After a disappointing debut with his new team in Week 1, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up their first win of the new era on Sunday defeating the Carolina Panthers 31-17.
As so often happens, Brady and the team's ability to come out victorious in Week 2 erased the criticism of the quarterback that many had after the loss to the Saints in the opener. Looking at what Brady did against Carolina, ESPN's Max Kellerman is not ready to join that crowd yet.
Speaking on ESPN's First Take on Monday, Kellerman was unimpressed with Brady's showing.
"I said on Friday Tom Brady would be overrated. Here we are on Monday morning, and everyone is already overrating him," Kellerman said. "Tom Brady was meh. He was meh. He was okay."
Kellerman's reasoning stems from the circumstances surrounding Sunday's matchup. It was another week in which Brady was able to get more comfortable in the new offense, he was at home against one of the weaker secondaries in the league and he was coming off a loss in which head coach Bruce Arians did not mince words about his performance.
To him, that was a perfect storm, a classic "Tom Brady proving the doubters wrong game." Kellerman didn't see that come to fruition on Sunday.
Brady threw for just 217 yards and one touchdown and one interception while the defense and Leonard Fournette came up big. Brady played a part in the win, but his performance wasn't all that special.
"You beat a bad team with a bad defense, mainly with your running game and I’m supposed to be impressed?" Kellerman said. "Your head coach publicly says forget about everything else, questions your grit and determination. You’re the GOAT, everywhere you look there’s a weapon. The least experienced secondary in the league. A defensive front that’s not supposed to get pressure, and that’s all you can do?"
Though the Buccaneers offense has plenty of talent, the team was missing arguably its best receiver in Chris Godwin. Additionally, there were a few glaring drops that would have added to Brady's touchdown total. The quarterback is also trying to learn a new offense on the fly due to a shortened offseason and no preseason.
Co-host Stephen A. Smith understands where Kellerman was coming from, but when factoring in those circumstances, he believes it is fair to still give Brady the benefit of the doubt.
"There’s a lot that’s going on. We can’t judge what we’re seeing from the first two games and say this is who Tom Brady is and this is who he’s going to be in this offense," Smith said. "First of all, you have to have all of your weapons and second, and more importantly, you gotta know, OK, this is your offense, I no longer have to figure out everything."
Excuses or not, it's clear that through two weeks in 2020 the Tom Brady that NFL fans have become used to seeing over the years has yet to fully show himself. It's never wise to doubt the quarterback. It wouldn't be surprising to see him return to form sooner rather than later.
Kellerman knows that, but when looking at the stats through two weeks and what has come to be expected of a future Hall-of-Famer, he believes Brady may be getting a little more credit than he deserves.
"Was he terrible? No. but actually compared to expectations in Week 2 he severely under- performed my expectations," Kellerman said.