Tom Brady experienced another first in his illustrious 23-year NFL career on Sunday. Unfortunately, this time it was one he’d rather have avoided.
The Cleveland Browns scored a game-tying touchdown with 32 seconds left in regulation, then earned the 23-17 win over Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime. It marked the first time in the quarterback’s career in which his team held a seven-point lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter and lost the game, per Elias Sports. Brady had been 218-0 in such situations, including the postseason.
Once again, the Bucs offense sputtered. Brady completed 29 of 43 passes for 246 yards and two TDs. With a late lead, Tampa couldn’t get anything going, and, along with several conservative coaching decisions by Todd Bowles, allowed the Browns to hang around and eventually earn the OT win.
“Seventeen points isn’t going to do it,” Brady said. “That’s basically what we’ve been doing all year. It’s like the same thing. … We had our chances. Just didn’t make the plays and they did.”
The Bucs punted nine times in Week 12 against a Browns defense that had been gashed this season. It’s the most punts by a Brady-led team since Week 4, 2019, versus Buffalo.
Outside of Chris Godwin’s big day (12/110/1), the Tampa offense was a muddled mess. They failed to gain 100 yards rushing for the ninth time in 11 games, and Mike Evans caught just two of nine targets for 31 yards, extending his seven-game streak without a TD, the longest drought of his career.
Luckily for the Buccaneers, they play in the NFC South, where they continue to lead the division despite a 5-6 record, including three consecutive road losses to Pittsburgh, Carolina and Cleveland. Next on the docket is a Monday night date with the 4-8 Saints in Tampa.
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