Move over, J.R. Smith—you have some company in the late-game brain freeze Hall of Fame.
In Thursday night's game against the Bears, the Buccaneers trailed, 20-19, with under two minutes left and no timeouts. The stage was set for Tom Brady to do his Tom Brady thing and lead his offense down the field for the game-winning score. And he might have done just that if only he had been able to maintain track of the downs.
On the drive's first play, Brady hit Mike Evans for a 12-yard gain: first down. On the next play (first down), his pass to Evans missed. Then came a four-yard completion to Ke'Shawn Vaughn on second down, which was followed by an incomplete pass intended for Rob Gronkowski on third down. Then, this happened:
That look of befuddlement is the look of a man who's just realized he's made a huge mistake. Brady tried to force a pass to a well-covered Cameron Brate on fourth down, thinking it was third down. The pass was broken up, and Brady remained on the field for several confused seconds as the reality of the situation slowly dawned on him. Chicago took over on downs and kneeled to bleed the clock and hang on for the win.
It's a bit jarring to see Brady—one of the game's all-time greats deservedly lauded for his mental preparedness—have such a severe lapse in focus during a close game's dying seconds. The road doesn't get any easier, with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers next on the schedule. But chin up, Tom: You get to play the Giants in just three weeks.