There were only 44 seconds left on the clock, but Tom Brady wasn’t going to lose his fourth straight game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That’s all the time he needed to put together another classic game-winning drive that resulted in a much-needed Bucs victory over the Los Angeles Rams, 16-13, on Sunday afternoon.
After forcing the Rams to punt yet again – Los Angeles couldn’t get anything going after taking a 13-6 lead in the third quarter – Brady looked at the clock and knew what needed to be done. Fans have seen it before, but with the way the Buccaneers’ offense has been reeling at this point in the season, there was likely some doubt from fans.
Yet, Brady put on his hard hat and got to work.
Six plays were needed to send Tampa Bay, with no timeouts left, down the field. Set up on their own 40-yard line, Brady found tight end Cade Otton first with a 28-yard strike to get into Rams’ territory. Then, after a completion to Leonard Fournette, Brady found Scotty Miller on back-to-back plays to move up 21 more yards and get to the Rams’ seven-yard line with time to get a couple plays off.
Brady wasted no time trying for his old reliable target, Mike Evans. Though he didn’t come up with the completion, Derion Kendrick was called for defensive pass interference, and now the Bucs were really in business.
First-and-goal from the Rams’ one-yard line, Brady found Otton for a 1-yard score, and Raymond James Stadium went wild as the Bucs scored the game-winning touchdown with just nine seconds left on the clock.
It was Brady’s 55th career game-winning drive.
“That was f—ing awesome,” he said after the game.
Brady not only notched another come-from-behind win with a classic game-winning drive, he also surpassed 100,000 passing yards for his career. He entered the game with 99,836, which was already the NFL’s all-time record, and walked out with 100,116 after a 280-yard performance on 58 pass attempts.
But this game wasn’t one to remember for Brady and the Bucs until that moment. It was more of the same as the previous three games in which they struggled to get anything going, and when they did, penalties would ruin the positive momentum.
The Rams, who are struggling on the offensive side of the ball as well, didn’t come up with much. However, Cooper Kupp did score the only first-half touchdown by any team on a 69-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Though he came into this game with an ankle injury, Kupp was his usual productive self, totaling 127 yards on eight receptions with his score.
But the Rams’ run game was subpar – Darrell Henderson Jr. had 56 yards on 12 carries with L.A. totaling just 68 yards on the ground – and Stafford didn’t have too much time to let plays develop. He finished with 165 yards on 13-for-27 while being sacked four times.
The Bucs, though, had just 51 rushing yards as Leonard Fournette once again couldn’t get anything going behind his O-line. He had just 19 yards on nine carries, though he caught five passes from Brady for 41 yards.
Brady used nine different receivers in this one to do what was needed to get the win despite how sloppy it might have been.
It was just another reminder of why Brady is considered the greatest of all time: even when he looks down and out, there’s always time left for the 45-year-old to get it done.
The Bucs will be heading to Munich, Germany, to face the surprising Seattle Seahawks next week. The Rams take on the Arizona Cardinals, an NFC West foe, at home.