This is one of the first rules you learned when you are taken to the backyard and taught how to play football:
You can only throw one forward pass each play.
On Monday night, Tom Brady tried to escape by breaking that rule. And in a way, it worked.
In the opening matches of Tampa Bay’s fourth quarter against the Rams of Los Angeles, Brady’s Buccaneers finished third and 10th at the 34-yard line. Brady threw in the middle, but the ball was stopped by linebacker Teryl Lewis at scrimmage.
A lot of good things have happened in Tom Brady’s life, and here came another. The deflected ball, which could go in almost any direction, went directly to him. Brady reacted with lightning speed, snatching the carrom from the air and … passed the ball again?
Yes, perhaps due to a brain freeze, or perhaps because he thought no one would notice, Brady tried the second pass of the play. This is a violation of the NFL, Canadian Football League rules and just about every type of football held under your cousin’s youth league.
Brady’s second pass to Mike Evans was completed, but officials were not short of impressed. The flags flew, and Brady was called for punishment.
but wait. Evans was brought 2 yards short of the first down. So with the Buccaneers now facing fourth-and-2, Ramus declined the penalty. The play, and the double completed pass, stood.
NFL Drive chart Rarely make for interesting reading, but it will be forever. Near the beginning of the fourth quarter, this is exactly what happened to the dry notes:
“T. Brady passes the T-25 to the TB25 for short mid-9 yards. T.Brady T. from 8 yards. E. Short for 42 passes for M.Evans. “
It is noted that “statistically, the disallowed penalty resulted in no completion for the first pass.” So Brady, at least, would have spared the negative yardage on catches, which would have only reduced his own passing.
This was not the first time that 43-year-old Brady was struggling with a football rule after joining Tampa Bay this year. In October, he appeared to be losing track of one about allowing four downs to each series. After failing to convert the fourth over against the Bears, he remained on the field and Held four fingers As if he thought he had another play.
The Buccaneers lost that game, and they also lost 27–24 on Monday night. But at 7-4, they’re still in. Driver seat for playoff berth.
If Tampa Bay makes the postson, Brady needs to remember that football rules apply there as well.