-Quarterback Tom Brady was nominated for FedEx Air Player of the Week… again. That's his third time this season and it comes after he only played a single half of Saturday's game in Detroit. Two quarters and he racked up 348 yards passing with four touchdowns. He led five scoring drives in that span. He finished with a perfect 158.3 passer rating. It was a complete trouncing by the Buccaneer offense that continued into the second half with backup Blaine Gabbert taking over the reins with Brady's job done. Brady also got Mike Evans to 120 yards and a touchdown that matched his single-season career-high. Evans is gunning for 1,000 yards for his seventh straight season to start his career, which would be the most of any player in NFL history. Brady knew that and got him a heck of a lot closer.
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-Head Coach Bruce Arians spoke to the media on Monday where he was asked about what's next for the Buccaneers now that they've punched their ticket to the postseason. There's one game left, after all. With the Los Angeles Rams Week 16 loss, the path to the five-seed has become less muddled. But for Arians, it's not as much about the seeding as it is about pride and the Bucs' record.
"We're going to play to win," said Arians. "Eleven and five, that's very rare. To have a chance to get to 11-5, keep that seeding – we want that seeding just for pride. We don't care who we play, it's more for pride. I'd probably have to beat some guys in the head with a stick to try and get them not to play anyway. I talked to them about it before and [they said], 'I'm playing.' We're going to practice and play like everything depends on it. It's not going to be an easy game, either."
It also seems like the Bucs are getting hot at just the right time. Their trouncing of the Lions was just as much about the win as it was style points. It showed both sides of the ball have the ability to play up to their potential at the same time and that potential is off the charts. And the consistency may simply be due to continuity and a multitude of experience on the roster.
"I said it last week – it was a different aura at practice last week," said Arians. "Even with Christmas, you could feel it. You could feel the want and desire of Lavonte [David] and those guys, but you could feel the Brady's, the Gronk's (Rob Gronkowski) and A.B. (Antonio Brown) also. [Ndamukong] Suh turning it up a notch and those guys felt it. They know, 'Hey, these guys [have] been there and done it. I'm with you.' I think it's an invaluable thing to have these veteran guys who have been there and done it. It's one thing for a coach, 'Hey, I've got a couple of rings.' But, it isn't like Tom, Gronk and guys that are in the trenches with them. It's different when you're in that locker room."
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