Every quarterback makes cruicial mistakes that cost their team.
But very rarely do you see Tom Brady make the crucial mistake that costs his team.
Magic Johnson wasn't the only football fan left in disbelief on Thursday night, when Brady apparently forgot that it was fourth down as the Bucs were attempting to drive down the field and put points on the board in the final minute, in an effort to escape Chicago with a win.
In what amounted into a back-and-forth tussle all night long, the Bears took a 20-19 lead on a 38-yard Cairo Santos field goal with 1:13 left in the game.
The Bucs began their next drive on their own 25-yard line, looking to at least claw their way into field goal range and take back the lead, leaving little time for Chicago to do the same.
However, five plays later, at the Tampa Bay 41-yard line, it was all over.
Brady and Tampa gained one first down on the five-play drive, and on 4th and 6, with 33 seconds to go, an incomplete pass from Brady to Cameron Brate turned the ball over on downs, allowing Chicago to run the clock out.
That's when the confusion began, as Brady didn't immediately leave the field, holding up four fingers as if to say the Buccaneers were headed for fourth down.
After the game, Brady seemed to evade the question of whether he forgot what down it was.
“Yeah I knew we needed a chunk, and I was thinking about more yardage ... It was bad execution. I mean, we had a great opportunity there. So just didn’t execute when we needed to.”
Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said that Brady knew it was fourth down, but on Friday morning, he seemed to back off that claim just a tad.
What gives? How could Brady make such a mistake?
And does the GOAT deserve grace for the rare miscue?
Skip Bayless says yes.
But Bayless was about the only one.
Shannon Sharpe disagreed with the idea that Brady's mistake was excusable based on his career track record, and also pointed out that up until that final blunder, the GOAT hadn't played up to his persona throughout the night.
"Tom Brady did not play well up until that point. The problem that Tampa Bay is going to run into – [Ronald] Jones had it going. He was running the ball quite well last night ... and what did they do? They're trying to prop Tom Brady up, make him look good [and] they're throwing, they're throwing, they're throwing."
On the night, Tampa Bay running back Ronald Jones II had 17 carries for 106 yards, an average of 6.2 yards per carry.
Brady finished the night 25-for-41 for 253 yards and one touchdown.
On Friday's edition of ESPN's First Take, Max Kellerman said Brady was completely to blame for Tampa Bay's loss to Chicago.
"The game's on the line – who's gonna be the most special? Not only did he fail to complete on third and fourth down, he clearly didn't know what down it was ... What else does 'four' mean?"
While most pundits honed in on Brady's mistakes come Friday, one former NFL star, Bart Scott, was pointing his finger at the sideline more than at the quarterback.
"With the Patriots and where he's been at before, it's never been about beating yourself. It's been about allowing the other team to beat themselves. You look at the penalties ... That's a reflection of Bruce Arians."
The Buccaneers were docked 109 yards on Thursday via 11 penalties, much to the chagrin of Brady throughout the evening.
As of Friday, the Bucs are first in the NFL in penalties per game (8.4), and in their two losses this season – on Thursday at Chicago and in Week 1 against New Orleans – they have surpassed 100 yards worth of penalties. They lost 103 yards on nine penalties against the Saints.
Tampa Bay's 410 penalty yards are the most in the NFL this season.
Next up for the Buccaneers is a matchup with undefeated Green Bay on Oct. 18.
We'll see if they can corral their tendency for blunders with nine days to prepare.