State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, is the location of one in every of Tom Brady’s biggest comebacks. Tremendous Bowl XLIX in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks, maybe most well-known because the “Malcolm Butler recreation.”
Whereas Sunday night time’s tilt in opposition to the Arizona Cardinals was not a Tremendous Bowl, and it didn’t come in opposition to the Legion of Increase, it’s one other merchandise on the lengthy checklist of the quarterback’s comeback efforts.
And it may need gone a good distance in the direction of preserving any Tremendous Bowl aspirations alive.
After Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell behind Hint McSorley and the Cardinals by a rating of 16-6 within the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay discovered a solution to get the sport tied, and after their protection compelled a punt from Arizona at first of time beyond regulation, Brady and the offense had been capable of pull out the win in OT by a closing rating of 19-16.
For the primary three quarters of the sport, Brady regarded misplaced, and the jokes had been flying on social media. The veteran QB threw a pair of interceptions, with Marco Wilson selecting his pocket on each performs, and the Buccaneers offense was struggling to get something going. In case you had been questioning, the working title for this piece was “Tom Brady got here again to lose to Hint McSorley? Actually?”
However earlier than we might refine that headline within the SB Nation slack, the whole lot modified.
Going through the ten-point deficit, the Buccaneers went into hurry-up mode, and all of the sudden their offense confirmed indicators of life. Tampa Bay put collectively a seven-play drive that culminated of their first landing of the night time, a brief throw from Brady to rookie working again Rachaad White:
The large play on the drive, nonetheless, was the primary play. On this designed swing display screen to Leonard Fournette, the working again picks up a three-man convoy and rips off a 44-yard acquire, getting Tampa Bay deep into Cardinals’ territory:
Maintain this design behind your thoughts…
The White landing solely lower Arizona’s result in 16-13, and that gave McSorley and the Cardinals probability to maybe ice the sport with a textbook four-minute drive on offense. However with Arizona dealing with a third and 1, the Tampa Bay protection took benefit of an offensive miscue, getting Brady the soccer again:
McSorley pitches the ball to Keaontay Ingram, however the ball hits the turf at State Farm Stadium. William Gholston pounces on the unfastened ball, giving Brady and the offense nice beginning place for his or her ensuing possession. Sadly for Tampa Bay, their subsequent drive sputtered simply outdoors the crimson zone. Ryan Succop managed to transform from 42 yards out to knot the sport at 16, however there was time left for Arizona to maybe pull out the win within the closing minutes.
Tampa Bay’s protection stood tall once more, forcing a three-and-out on the subsequent Cardinals possession. The stage was set for an additional Brady game-winning comeback.
Tampa Bay took over on the 34-yard line after the Arizona punt, and after an incompletion, Brady linked with rookie tight finish Cade Otton on an out route for a even-yard acquire. That arrange a vital third and three. With maybe the best quarterback in NFL historical past on the helm, the Buccaneers…handed the ball to Fournette.
Who was stopped in need of the first-down marker.
Arizona took their closing timeout with 55 seconds left, giving themselves yet one more probability to steal the win in the long run. A completion to James Conner — that includes a powerful run after the catch from the RB — obtained the Cardinals in place for a a Hail Mary, however McSorley’s desperation heave was intercepted, and the groups headed to time beyond regulation.
Arizona received the toss, and elected to obtain. McSorley opened the additional body seeking to throw off of a boot-action design, however his try was practically intercepted. A loss on second down pushed the Cardinals into a third and lengthy.
Brady may need began to get able to take the sector, however he can be pressure to take a seat again down for a minute. McSorley linked with Marquise Brown to maneuver the chains. McSorley’s throw was low, however Brown was capable of put it in whereas diving to the turf, and the Cardinals had a recent set of downs.
Forcing Brady again into spectator mode.
Nonetheless, that solitary first down is all of the Cardinals might handle on offense. Arizona finally punted, and the Buccaneers took over on their very own 12-yard line, needing only a Succop discipline aim to tug out the win. The Buccaneers picked up a primary down, and that’s when Byron Leftwich dialed up the large shot play.
Keep in mind that swing display screen to Fournette from the fourth quarter?
Brady pumps on the faux swing display screen to Fournette — exhibiting Arizona the large play from earlier within the recreation — earlier than trying deep. The receivers launch slowly off the road, as if they will block as they did earlier within the recreation, however then break vertically. The QB appears to be like to Russell Gage and places the throw on the cash, and Gage hangs on by means of contact for the large acquire.
That was not the one huge play from Brady and the offense. A couple of performs later the veteran quarterback put one other throw on the cash, this time to Mike Evans on a deep out route alongside the precise sideline:
Brady and Gage would join once more, on a fast display screen, to get the ball down into the crimson zone. A penalty and two runs put the soccer in the midst of the sector, and Todd Bowles despatched Succop onto the sector for a 40-yard discipline aim.
Succop break up the uprights.
The win put the Buccaneers in place to win the NFC South by defeating the Carolina Panthers subsequent week, clinching a playoff spot. It was in no way fairly, and the Buccaneers have some flaws, however they discovered a solution to win.
The victory mirrors two earlier wins from the Buccaneers this season, victories over the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints. On each events, as with tonight, the Buccaneers regarded mortal — at finest — for an enormous portion of the sport. However when trailing, the offense shifted into hurry-up mode, and all of the sudden began clicking.
Now, the reply to all their woes on offense can’t merely be “simply run with out a huddle,” however there are actually three video games of proof pointing to that philosophy as one thing that may work in spurts for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has struggled all through this season to seek out any consistency on offense, and appear to maneuver the ball extra effectively when working with out a huddle.
Doing it on Christmas night time put them in place to not simply win a recreation, however clinch the division subsequent week with a win over the Panthers.
And it added one other merchandise on Brady’s checklist of comeback victories.