Bucs coach downplays ‘special treatment’ for Tom Brady after wedding trip for Bob Kraft – The Boston Globe

While Brady submitted a solid, if unspectacular, individual performance, the Buccaneers repeatedly bogged down as they neared the end zone and only scored one touchdown (they had four field goals) in a 20-18 loss to the underdog Steelers. The defeat, which included Brady’s failure to connect on a 2-point conversion pass attempt that would have tied the score late in the fourth quarter, dropped Tampa Bay’s record to 3-3.

Immediately after the game, Bowles told reporters Brady’s trip to New York had “absolutely not” impacted the team’s struggles in the red zone.

“He didn’t miss anything,” the coach, in his first year leading the Buccaneers, added at the time. “He had a full week of practice.”

The detour for a wedding celebration while en route to a regular-season road game became the latest instance of the Buccaneers allowing Brady to take leave from the team. The 45-year-old quarterback had an 11-day excused absence during training camp to “deal with some personal things,” as Bowles put it in August, and Brady is reportedly able to sit out at least some Wednesday practices on an ongoing basis.

On Monday, after being pressed further by reporters about potential discontent among fans or teammates over Brady’s perceived “special treatment,” Bowles replied: “He works as hard as anybody. ‘Special treatment’ — there have been a few guys that have missed meetings and some practices for some special thing that just doesn’t get publicized because they’re not him.

“It just kind of comes with the territory. You don’t worry about it too much.”

When asked if Brady is as “locked in” as he has been in the past, Bowles said simply, “Yes.”

During the loss to the previously 1-4 Steelers, who lost starting quarterback Kenny Pickett to the concussion protocols but got a good relief performance from backup Mitchell Trubisky, Brady was shown at one point yelling at members of his offensive line.

“We’re all playing less than what we’re capable of,” Brady told reporters after the defeat at the hands of a Pittsburgh squad missing standout pass-rusher T.J. Watt and several other injured members of its defense. “We’ve all got to look at ourselves in the mirror and figure out why.”

“We didn’t earn the win,” added the seven-time Super Bowl champion, whose Tampa Bay squad lost for the third time in four weeks. “It’s a game of earning it, and it’s a game of playing well and performing well, and we’re just not doing a good job of that. I don’t think we’ve done it for six weeks. I think we’re all playing less than what we’re capable of.”

Brady and the Bucs lost to Pittsburgh Sunday.Justin Berl/Associated Press

The most recent of Brady’s Super Bowl triumphs came at the end of the 2020 season, his first with the Buccaneers. Before that, he spent 20 years with New England, where he reportedly forged a close friendship with Kraft.

Among those not in attendance was Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who said in a radio appearance Monday he had been invited and planned to go but “in the end, it just was too much at the end of the week.” While Brady and the Buccaneers were struggling in Pittsburgh, Belichick’s Patriots went to Cleveland Sunday and dominated the Browns, 38-15, despite having to start fourth-round rookie Bailey Zappe in place of injured quarterback Mac Jones.

“Robert and I talked about [attending the party] a couple times . . . and we both decided the best thing for me to do was to try to get ready to beat Cleveland,” Belichick said on WEEI. “We’ll celebrate at another time, but very happy for Robert and Dana. I heard it was a very special night, so, sorry I missed it, but I know it was a great night for him.”

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