The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are perfect in their last three games, and veteran quarterback Tom Brady should get most of the credit for their recent success, according to ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith. After a bitter 20-19 loss to the Chicago Bears, the Buccaneers are on a tear, beating the Green Bay Packers, Las Vegas Raiders, and the New York Giants. As a team sport, Smith said no player should get all the credit, adding that offense, defense, and special teams are playing as one, but he mentioned one player in particular who should get most the credit. “Who deserves the most and I’m gonna tell you it’s Tom Brady,” said Smith during Tuesday’s episode of ESPN’s “First Take”.

Smith made the pronouncement after co-host Max Kellerman claimed that Brady should not get all the credit because the Buccaneers’ defense is playing exceptionally well.

Buccaneers’ defense well-rested because of Brady

But Smith said that the Buccaneers’ defense last season was not playing so well despite having defensive coordinator Todd Bowles already on the team. Smith said from 30th against the pass last season, the Buccaneers’ defense is now 14th and they are a top 10 defense this season at No. 7. “Could it be that 30 interceptions are not being thrown, that 112 points are not given to the opposition? That ball control and moving the chains have something to do with the defense improving because they get to rest, they get to plan,” said Smith, as transcribed by the author from the show's YouTube video.

Smith credits Brady’s leadership

The analyst said the defense had to cover for the mistakes of quarterback Jameis Winston, who committed 30 interceptions last season that doomed the Buccaneers’ playoff hopes. “At this time last year, Winston had 14, 15 interceptions already. Brady has 20 touchdowns and four interceptions.

He’s completed 66 percent of his passes,” Smith pointed out. While there are many players who contribute to the Buccaneers’ success, Smith said Brady’s exceptional play, leadership, and experience are keys to the Buccaneers’ success. Smith said Brady’s ability to lead and maximize the potential around him are reasons enough to give him more credit for the team’s good run.

The Buccaneers are now 6-2, first in the NFC South, behind Brady’s performance in their 25-23 win over the Giants. Many analysts are saying that Brady is in the conversation for the Most Valuable Player award this season. Brady threw two touchdown passes to help the Buccaneers escape with a tight win over the Giants.

Buccaneers improve in rankings

After recording three straight wins, the Buccaneers have improved in various NFL power rankings, per the team’s official website. According to CBSSports.com, the Buccaneer improved to No. 4 from No. 4 last week, behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Seattle Seahawks. USA Today’s ranking has the Buccaneers also at No. 4, from fifth last week.

ESPN also has Tampa Bay at fourth from No. 7 last week. On NFL.com, the Buccaneers kept their No. 3 ranking while they remained No. 4 on Yahoo! Sports ranking. The Buccaneers will play the New Orleans Saints in Week 9.

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