Sunday night, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady appeared frustrated at times during the slog of a football game. He also appeared angry at times. He appeared to be getting older at times.
However, there were six throws in overtime by Tom Brady that looked like Tom Brady. That was all the Buccaneers required.
Brady completed all six of his passes in overtime, assisting the Buccaneers to overcome a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and defeat the Arizona Cardinals 19-16 to maintain their one-game lead in the NFC South.
“We know we’ve got a shot if we keep it close in the fourth quarter,” Brady said. “I believe we’re all at ease in those situations.”
With 3:41 left in overtime, Ryan Succop hit the game-winning 40-yard field goal, capping a nine-play, 66-yard drive. Brady struggled for much of the night, but came up big on the game-winning drive, completing all six of his passes for 69 yards in a classic display of precision in crunch time.
Follow each game: NFL Scores and Schedules Up to Date
It was Brady’s 57th successful drive.
“That’s just the way he is,” Fournette explained. “He’s been doing it for a long time. Guys like myself, Mike (Evans), Julio (Jones), Chris (Godwin), Rachaad (White), and everyone else are just contributing to his greatness. Give him what he desires. He wants specific routes to be taken in specific ways.
“We’re just here to make his life easier.”
The Cardinals received the ball to begin overtime but were forced to punt. Brady connected with Russell Gage Jr. for a 23-yard gain, giving Tampa Bay the big gain it needed.
Succop’s fourth field goal of the evening came after the Bucs gained a few more yards.
Arizona (4-11) has now lost five straight games, while Tampa Bay has now won two in a row. The Buccaneers (7-8) maintained their NFC South lead over the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. Next weekend, Tampa Bay hosts Carolina in a crucial home game.
Brady, 45, was making his 331st career start at quarterback, while the Cardinals were starting Trace McSorley for the first time. The former Penn State quarterback had been the team’s third-string quarterback for much of the season, but he made his starting debut after Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy were injured.
With 10:47 left in the fourth quarter, James Conner broke free for a 22-yard touchdown run, giving the Cardinals a 16-6 lead. Brady and the Buccaneers responded with their first touchdown drive of the night, scoring when Brady hit Rachaad White on a 3-yard pass, cutting the game to 16-13 with 8:03 remaining.
The Bucs got a huge break on the next drive when Cardinals rookie Keaontay Ingram fumbled a McSorley pitch. William Gholston of Tampa Bay pounced on the loose ball.
Tampa Bay responded nine plays later with Succop’s third field goal of the night, tying the game at 16 and forcing overtime.
Brady completed 32 of 48 passes for 281 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He’s thrown at least two interceptions in three straight games, matching his career high. Fournette gained 72 yards on the ground and 90 yards on nine receptions.
“Today was a total effort, especially in the fourth quarter,” Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles said. “The defence is getting stops while the offence is cashing in.”
McSorley of Arizona was 24 of 45 for 217 yards and one interception.
“Our guys fought hard,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I thought the defence worked hard and gave us a chance. “All I wanted to do was finish offensively.”
Neither team scored in the first half, which ended in a 6-6 tie. Matt Prater of the Cardinals made field goals of 56 and 53 yards. His second, just before halftime, bounced off the left upright but still managed to sneak past the crossbar for three points.
On the first play of the game, Brady launched a deep pass down the right sideline to Julio Jones. Despite the fact that the pass was incomplete, Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton was called for pass interference, resulting in a 30-yard gain.
However, the 23-year veteran missed several other deep balls. Brady was hit on the arm as he attempted to throw a deep pass to Evans during a promising drive in the second quarter. The pass was intercepted by Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson Jr. because it was too short.
Wilson picked off two of Brady’s passes.
Buccaneers Injuries: LT During the second quarter, Josh Wells (knee) was carted off the field.
Cardinals: quarterback McCoy (concussion) and defensive end Zach Allen (hand) was one of the team’s inactives. In the second quarter, Trysten Hill (knee) was carted off.