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How Tom Brady, Buccaneers erased 16-3 deficit vs. Saints for last-second comeback win

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Tom Brady has now engineered 44 career fourth-quarter comebacks, the latest of which came on the “Monday Night Football” stage vs. the Saints.

Even among that incredible number, the latest comeback stands out, not only for the deficit Brady had to erase — a 16-3 Saints advantage midway through the fourth quarter — but also how he reversed his own poor play in the game’s pivotal moments.

Brady and the Bucs were held without a touchdown for 57 minutes of game time on Monday before finally finding the end zone in the game’s final three minutes. Prior to those two drives, the Saints had limited Brady to a paltry 163 yards and an interception on 22-of-35 passing.

In the Bucs’ final two drives — which comprised 21 plays and 4:47 off the clock — Brady completed 14 of 19 passes, accounting for 118 of the Bucs’ 154 yards. Tampa Bay passed on all but two of the plays, placing its faith squarely in Brady’s ability to secure the win.

MORE: Tom Brady leads Tampa Bay to wild comeback win over Saints

The Bucs’ faith was rewarded, as Brady got them the win and yet another comeback. Better yet, that elevated him above former rival Peyton Manning for the most career fourth-quarter comebacks of all time.

Joked Brady after the game: “Just like we drew it up. Just like we drew it up.”

ESPN reports that, with Brady’s victory over the Saints, teams down 13 or more points in the final four minutes of regulation improved to 3-350 over the last five seasons. The other two victories were the Chargers at Chiefs in 2018 and the Jets at the Browns in Week 2 this season.

Moreover, this was Brady’s second go-ahead touchdown with 15 or fewer seconds left in regulation this year. The first coming against the Rams on Nov. 6.

Brady was excellent in the comeback, but some offensive miscues by the Saints and a stout defensive stand by Tampa Bay helped Brady secure the victory. Here’s how the Buccaneers managed to seal victory over New Orleans:

MORE: Tom Brady cracks joke after ugly Buccaneers ‘MNF’ win: ‘Just like we drew it up’

How Tom Brady, Buccaneers beat Saints

Saints punt after stopping clock

Brady’s incredible comeback wouldn’t have started were it not for terrible clock mismanagement by the Saints. New Orleans took the ball over at its own 47 with a 16-3 lead and 6:54 remaining on the clock.

The first play that started the comeback was a decision by Mark Ingram to take a third-down pass from Andy Dalton for 8 yards out of bounds, setting up third-and-1 and stopping the clock with 5:34 left to play:

Had Ingram fought for the first down, the Saints could have bled more clock or at least forced the Bucs to begin using their three timeouts. As it stood, the Saints had only to convert third-and-1 to keep the drive going.

But New Orleans made the regrettable decision to pass for it on third-and-1. The ball fell incomplete, bringing up fourth-and-1 from the Tampa 44-yard line and stopping the clock with 5:31 left in the game. The Saints’ 35-yard punt pinned Brady and Co. at their 9-yard line with 5:31 left to play.

MORE: Saints’ Dennis Allen explains why Mark Ingram stepped out of bounds short of first-down marker in key spot vs. Bucs

Bucs drive 91 yards for touchdown

Thanks to the Saints’ terrible time management, Brady had 5:31 and all three timeouts left to engineer a comeback. The Buccaneers ran a no-huddle offense, traversing 91 yards in 10 plays and 2:21 of elapsed game clock.

Brady completed 6 of 9 passes for 55 yards and the score, though the Saints were helped by a defensive pass interference by Paulson Adebo against Mike Evans in the end zone, setting up first-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

One play later, the Bucs cut the deficit to 17-10 with a 1-yard completion to Cade Otton with 3:00 left on the clock:

Saints go three-and-out

Even with the earlier setbacks and the Buccaneers holding onto all three of their timeouts, New Orleans could have ended the game with a sustained drive. But the Saints went three-and-out, punctuated by a 10-yard sack on second-and-7 by Carl Nassib.

The Saints’ long pass attempt on third-and-17 again stopped the clock at 2:47, allowing the Bucs to retain their final timeout along with the impending two-minute warning. New Orleans punted the ball back to Tampa Bay after only 31 seconds, giving him 2:29 left with which to work.

MORE: Tom Brady record vs. Saints: Why NFL legend has struggled vs. Dennis Allen’s defense

Brady completes the comeback

Brady worked his magic once again, completing 8 of 10 passes for 63 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Even still, the Bucs’ hopes for a comeback hinged on a last-second touchdown from Brady to running back Rachaad White with 8 seconds left on the clock:

Here’s all of Brady’s plays in his final two drives, for those interested.

The 2022 season may not have gone the way Brady intended it to go, but he at least has proven, once again, that there isn’t a quarterback who plays better under pressure than him.

Just ask the Saints.


Credit: sportingnews.com

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