The Falcons gear up for their season finale with maybe their last ever chance to beat Tom Brady, who has absolutely owned them in his career. With each passing game against the Bucs, Tampa’s series lead advantage now grows.
Before Brady’s arrival in 2020, the Falcons owned a 28-25 lead in this head to head series, having won six out of seven meetings between 2016-2019. With Brady came a complete shift in fortune for Tampa, who have won all five meetings since 2020 to take a 30-28 lead.
Beyond the Bucs, the Falcons have been absolutely abysmal against Tom Brady himself in his career. The Birds are 0-10 overall against the former sixth-round pick from Michigan, including a devastating defeat in Super Bowl 51 — in truth, had the Falcons just held on to that game none of the other nine would really matter.
The Falcons are the team Brady has had the most success against in his career. Only Atlanta, the Vikings, Cowboys, Patriots and Buccaneers have never beaten the him, with the Birds being the only team with double digit attempts from amongst that group.
The Falcons and Buccaneers met in Week 5 of this season, both at 2-2 but each one going in a different path — Atlanta had just beaten the Seahawks and Browns following an 0-2 start while Tampa was coming off back to back defeats against the Packers and Chiefs after starting 2-0.
The Bucs were heavily favored nonetheless, and they got out to a 21-0 lead on the back of two Leonard Fournette one-yard touchdowns and two Ryan Succop field goals. They took that lead into the fourth quarter as the Atlanta offense remained perplexed and suffered a missed Younghoe Koo field goal.
Just when the game looked like it was finished, Avery Williams set the Birds up with a short field from the Tampa 43-yard-line thanks to a nice punt return, and he finished off a six-play drive with an eight-yard touchdown run to put them on the board. Atlanta did nothing but run the ball on those six plays. The Falcons’ defense got it together in the fourth, and they kept it at 21-7 before the Birds put together a 12-play touchdown drive to get back within one score.
Atlanta’s defense got another stop on the ensuing drive, on a Grady Jarrett third down sack which should have given the offense a chance to win the game with three minutes remaining. However, referee Jerome Boger and his crew called the most egregious roughing the passer penalty you will ever see to rob Atlanta of their rightful chance to win, bailing Brady and the Bucs out.