Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady stared at the floor, his face flushed, while his teammates slowly filed out of the locker room following their 27-22 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8. Backup quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen tried to comfort him, but he was inconsolable.

Standing 15 yards from Brady, right tackle Tristan Wirfs looked on and said, “I’d love to play with him forever. I love Tom. I wish everything was going as perfect as possible for him — if it is the last year for him.”

At 3-5, the Bucs had already suffered more losses than during their entire 2021 season. It was also the first time since 2002 that Brady had lost three straight games, and it all came crashing down in front of a national audience on a Thursday night. This wasn’t at all how Brady’s “Unfinished Business” tour was supposed to go when he ended his 40-day retirement to vie for another championship.

“We’ve struggled in pretty much everything,” Brady said that night. “I don’t think you can erase what happened the last eight weeks. We’ve got to dig deep, see what we’re all about, come to work, try to improve … and give ourselves a better chance to win.”

Away from the field, Brady’s 13-year marriage was ending. The day after the loss to the Ravens, he finalized his divorce with Gisele Bundchen.

“You try to compartmentalize things and really focus on what your job is. And I think our team — there’s a lot of outside noise and I know people [say], ‘Tom, you should have retired. You should have done this, you should have done that.’ And that’s OK,” Brady said on his “Let’s Go!” podcast. … “For me, there’s always gratification when you make this commitment, and you have a group of individuals that do the same and you see something pay off.”

Fast forward to January, where Brady and the 8-9 Bucs managed to win the NFC South and squeak into the postseason. They are the fourth team in NFL history to win a division and the sixth to enter the playoffs with a losing record. It’s also the first time Brady has finished with a losing record in his 23 NFL seasons.

Yet none of that matters, as Brady makes his 14th consecutive trip to the playoffs Monday (8:15 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN+) when Tampa Bay hosts the Dallas Cowboys — a team he’s 7-0 against, 2-0 as a Buccaneer.

“Tom is tough,” coach Todd Bowles said this week. “He’s been around for a long time. There’s not a lot he hasn’t seen or been through. I don’t think every day of his career has been a great day. He’s had some rough days here and there, but he works through them, he’s resilient … he led us out of a lot of things.”

After winning his seventh Super Bowl ring in his first season with the Bucs, Brady’s hopes for an eighth were shattered in the final seconds of the divisional round by the eventual champion, Los Angeles Rams, last season.