Tampa Bay Buccaneers have defeated Washington Football Team in the Wild Card matchup, 31-23. It is the first playoff win for Tom Brady in his new team, but in the same style as before.
The six-time Super Bowl champion was superb with 381 yards, 22-for-40, for two touchdown passes. One was to Antonio Brown for 36 yards, and the other a 27-yarder to Chris Godwin. Both of them were in the first halftime.
Brady noticed that his team has a lot to improve until the next playoff game, but added that he feels happy for the win.
“Certainly a lot to improve on, but great to get a win,” said Brady. “If you could win 100-0, it’s going to be the same result in the end. You’d love to play great every game. I think it’s good to win and advance.”
The Buccs were up 18-7 until halftime, mostly because of Brady, who threw 209 yards. His TD to Brown made him the oldest QB in the history with a scoring toss in the playoffs.
On the other side, the Football Team had a potential hero, Taylor Heinicke, who was replacing the injured Alex Smith. Heinicke, who only became a part of Washington’s crew this December, started for the second time in his career, and almost made a sensation.
He would create a push in the second half that saw the hosts coming down to 28-23, and getting even a chance in the final part of the match to level the result and force the OT. However, Tampa’s defense broke the hearts of all the hosts’ fans, stopping Heinicke’s last push, and securing their advance to the Divisional Round.
Even with the loss, everyone was thrilled with the way Heinicke played, especially Bucs’ head coach Bruce Arians.
“He almost beat us with his legs,” Tampa Bay coach said. “He was very elusive. We knew he was going to scramble around, there was going to be bootlegs and scrambles.”
Heinicke ended the game with 26 completions in 44 passing attempts, 306 yards, one TD, and one intercepted pass. However, he added 46 rushing yards in six scrambles for one score.
JC McKissic also rushed for a touchdown among the Football Team, while Steven Sims Jr. had one TD catch. Cam Sims posted seven receptions for 104 yards, Terry McLaurin had six for 75.
On the other side, Mike Evans had 119 receiving yards, Cameron Brate 80, and Chris Godwin 79. Antonio Brown posted 71 yards from the scrimmage, whole, Leonard Fournette had the best game since he arrived in Florida.
The former Jaguars’ rusher had four catches for 39 yards, but added 93 yards on the ground in 19 carries with one very important touchdown in the fourth period, which held off Washington’s surge. If Fournette continues to play like this, the Bucs’ chances of going deep into the playoffs are becoming very high.
Tampa Bay now awaits to see what happens in tonight’s match between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears. If the Saints win, the Bucs are traveling to the Big Easy to face the team that defeated them twice this year. But if Bears pull an upset, then Bucs host the LA Rams, who eliminated the Seattle Seahawks.
As for Washington Football Team, they close one very turbulent season, that saw them clashing with various problems, but eventually coming out as winners. Reaching the playoffs indicated that Ron Rivera’s side has enough potential to be competitive in the years to come.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.