Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday for the fourth time since the two joined forces in March of 2020, but for the first time Drew Brees wasn't the quarterback on the other side. Brees retired this past offseason so he wasn't part of the Saints' 36-27 win over the Buccaneers, but he was part of the latest bit of history that Brady made.
Brady's four touchdown passes in the Superdome on Sunday briefly gave the Buccaneers a fourth-quarter lead before the Saints stormed back for the victory. It marked the 38th time that Brady has thrown at least four touchdown passes in a game, the most in NFL history. He had previously shared the record with Brees.
Most Career Games with Four-Plus Touchdown Passes
Nine of Brady's four-touchdown games have come since he became a Buccaneer, in a total of just 24 regular-season games. That is already the franchise record for most such outings.
Most Games with Four-Plus Touchdown Passes, Buccaneers History
Sunday's game marked the first time the Buccaneers have lost in which Brady has thrown for touchdowns for them. Overall, Brady's teams are 37-2 when he reaches that mark.
Brady also has the most games with four-plus touchdown passes in the NFL over the past two seasons.
Most Games with Four-Plus Touchdown Passes, NFL, 2020-21
The other record that Brady took for himself after sharing it for one week with Brees is basically a subset of the first one, since every game with four-plus touchdown passes is also one with three-plus touchdown passes. Brady is closing in on triple digits in that category, something nobody has ever done.
Most Career Games with Three-Plus Touchdown Passes
Brady also continues to lead the NFL in both touchdown passes and passing yards after combining his quartet of scoring tosses on Sunday with another 375 yards. His totals in both categories are also the most any Tampa Bay passer has ever had through the first eight games of a season.
2021 NFL Leaders in Touchdown Passes
|3 tied w/||17|
2021 NFL Leaders in Passing Yards
(* Mahomes plays on Monday night; he is also sixth in passing yards with 2,093.)
In 2007, while playing with the Patriots, Brady threw 30 touchdown passes in the first eight games of New England's season, on his way to the first 50-TD season in NFL history (and still one of just three). Brady has not matched that eight-game output in 2021 but his total is still the sixth-most in NFL history.
Most Touchdown Passes, First Eight Games of a Season, NFL History
Brady has more than half of the season left to build on his touchdown total, but he's already reached 25 for the 16th time in his career. Only he and Peyton Manning have achieved that feat as many times.
Brady spread his four touchdowns on Sunday around to four different players – Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Giovani Bernard and Cyril Grayson – and all of them had some sort of secondary significance, as well. In terms of Bucs history, the most significant was the 41-yarder to Evans in the third quarter. Evans' inexorable climb to the top of Buccaneer Touchdown Mountain is nearly complete.
Most Total Touchdowns, Buccaneers History
|Warrick Dunn||RB||1997-2001; 08||28|
As can also be found in the chart above, Godwin is making his way up that same list. His 12-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter on Sunday was the 29th score of his career, tying him with teammate Cam Brate and Joey Galloway for sixth on the list. Godwin is also now tied with Galloway for fifth in team history touchdown receptions, specifically (one of his 29 was a rushing score).
Most Touchdown Receptions, Buccaneers History
Evans' latest touchdown catch is his 21st since the beginning of the Brady Era, which has now moved him into a tie for the most in the entire NFL over the past two seasons.
Most Touchdown Receptions, NFL, 2020-21
Evans also has the most touchdown catches in the NFL since he entered the league in 2014.
Most Touchdown Receptions, NFL, 2014-21
Bernard's touchdown catch, a seven-yarder in the third quarter, was his third of 2021, his first season as a Buccaneer. Bernard is the first Tampa Bay running back to catch at least three scoring passes in a season since 2015, and he's only one of the team's single-season record for his position.
Most Touchdown Receptions, Single-Season, Running Back, Buccaneers History
|Running Back||Seasons||TD Recs.|
Finally, Grayson's 50-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter was notable because it was the first score of his career and just his second catch in the NFL. His first was a three-yarder in 2019. Grayson also became the 87th player to haul in a touchdown pass thrown by Tom Brady, and the 90th to do so counting the postseason.
Godwin caught seven other passes in Sunday's game, ending the contest with a team-leading 140 yards. The first of those eight grabs gave him sole possession of seventh place on the Bucs' all-time receptions list, and the last one put him just four shy of sixth place.
Most Receptions, Buccaneers History
|4.||Warrick Dunn||1997-2001; 08||306|
Godwin cracked 100 receiving yards for the second game in a row and the third time overall in 2021. He needs just one more 100-yard game to tie for second on that list in Buccaneer annals.
Most 100-Yard Receiving Games, Buccaneers History
Tampa Bay's defense didn't have its best game of the season, failing to produce a takeaway for just the second time in 2021 and recording just one sack. However, that sack belonged to Ndamukong Suh, who got his second one of the season to give him 66.5 in his career, which began in 2010. That's the third-most in the NFL by a defensive tackle since Suh entered the league.
Most Sacks by a Defensive Tackle, NFL, 2010-21
Tampa Bay's defense did break up five passes on the afternoon in the Superdome. Two of those belonged to outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul. Like Suh, Pierre-Paul was drafted in the first round in 2010; Suh went second and Pierre-Paul 15th. Since then, Pierre-Paul has proved adept at deflecting passes. Excluding defensive backs, he is tied for the fifth most passes defensed in the NFL since 2010.
Most Passes Defensed, Non-Defensive Backs, NFL, 2010-21