NEW ORLINE – Tom Brady and Drew Bryce will actually do something next week that they have never achieved in their NFL history: face each other in a playoff game.
The runners-up New Orleans Saints will host the fifth seed of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the finals of the divisional round next weekend on Sunday afternoon.
“I guess that was inevitable,” said Bryce, who said he knew the Buccaneers would be an important rival after Brady decided to migrate to NFC South last offseason. “Listen, the minute he signed with Bucs and entered the division, you felt it was going to be a team to fight with. It’s going to be a team that has aspirations for the playoffs and more, just like us. “
Breeze, who will turn 42 on Friday and is expected to consider retiring after this season, said: “I don̵
The Saints, who became the first team to ever sweep the NFC South division in the regular season, outscored Brady and Bucks in their first two games – a 34-23 win in New Orleans in Week 1 and a stunning, Ruth 38-3 in Tampa in week 9.
Breeze and 43-year-old Brady became the first pair of quarterbacks to ever start against each other over the age of 40 in an NFL game in those first two games. Now they will be the first to do so in a playoff game.
In fact, their rivalry spans four decades, dating back to the time when Brady’s Michigan Wolverines exploded Brees’ Purdue boiler manufacturers in 1999.
Brees has actually won five of his seven NFL career games – and Brees is ranked No. 1 in league transfer history. However, Brady ranks first in his career and has the best microphone drop when it comes to Super Bowl rings (six to one).
Brady and Buchaniers were in a hot series recently, winning five in a row, including a 31-23 wild card victory on Saturday night at the Washington football team.
But the Brees and the Saints offense hopes to reach the top of the playoffs after receiving wide receivers Michael Thomas and Deont Harris from the injured reserve and running Alvin Camara from the reserve / COVID-19 roster in time to win on Sunday with 21-9 with a wild card over the visiting Chicago Bears.
Thomas caught five passes for 73 yards and his first touch of the season after being limited to just seven games of the regular season with a sore ankle injury. Bryce and Thomas had played a total of only 10 quarters together in the regular season, thanks to Bryce missing four of his 11- to 14-week games with a punctured lung and 11 broken ribs.
“It was great [to get Thomas back]. It was great to put him in the end zone. We hope we broke the seal and there’s a lot more to where this came from, “said Bryce, who threw 265 yards and two TDs on Sunday, but acknowledged the breach had room for improvement after scoring just seven points in the first 40 minutes.
“Listen, we have work to do,” Breeze said. “I think it’s still the first time we’ve brought everyone together again. We hope we understand each other [wideout] Tre’Quan Smith returned this week. There is so much time and rhythm entering the passing game and so many small nuances of such things. “
Chamber is running for 99 yards and TD, although he has not been allowed to train with the team all week. But he said he felt as if he had “missed a beat” after barely experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and began following the Saints’ practices through a live video with busy coaches.
Kamara said he and Bryce sent messages and talked during the week about the nuances of the game plan.
“I got goodbye for the first round. I got goodbye for a week,” joked Kamara, who was unable to play in week 17 after testing positive for coronavirus late last week. “So it helps, obviously, just by spending that time. You have no choice but to sit back and recover and something like get your body back right. So I felt good there today.
“For me, it didn’t really affect me too much. Just discarded taste and smell. No real side effects, no real symptoms. I felt good there today. The wind wasn’t really affected. Thank God for health. It was just something that I had to do it. “