When Tom Brady walked off the field Sunday, there was only one thing on his mind.
And it had nothing to do with whether or not the 44-year-old quarterback had just played his final game in the NFL.
"Truthfully, guys, I'm thinking about this game and not thinking about anything past five minutes from now," he told reporters after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' comeback fell short in a 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round.
Reports earlier in the day said Brady was noncommittal to playing beyond this season and would take time in the offseason to contemplate retirement.
"I haven't put a lot of thought into it," Brady said after the game when questioned about returning. "So, we'll just take it day by day and see where we're at."
Brady, who has one year remaining on his contract and has previously discussed playing until he is 45, was then asked if he took a moment to soak in what could be his final time on the field.
"I was thinking about winning," Brady said. "That's kind of my mentality always, to go out there and try to win, give my team the best chance to win."
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Brady helped put the Bucs in position to win by erasing what had been a 24-point deficit. After an ugly first half that likely made retirement seem quite appealing, Brady and the Bucs scored 24 unanswered points, capped by Leonard Fournette's nine-yard touchdown run with 42 seconds to tie the score at 27-27.
But the game wasn’t tied for long. Matthew Stafford found Cooper Kupp for a 44-yard gain, setting up Matt Gay's walk-off field goal to end the Buccaneers' season.
"We were down a bunch, a lot of guys made a bunch of different plays to get us back into it," Brady said. "And they just made one more than us. Kind of back and forth. We got off to a slow start, which we certainly didn't want to do against a good football team like that who plays well from ahead. And it made us pretty one dimensional."
An epic comeback that seemed destined to be the latest addition to the storybook that has been Brady's historic career, instead may have been the final chapter.
"We certainly worked hard," Brady said. "Every team at this point does and every team is really qualified when you get to the final eight then the final four then the final two, and it doesn't feel good to lose any one of those games. And I've lost each of those stages. At the end there's only one team that’s going to be happy. It feels good to move on when you move on. Obviously, when you don't, whether it was last week or this week or next week or two weeks after that, if you're the loser in that game, it all sucks to lose in the end."