Brady leads the Bucs to improbable victory

by Gary Shelton on November 7, 2022

in general

Brady had another comeback win./TIM WIRT

Monday, 4 a.m.

There wasn't much time left. The truth be told, there was even less hope.

Tom Brady stood 60 yards from the end zone with 44 seconds to play. He was surrounded by the disappointment of an underachieving team that had been lost again. For all a reasonable man might imagine, another Sunday had been squandered.

And, somehow, he won. Even at 45, even in a less-than-satisfying season, this is what he does.

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Brady, on a wing and a prayer (maybe several) brought the Bucs back to a 16-13 victory over the also disappointing L.A. Rams Sunday. He took the Bucs 60 yards in six plays in 35 seconds, with no time outs to win a game after it appeared the Bucs had given another one away. He hit five of six passes (missing only on a spike to stop the clock) on the winning drive for 54 yards.

It was relief for the Bucs, who had lost five of their previous six games to become one of the most scoffed-at teams in the league.

Even Sunday, the Bucs failed to cover Cooper Kubb, failed to block Aaron Donald and -- for 59:51 of the 60 minutes -- failed to score a touchdown. Once again, the struggled to run the ball, especially on short yardage. They dropped the potential touchdown in the end zone on their penultimate drive.

"That was awesome," Brady said. "It was f------ awesome. That's why we play – to get out there and win and give it all you got. Everyone was tired, [we] threw the ball a lot, pass protected against one of the great players of all time. So, guys made a lot of plays – it was great to see.”

But this time, there was Brady in the end. Brady has had his own critics this season, but this time, he lifted the Bucs on his back and carried them.


On the first play of the drive, Brady hit rookie Cade Otten for 28 yards to get the Bucs started.

On the second play, he spiked the ball to stop the clock.

On the third, he hit Leonard Fournette for four yards.

On the fourth, he hit Scotty Miller -- who had just dropped a touchdown pass -- for 14 yards.

On the fifth, he hit Miller again, this time for seven yards to the seven.

On the sixth, he threw incomplete to Mike Evans, but Evans was interfered with in the end zone, giving the Bucs a first-and-goal. The penalty does not count as a play.

On the seventh, he hit Otten for a one-yard touchdown, the first scoring pass he has thrown to a tight end this season.

It was amazing when you consider how the Bucs had avoided the end zone all afternoon. The failed on two fourth downs. They had a field goal blocked. Again, Miller dropped the ball in the end zone.

But this time, they were playing the Rams, who have struggled even more. Most of their offense was Kupp, who caught eight passes for 127 yards. Most of their defense was Donald, who constantly caved in the Bucs' line.

The Rams also ran the ball poorly, averaging just 2.8 yards per try. They had only 206 yards of offense. With a chance to run out the clock before the Bucs' touchdown drive, they could burn only 68 seconds.

In other words, both teams had plenty of chances to lose. In the end, Brady was the difference..

With the performance, Brady became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 100,000 yards. He matched Peyton Manning with his 43 fourth-quarter comebacks. He passed Manning with his 55th game-winning drive.

“We always have a chance with him," Bucs' coach Todd Bowles said. "We're grateful to have him. He still plays at a high level. We love the guy to death. You run out of things to say about him. I’m sure I can’t say anything any different than the 50 million people who have commented."

Otten's catch of the winning touchdown underscored his recent contributions to the Bucs' offense.

“Cade is huge," Bowles said. "Cade has been huge the last couple weeks, just blocking, making quality catches, making timely catches and the game not being too big for him. You know, I think he had one of those catches in preseason as well and we came right back to him. He’s developing into a good pro early in his career.”

Said Brady: “I always tell him, ‘I don’t care about dropped balls’ – I really don’t. I’d be more concerned if you don’t get open, then if you dropped the ball. I miss passes, they drop balls. I always go back to them. If they’re out there, I have confidence in them.”

The Bucs also got a good day from their defense aside from a bust against Kupp on a 69-yard touchdown pass. Aside from that, the Bucs allowed four of 15 third down conversions and allowed 137 yards of offense. The Rams got one touchdown and three field goals.

“I thought they fought hard," Bowles said. "They were very good in situational football this week. Third down, and mostly in the red zone – they were pretty good keeping them out [from getting] seven [points]. So other than that one play [or] probably two plays there, those guys played tough. They communicated all night and hats off to them – they did a heck of a job.”

The Bucs travel to Munich, Germany, Sunday to play the Seattle Seahawks.

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