coordinator (2006-2009) before he joined the Patriots’ heated rivals the Baltimore Ravens. Pees has coached against Brady for several seasons with the Ravens (2012-2016), and Tennessee Titans (2018 and 2019) before serving as the defensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons in 2021. Pees knows it will take a herculean effort for this group to limit his production for 60 minutes.

With the Falcons (2-2) preparing for their biggest test of the season this Sunday against their division rivals on the road, the message is playing well in all three phases of the game.

“I think [our defense] is playing better because they’re more comfortable with the calls,” said Pees. “The more you play it, the more comfortable you become. The problems we’ve had in the game have been communication mistakes. We don’t want to beat ourselves. You can’t give teams plays. As long as we’re not doing that, we’ve got a chance.”

The Buccaneers’ offense, which has been among the top offensive units in the NFL since 2020, has struggled to move the ball and score a lot of points in 2022.

“We’ve fallen behind quite a bit and it’s been frustrating. We haven’t performed well early to keep us in the games,” said Brady. “We’re going to try to work at our best to make us a better team. 2-2 is not where we want to be and we’ve got to do a lot better.”

“It’s a division game at home against a team that’s playing good football,” said Brady. “They have a unique style and they’ve been tough to beat this year. We’ve got to play good football. And 0-2 at home that sucks. That’s the reality. There are no excuses and we’ve got to get the job done. It’s a production business. It is either win or lose.”

The Falcons also have not beaten the Buccaneers since December 2019, a year before Brady joined the team. This year’s Falcons may not have the same offensive firepower they had in 2016, but they have a different swagger. The Falcons blew a double-digit lead in week one against their division rival New Orleans Saints. However, they battled back from a 28-3 deficit before eventually losing 31-28 to the defending champion L.A. Rams. Since then, they’ve won two straight games and are tied atop the NFC South.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have been battling through injuries and regression under Todd Bowles, who previously served as the defensive coordinator. The Buccaneers do have the ability to score at will and turn it up a notch, but they have struggled in the early season.

“I think the reason everyone thinks the Buccaneers look different this season is that they’ve had a lot of guys out. If you take receivers Mike [Evans], Chris [Godwin], and tight end Cameron [Brate] out of the game, their offense looked different. But, they’re back now and we’ve got to deal with that.”

Veteran tight end Cameron Brate, receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and former Falcons receivers Julio Jones and Russell Gage have all battled injuries this season.

According to NBCsports.com, Brady’s “10 wins without a loss are the third-most of any quarterback in NFL history against one opponent, trailing only Otto Graham against the Arizona (then Chicago) Cardinals, John Elway against the New England Patriots and Andrew Luck against the Tennessee Titans.”