TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady took to the podium and reiterated how good it felt to snap his longest losing streak in 20 years.
“That was unbelievable,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion exclaimed Sunday. “That was (expletive) amazing!”
Brady threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie Cade Otton with 9 seconds remaining, giving the Bucs a sloppy but confidence-boosting 16-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams in a matchup of the past two champions. the NFL.
Brady took over with 44 seconds remaining and went 5-of-6 for 60 yards on the game-winning drive, a career-high 55th. The 45-year-old avoided his first four-game losing streak since 2002 and beat the Rams for the first time in four tries since he joined the Bucs (4-5) two seasons ago.
“We needed it and we got it. We fought to the end,” Brady said. “The defense played very well. We made some plays offensively. … Hopefully this gives us some confidence and we can win again next week and get to 5-5, which would be good for us in the bye week.”
Cooper Kupp scored on a 69-yard reception in the second quarter and Matt Gay kicked field goals of 26 and 35 yards after halftime for the Rams (3-5), who seemed capable of hanging on for the win when they stopped Brady. in Los Angeles 6 downs with just under two minutes to go.
But Matthew Stafford, who threw for 165 yards and a TD, couldn’t run out the clock on the Rams’ final possession.
“That’s what you want on offense, right? You want that opportunity to be able to take a knee and we’re four, five yards away,” Stafford said.
“Tom is a great player. He did a great job. I think our defense played very well all night,” added Stafford. “It’s too much to ask that they do that twice at the end of the game. We definitely had our chance and we didn’t capitalize on it. It’s really disappointing.”
Brady was 36 of 58 for 280 yards, becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for 100,000+ yards in a career, even though he averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt on largely short-passing offense. one-dimensional of the Bucs. He surpassed the milestone with a 15-yard completion to Leonard Fournette that set up the last of Ryan Succop’s three field goals.
The league’s career passing leader began the day needing 164 yards to reach a plateau that Brady admits no one would have imagined possible when he entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick in 2000.
Brady, who holds nearly every significant passing record in the league, went overboard in his 374th career game, including the playoffs.
“It’s all about victory,” he said. “I never cared about that.”
Brady set a couple more records late, moving ahead of Peyton Manning for the most game-winning drives and tying Manning with his 43rd career fourth-quarter comeback.
“We always get a chance with (Brady), we’re just grateful to have him,” coach Todd Bowles said. “He exceeded 100,000 yards. … He still plays at a high level, he loves the boy to death.”
Stafford went 13-for-27 with no interception. Kupp, playing through a sore ankle he injured in last week’s loss to San Francisco, had eight catches for 127 yards.
Like the Buccaneers, the Rams have faltered offensively in the first half of the season. Both teams rank near the bottom of the league in scoring and on Sunday, once again, they barely resembled the teams that met in the playoffs last January.
Tampa Bay’s red zone problems persisted, and Brady settled for Succop’s 20-yard field goal on the Bucs’ opening possession. Meanwhile, Stafford’s long TD pass to Kupp accounted for most of the 104 yards the Rams gained before halftime.
Succop’s third field goal cut the Rams’ lead to 13-9. Brady led a drive to the Rams 6-yard line on his next possession, but the threat stalled with three consecutive incomplete passes to the end zone. Jalen Ramsey broke up the fourth pass, but couldn’t hold off an interception.
“There’s really no other way to put it, this is a tough pill to swallow,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.
“I thought our defense did enough to win. Clearly offensively, not even close to good enough. I am a big part of that. … I had a chance to be able to close the game, I really didn’t,” McVay added. “This is not good enough. Changes have to be made. Adjustments have to be made. We can’t go on with this.”
THE STREAK CONTINUES
Brady hasn’t thrown an interception since the Week 1 win over Dallas, a streak of 373 straight attempts. His touchdown-to-interception ratio this season is 10-to-1, the best in the NFL.
While neither team turned the ball over, there were plenty of missed shots and dropped passes that contributed to the Rams having only 206 yards of total offense and the Bucs not getting into the end zone until the closing seconds.
For much of the day, punter Jake Camarda was Tampa Bay’s most effective weapon. The rookie supported Los Angeles with kicks of 68, 74 and 66 yards.
Rams: T Alaric Jackson (knee) left in the first quarter.
Buccaneers: CBs Carlton Davis (hip) and Sean Murphy-Bunting (quad) returned after sitting out last week’s loss to Baltimore. WR Russell Gage (hamstring), S Antoine Winfield Jr (concussion), G Luke Geodeke (foot) and TE Cameron Brate (neck) were inactive.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Rams: Head home to host Arizona next Sunday.
Buccaneers: Travel to Munich, Germany to face Seattle next Sunday.
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