Quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have pulled off yet another improbable comeback victory after overcoming a 16-6 fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the host Arizona Cardinals 19-16 in overtime on Sunday.
It was not a good night for Brady and the Bucs offense for much of the game. They had just six points until there were eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Brady tossed two interceptions and had trouble connecting with top target Mike Evans.
The Bucs endured a stretch of eight drives spanning from the first to fourth quarters in which they scored just three points.
Therefore, all looked lost when the Cardinals took a 10-point lead with 10:47 left after a James Conner 22-yard touchdown run and the ensuing extra point.
Arizona Cardinals @AZCardinals
All Aboard the Conner Express 🚂<a href="https://twitter.com/JamesConner_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JamesConner_</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BirdCityFootball?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BirdCityFootball</a> <a href="https://t.co/3OGFXJ1bc0">pic.twitter.com/3OGFXJ1bc0</a>
The only real hope, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noted, was that Brady was running the show.
That hope came through again Sunday. Following the Conner touchdown, the Bucs immediately responded with a score of their own after Brady found running back Rachaad White from three yards out.
Arizona got a good drive going in response, but starting quarterback Trace McSorley, who was next in line after starter Kyler Murray and backup Colt McCoy suffered injuries, fumbled the ball on 3rd-and-1 from the Tampa 42. The Bucs took over and marched down the field for a Ryan Succop 42-yard field goal to tie the game at 16.
Neither team scored for the remainder of regulation. Arizona started with the ball in overtime but punted after gaining just 11 yards. Brady saved his best for last, completing all six of his passes for 69 yards, including a 23-yarder to Russell Gage and a shot for 16 to Evans.
Brady ➡️ Russell Gage. <a href="https://twitter.com/Buccaneers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Buccaneers</a> needed a big play and they got it.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBvsAZ?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TBvsAZ</a> on NBC<br>📱: Stream on NFL+ <a href="https://t.co/3PGayaIFW9">https://t.co/3PGayaIFW9</a> <a href="https://t.co/e8ghkpsuwM">pic.twitter.com/e8ghkpsuwM</a>
Now Brady and Evans connect 🙌 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBucs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBucs</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBvsAZ?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TBvsAZ</a> on NBC<br>📱: Stream on NFL+ <a href="https://t.co/3PGayaIFW9">https://t.co/3PGayaIFW9</a> <a href="https://t.co/XphKvhUJVI">pic.twitter.com/XphKvhUJVI</a>
Succop ended the night with a 40-yard field goal.
This has not been a good season for Brady and the Bucs offense.
Brady has just 21 touchdowns in 15 games this year after registering an NFL-high 43 scores in 17 matchups last season. His 6.4 adjusted yards per attempt entering Sunday have noticeably fallen from his 7.8 last year, per Pro Football Reference.
The 7-8 Bucs also entered Sunday ranked 27th in the NFL in scoring. They've managed to sit atop the NFC South for much of the year because of a down season for the division and a top-10 defense.
That D has now put the Bucs in spots for three comeback victories this season, with Brady emerging late to lead his team to wins each time.
On Nov. 6, the Bucs scored 10 fourth-quarter points for a 16-13 win against the Los Angeles Rams thanks largely to a one-yard Brady touchdown toss to tight end Cade Otton with nine seconds left.
On Dec. 5, the Bucs trailed the New Orleans Saints 16-3 for much of the fourth quarter before Brady threw touchdowns to Otton and Rachaad White for the 17-16 victory.
Now Tampa Bay has emerged victorious yet again. It hasn't been pretty at all this season, but the Bucs are atop the NFC South and control their own playoff destiny.
Here's how some of Twitter reacted to Brady again working his magic to keep Tampa Bay's season alive.
Tampa Bay will host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and can clinch the division with a win.