Brady leads Bucs to playoffs

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/27 16:43:40

Veteran QB records biggest half of career in 300th NFL game

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass in the game against the Detroit Lions on Saturday in Detroit. Photo: AFP

Tom Brady threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns in the first half on Saturday to power Tampa Bay to a 47-7 win over Detroit and lift the Buccaneers into the NFL playoffs.

The 43-year-old quarterback, who joined the Bucs this year after 20 campaigns and six Super Bowl crowns with New England, delivered one of his greatest one-half efforts before being benched to put Tampa Bay into the postseason for the first time since 2007.

"We played pretty good in the first half," Brady said. "Good execution. Guys were making plays for me all over the field. It was just a great effort by the whole team."

The Buccaneers led 34-0 at halftime on the way to improving to 10-5, securing an NFL wild-card berth while the already eliminated Lions slid to 5-10.

Brady, who completed 22 of 27 throws, set a first-half career best and club record in passing yardage and the four touchdown passes were his most in a first half since 2014.

Brady's 36 passing touchdowns this season are a Bucs record and enabled his new club to reach the playoffs - a feat his old team, the Patriots, failed to manage this year.

The Buccaneers set a team record with 410 total yards in the first half, the most by any NFL club in a decade.

In his 300th career NFL game, Brady threw touchdown strikes of 33 yards to former New England teammate Rob Gronkowski, 27 yards to Mike Evans, 12 yards to Antonio Brown and 7 yards to Chris Godwin.

Leonard Fournette added a ­four-yard touchdown run in the first half and Brady's backup Blaine ­Gabbert added third-quarter touchdown passes of 25 yards to Gronkowski and 22 yards to Evans in the rout.

"When we do play the way we're capable of playing, we're tough to beat," Brady said. "We have to learn to do it more consistently."

Evans, who had 10 catches for 181 yards, broke his own one-season touchdown reception record with 13 on his second-half scoring catch.

The Lions avoided a shutout when Jamal Agnew returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Detroit was hampered by a right ankle injury to quarterback Matthew Stafford in the first quarter.

The Lions were already starting with five coaches sidelined by ­COVID-19 and contact tracing, with wide receivers coach Robert Prince serving as acting head coach.

The Bucs became the seventh NFL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle in the NFC plus Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Buffalo in the AFC.

The San Francisco 49ers delivered a setback to Arizona's hopes for a first postseason berth since 2015 by defeating the host Cardinals 20-12.

C.J. Beathard threw three touchdown passes for the 49ers (6-9), who have been eliminated from the playoff hunt.

Chicago (7-7) can deny Arizona (8-7) a playoff spot by beating Jacksonville (1-13) on Sunday and Green Bay (11-3) next week.


blog comments powered by Disqus