NFL

Tom Brady has 'so much left in the tank', says Bucs team-mate Scotty Miller

By Sports Desk August 08, 2022

Tom Brady's return made complete sense to Tampa Bay Buccaneers team-mate Scotty Miller, who was stunned the legendary quarterback briefly retired in the first place.

That Brady's decision to quit ahead of his 45th birthday could have come as a surprise to anyone says a great deal for his enduring quality.

Indeed, Brady, who finished the 2020 season celebrating his seventh Super Bowl success, was still setting career highs in 2021.

In no previous season had the veteran thrown (719) or completed (485) more passes for more yards (5,316) – albeit with an extra game on the slate.

Only in his 50-touchdown season of 2011 had Brady completed a greater share of his passes (67.5 per cent) or tossed more TDs (43). Brady only has three 40-touchdown seasons, with the other his first year in Tampa in 2020.

Three of his TD passes in that time have picked out wide receiver Miller, as did a 39-yard throw for a score in the NFC Championship Game in January 2021.

Injury has subsequently hindered Miller's young career, but he is delighted to get the opportunity to again link up with a quarterback who had a transformative impact after joining the Bucs at the end of the wideout's rookie season.

"[Brady's return] was awesome," Miller said. "I have so much appreciation for Tom, as we all do, and just what he has done for my career and helping me become a better player – just watching him work and how he goes about his business each and every day...

"I wasn't really expecting him to retire in the first place; that kind of shocked me, just because I know he had so much left in the tank, and he was playing at such a high level.

"And I know how competitive he is, and it would be tough for him to walk away when he's playing that well.

"When he came back, I was just super excited, super stoked to play alongside him again."

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    The Springboks could only beat Argentina 38-21 in the final match of the Rugby Championship on Saturday, and that meant New Zealand took the trophy.

    South Africa required a try-scoring bonus point plus a winning margin of at least 39 points at Kings Park in Durban, but the Pumas would not be rolled over in such a manner.

    The daunting title target for the Boks had been set when the All Blacks posted a crushing 40-14 victory against Australia earlier in the day.

    Before their 2019 World Cup win, the Boks won a three-match Rugby Championship. The 2020 championship was cancelled due to the pandemic, but the All Blacks have now carried off the title in 2021 and 2022, this time around serving to ease some of the pressure on coach Ian Foster.

    It was tight this year, with New Zealand and South Africa both winning four of six games, but the All Blacks managed one more bonus point and a superior points difference.

    Nienaber is already looking forward to November away games against Ireland, France, Italy and England, as South Africa look to gather themselves for a big push into next year. The World Cup begins in September 2023 in France.

    "We are not there yet, we need to find consistency," Nienaber said. "In that regard, we will get a good idea where we are on the end-of-year tour.

    "We play the number one [Ireland] and number two [France] in the world in the first two games of the tour. So it will be a challenging tour for us."

    South Africa had not scored 39 points in a match, let alone won by that margin, since a 40-9 defeat of Georgia in July 2021.

    They last beat Argentina by such a hefty points margin in 2013, when posting a 73-13 landslide win, but the Pumas are far more competitive nowadays, as wins over Australia and New Zealand in this championship showed.

    Nienaber said his players still felt they could pull off the improbable against Argentina when they took to the field.

    "We saw it as a realistic target, we took on the task full on," Nienaber said, quoted by Supersport. "We needed to get a 39-point winning margin to win the trophy, and we all bought into it.

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    A run of three draws in the Bundesliga for Bayern was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Augsburg before many of Nagelsmann's players headed off on national team duty.

    Bayern sit fifth after seven rounds of games, five points adrift of early pace-setters Union Berlin, and they face Bayer Leverkusen next.

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    "Above all, Julian knows that he has the full backing of FC Bayern, that doesn't have to be emphasised again and again."

    Bayern's shot conversion rate in the Bundesliga has dipped from 14.41 per cent last season to 11.8 per cent this term, and it would be easy to point to the sale of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona and suggest that has been a factor.

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    Their goal tally is closely tracking their expected goals (xG) score, and both being league highs can be interpreted as another healthy sign. Bayern have netted 19 from an xG of 17.48, so they are exceeding expectations, based on the quality of chances they have had, over the course of the seven games. Last season they finished with 97 league goals from xG of 96.67.

    A worrying sign is that Bayern have twice conceded a goal when an error has been committed, having done so only three times in the 2021-22 campaign.

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