- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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CBS analyst Phil Simms, who will work his fourth straight Patriots game this Sunday, shares his thoughts on different aspects of this week's matchup between the Patriots and Bucs.
On Tom Brady's six-touchdown performance last week: "The evaluation of him every week is going overboard. Everybody's trying to evaluate every single one of his throws, the status of his knee -- it's endless. It's ridiculous, but that's what we all do. And, last week in those conditions, it's not the six touchdown throws. It's not the numbers. It's the physical performance that was impressive. The fact that he controlled the football, throwing it with touch, power, accuracy, and everything you want in a perfect day against a bad defense. But he also did it on one of the worst days he's probably played in, and on one of the worst fields he's ever played on. And, he still did all those things. So that's what's impressive, no matter if you're Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Dan Marino or anyone else. Confidence can never hurt an athlete's performance. So to have such an outstanding statistical game has to build his confidence."
On the winless Buccaneers: "The big thing this weekend is that it's an extremely tough matchup for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I don't just mean that because they're 0-6. I mean that just from the scheme and skill of their players. It's not a great match for them against the New England Patriots. The style that each team plays doesn't serve Tampa well. In games like this, if you're undermanned you have to find ways to make it even. I'm not saying trick plays, but changing things a little bit to hopefully catch the Patriots by surprise. Then you hope to make plays. When you're a team like Tampa, you're 0-6, you're just trying to get into the fourth quarter with the game still in doubt, and then you try to win it, or steal it or whatever phrase you want to use. To me that's going to be Tampa's game plan for this weekend."
On the NFL playing a game in London: "It is good for the game. I was there last year for CBS' game in London. The excitement is real, not only with the Americans that live over there but also all the British people that I met. Most of them were very excited and, by and large, the number one comment I got from them was 'How come there's not more.' When the game was over, we went out to eat and almost every single person in the place was coming up to us and asking questions. They wish there were more games, and one of the guys asked us, 'Why can't they just send one game over here a week?' It shows you a lot about American football. You don't have to know all the rules. No matter who you are, as you watch it, it's easy to see and sense the excitement. It's easy to understand the skill of the players and what's happening. That is why it has such a tremendous attraction."