Tom Brady leads Buccaneers to postseason win over Washington

TAMPA BAY Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
— REUTERS

TOM Brady threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns to propel the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-23 victory over the Washington Football Team on Saturday in an NFC wild card game.

Leonard Fournette added 132 yards from scrimmage (93 rushing, 39 receiving) and a 3-yard touchdown run for the fifth-seeded Buccaneers, who recorded their first playoff win since Super Bowl XXXVII on Jan. 26, 2003.

Tampa Bay’s next opponent will be determined by the result of the New Orleans-Chicago playoff game on Sunday. The Buccaneers would host the sixth-seeded Los Angeles Rams should the Bears win, or they’d visit the second-seeded Saints if New Orleans is victorious.

Washington’s Taylor Heinicke threw for 306 yards with a touchdown and added an 8-yard scoring scamper while starting in place of Alex Smith (calf strain).

Heinicke’s dive for the pylon trimmed Tampa Bay’s lead to 18-16 late in the third quarter, but the Buccaneers responded with Ryan Succop’s 38-yard field goal and Fournette’s touchdown run early in the fourth.

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An 11-yard touchdown reception by Steven Sims Jr. was answered by Succop’s fourth field goal, a 37-yarder, to give Tampa Bay a 31-23 lead with 2:49 to play.

Washington turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, effectively ending the game.

Succop kicked a 29-yard field goal to open the scoring, and Brady tossed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, who found a soft spot in the coverage for his fifth score in the last four games. The touchdown pass in an NFL playoff game made Brady (43 years, 159 days) to oldest accomplish the feat, eclipsing the previous mark held by Hall of Famer George Blanda (43 years, 108 days).

The extra-point attempt was blocked, however, keeping the Buccaneers’ lead at 9-0.

J.D. McKissic capped a 10-play drive by bolting up the middle for a 2-yard score, but Tampa Bay responded in short order. Chris Godwin beat one-on-one coverage from Ronald Darby for a 27-yard touchdown. and Succop added a 23-yard field goal late in the second quarter to extend the Buccaneers’ lead to 18-7. — Reuters

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