-Quarterback Tom Brady has done a lot of things in his 21-year NFL career. But this week he did something for the first time. Sort of.
After throwing for 369 yards and five touchdowns to five different receivers in the Buccaneers' home win over the Chargers, Brady was named Offensive Player of the Week.
Now, Brady actually has the record for player of the week awards, having amassed 30 while with the New England Patriots. However, the Patriots are in the AFC. Brady is now in the NFC and up against a completely different crop of talent for the award. Therefore, this week marked the very first time Brady won NFC Player of the Week. Yes, he has now done so in both conferences.
It's worth noting that Brady was also voted the FedEx Air Player of the Week. Not a first, but a first with the Buccaneers, I suppose. And only the second quarterback in franchise history to win both awards in the sae week.
Not done with firsts for the week, the Buccaneers will be appearing on primetime for the first of five appearances on Thursday night. This will be the first time Brady will don a different jersey on a national stage in the NFL. The Bucs will be wearing white, in case you were wondering. And I for one, can't wait to see what it looks like under the lights.
View photos of the Buccaneers departing for their Week 5 matchup against the Bears in Chicago.
-There are a few Chicago connections on the roster that will want to have good performances in their hometown, even if it's not in front of their hometown crowd. It probably starts with tight end Cameron Brate, a Naperville native, who will likely see an increased role due to a season-ending injury to O.J. Howard suffered last game. Brate was with Tampa Bay on their last trip to the Windy City, though no one really wants to remember that game. Brate included.
They'll be facing a formidable opponent in the Bears and especially going against the Chicago defense, led by guys like defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
"They're a team that's kind of built on the defensive side of the football," said Brate, who grew up in Bears country. "Their front seven is very good. They've got a bunch of good players across the board – guys who can really rush the passer and also some big guys up the middle who can stop the run. It's definitely going to be a challenge for us in a bunch of different facets. We're going to see who is going to be ready for the game on Thursday night – we might be down some people. It will be a good opportunity for a lot of guys, but obviously [they have] Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks [and Robert] Quinn as defensive linemen, so we're going to have to stop those guys if we are going to want to run or pass the ball. Schematically, they're pretty similar to some of the teams we've faced, so we're just going to have to stop their big-name players and I think we will be all right."
Miller, a Barrington native, was limited in practice all this week and officially has a 'questionable' designation as he battles through some lingering injuries. He had a career-high 83 yards on five catches and scored a touchdown immediately after connecting with Brady on a 44-yard deep ball. It was a two-play, 63-yard drive that was all Miller. He'll want to show out again in his first trip to Sweet Home Chicago.
Defensive lineman Pat O'Connor, who blocked a punt against the Panthers in Week Two, is from the southside of Chicago and attended St. Rita high school.
I'd be remiss not to mention that your girl is a Chicagoland native, too. I grew up outside the city and lived on the north side before coming to the Bucs. Don't worry, it's still #GoBucs for all of the above, myself included, Thursday night.