Tom Brady has won 238 games as a starter in his career. With his Week 4 win over his former team, the New England Patriots, he has now beat all 32 NFL teams. Some victories are extra special for the 22-year veteran, though. This fact was on display after his Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat his longtime rival, the Indianapolis Colts. Even a decade after the importance of the rivalry to the NFL has faded, it’s still a big game for Brady.
Tom Brady beat his old rival, the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday
One of the best teams in the NFC faced off against one of the hottest teams in the AFC on Sunday as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveled to Indiana to play the Indianapolis Colts.
It was a battle of the league’s leading rusher, Jonathan Taylor, coming off a massive performance in Week 11 vs. the No. 1 rushing defense of Tampa Bay.
The game lived up to its billing.
It was a back-and-forth affair where the Colts took a 3-0 lead and built a 24-14 margin at halftime. The Bucs came storming back, taking a 31-24 lead before Indy tied it at 31 with less than four minutes left.
Finally, the overlooked star RB in the matchup, Leonard Fournette, put his mark on the game — and maybe the season — by rumbling 28 yards, running over Colts defenders, and scoring the game-winning TD with 20 seconds left.
The win was big for Brady and the Buccaneers. It took their record to 8-3, keeping pace with the Arizona Cardinals (9-2) and Green Bay Packers (9-3).
Despite the fact that it was a mid-season game against a non-conference opponent, the Colts game also seemed to be big for Brady personally, and he admitted as much both in his postgame press conference and during his weekly podcast.
Years removed from the rivalry, Brady still enjoys beating the Colts
Some TB12 wins probably mean a little less than others because of how many times he’s beat those teams. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets fall into this category. He’s bested these two franchises 32 and 30 times, respectively.
Some wins mean more, though.
During the first 10 years of his career, Brady’s biggest rival was Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
Now, even a decade removed from Manning playing his last game with the AFC South organization, Brady still loves beating the Colts.
In his postgame presser, a reporter asked Brady if “it’s still a thrill to beat Indianapolis?” Brady responded, “Oh yeah. Absolutely. Not a lot of love lost, I think. So, it’s good to win.” He immediately snapped back into TB12 mode, praising the team win, but not until after revealing his true feelings.
Then, on his weekly podcast, Let’s Go! with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray, the usually cool QB went even further. He told Jim Gray:
I think I’ve beat the Colts the last nine times I’ve played them. It was great to win in Indy. It turns out that horseshoe on their helmet isn’t as lucky as it seems. It really sucks for them, but not for us. … It’s great to beat the Colts always. I’ve had, obviously, quite a history with them. I loved when Peyton was there. It was pretty tough to beat them when Peyton was there, and he was their quarterback.Tom Brady on the Indianapolis Colts
Brady is clearly leaving Week 12 feeling good, thanks to beating the Colts. Could he leave the 2022 season the same way?
Could the Buccaneers and Colts play again in the Super Bowl?
Due to the realities of the NFL schedule, there is a possibility that Sunday’s game was the last time Tom Brady will ever play the Colts. However, with the way these two teams are playing, there is always a chance they could meet in the Super Bowl.
Right now, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl can’t happen. The Colts are currently out of the AFC playoffs at 6-6. They are a half-game behind the 6-4 Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders.
Those three teams are all in the AFC West, though, and each plays the other one more time. The Colts also play the Raiders in Week 17. Indianapolis’ playoff chances are currently at 53%, per FiveThirtyEight. If they beat Vegas, that number jumps to 63%, and if they win out, they’re in.
As for the Buccaneers, just winning two of their last six likely puts them in the playoffs. Once they’re in, Brady’s squad is the betting favorite in many sportsbooks, including BetMGM (h/t NJ.com) to win the whole thing at +500.
A Brady/Indy 2021 Super Bowl rematch is still a bit of a long shot. Indy would have to get hot in the regular season, and Tampa would have to navigate some semblance of the Packers/Cardinals/Rams gauntlet in the playoffs, but it is possible.
It would surely be sweet for the legend if Brady could both beat the Colts and win another ring in 2021.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference