During the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ six-game winning streak after the bye week, one noticeable thing about veteran quarterback Tom Brady is his deep throws, which he struggled within the early part of the season. Early in the season, Brady had difficulty adjusting to head coach Bruce Arians’ penchant for the deep balls as he is known in his career as an intermediate passer. In his first 12 games, Brady completed just 28.1 percent of his passes that traveled 20-plus yards in the air, per Gary Gramling of Sports Illustrated. Because of this, the Buccaneers’ playoff chances became bleak with just a 7-5 mark.

However, Brady regained his arm strength and accuracy just in time. He completed 59.1 percent of his deep passes in the final four games of the season, enough to carry the Buccaneers to their first postseason appearance in 2007. In the regular season, Brady finished first in deep completions with 36 passes going 20 or more yards downfield, ahead of the 32 completions by Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. That resulted in 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns, all good for second behind Rodgers’ 1,242 yards and 12 touchdowns from deep passes, per Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated.

Gronk talks to Brady about overthrown pass

During the tight end Rob Gronkowski’s press conference on Thursday, the issue about Brady’s long ball was brought up after the quarterback’s deep pass sailed over the tight end’s head in their 30-20 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

After the game, Gronkowski said he talked to Brady about it. “He told me I was running too slow, so that’s why the ball was overthrown,” Gronkowski said, per a report by Tom Westerholm of Boston.com. “I told him he’s just got to stop working out because his arms are too strong, and he can’t read my speed,” added Gronkowski.

Gronkowski says deep balls are game-changers

The veteran tight end turned serious on the issue, saying he must connect with Brady on deep balls as they could turn into a “game-changer play if you hit one of those.” “We have to hit those coming up,” said Gronkowski, who has yet to catch a pass from Brady in the postseason. Brady and Gronkowski are out to make history this postseason as they try to clinch the all-time playoff record for most touchdown connections by a duo.

They can make another run at the record when they take on the Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field.

In their nine years together with the New England Patriots, Brady and Gronkowski connected for 12 touchdowns in the postseason, tied with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Despite being out in the NFL for one season due to his retirement, Gronkowski caught 45 catches for 623 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season. Gronkowski cut short his retirement and joined Brady in Tampa Bay after the quarterback signed a two-year deal worth $50 million in the offseason.

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