Patriots

Belichick credits son Steve for role in slowing down Tom Brady

Patriots

Tom Brady saw Bill Belichick and the Patriots' defense torture opposing NFL quarterbacks for 20 years in New England.

On Sunday, Brady experienced what it was like trying to outsmart that defense -- led by not one but two Belichicks.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers eked out a 19-17 win over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium despite Brady completing just 51.2% (22 for 43) of his passes -- his lowest completion rate in a game since Week 12 of the 2019 season -- for 269 yards and no touchdowns.

Brady was averaging an NFL-best 362.3 passing yards entering Sunday's game, so New England's pass defense performed admirably to keep the legendary quarterback in check. The following morning, Belichick credited his son, Steve Belichick, for his role in limiting Brady.

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"We tried to mix it up on him," Belichick said on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show." "I think Steve did a great job of that with the defensive play-calling, and the players played hard, played well. They have a very good offense. They threw the ball well, ran it well and were efficient. They were just a little bit better than we were last night.

"Tried to give their offense some different looks, but Tom did a good job spreading the ball around. But we covered competitively and we held them to some field goals. We all know it's tough to throw the ball in the red area, there's just less space, and I thought our guys defended it pretty well."

 

Steve Belichick's official title in New England is outside linebackers coach, but he's also the Patriots' de facto defensive coordinator who calls their defensive plays. Steve has served in that role since 2019 when Brian Flores left to coach the Miami Dolphins, and Sunday night was evidence that he has some talent in that area.

"They did a good job," Brady said in his postgame press conference of the Patriots' defense. "They got a good team, good cover players. They got a good rush. Got some good hits on me tonight, so I'll be a little sore tomorrow."

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Despite the Belichicks' best efforts, Brady still played well enough to defeat his former team, playing mostly conservative, turnover-free football in rainy conditions and relying on the Bucs' run game -- 30 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown -- to move the ball.

So, while Steve and Bill Belichick both deserve credit for making life hard on their former quarterback, their focus will quickly turn to improving their 1-3 record next Sunday with a bounce-back game against the Houston Texans.