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Bucs maintain NFC South lead after comeback OT win vs. Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — There were times during the slog of a football game Sunday night when Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady looked frustrated. There were other times he looked angry. There were a few times he looked downright old.

But there were also six throws in overtime where Tom Brady looked like Tom Brady. And that’s all the Buccaneers needed.

Brady completed all six of his passes in overtime, helping the Bucs overcome a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and beat the Arizona Cardinals 19-16 to keep a one-game lead in the NFC South.

“If we keep it close in the fourth quarter, we know we’ve got a shot,” Brady said. “I think we’re all comfortable in those situations.”

Ryan Succop hit the decisive 40-yard field goal with 3:41 left in overtime, capping a nine-play, 66-yard drive. Brady wasn’t great for much of the night, but came up big on the decisive drive, completing all six of his passes for 69 yards in a vintage display of precision in clutch moments.

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It was Brady’s 57th winning drive.

“That’s just who he is,” Fournette said. “He’s been doing it for years. Guys like myself, Mike (Evans), Julio (Jones), Chris (Godwin), Rachaad (White), everybody, we’re just playing a part in his greatness. Give him what he wants. He wants certain routes run certain ways.

“We’re just here to try and make his job easier.”

The Cardinals got the ball to start overtime but eventually had to punt. Tampa Bay got the big gain it needed when Brady found Russell Gage Jr. for a 23-yard gain.

From there, the Bucs squeezed out a few more yards before Succop made his fourth field goal of the evening.

Arizona (4-11) has lost five straight games, while Tampa Bay snapped a two-game skid. The Bucs (7-8) stayed a game ahead of the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. Tampa Bay has a crucial home game against Carolina next weekend.

The 45-year-old Brady made his 331st career start at quarterback, while the Cardinals were down to Trace McSorley in his first start. The former Penn State standout had been the team’s third-string quarterback for much of the season, but made his starting debut after injuries to Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy.

James Conner broke loose for a 22-yard touchdown run with 10:47 left in the fourth quarter to give the Cardinals a 16-6 advantage. But Brady and the Bucs responded with their first touchdown drive on the night, scoring when the quarterback hit Rachaad White on a 3-yard pass, cutting it to 16-13 with 8:03 left.

The Bucs caught a huge break on the ensuing drive when Cardinals rookie Keaontay Ingram fumbled a pitch from McSorley. Tampa Bay’s William Gholston jumped on the loose ball.

Tampa Bay capitalized nine plays later when Succop made a 42-yard field goal for his third field goal of the night, tying it at 16 and forcing overtime.

Brady was 32 of 48 for 281 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He’s thrown at least two interceptions in three straight games, which ties the longest streak of his career. Fournette ran for 72 yards and caught nine passes for 90 yards.

“It was a total effort today in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter,” Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles said. “Defense getting stops and the offense cashing in.”

Arizona’s McSorley was 24 of 45 for 217 yards and one interception.

“Our guys played hard, battled,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I thought the defense played their hearts out and gave us a chance. Just wanted to finish offensively.”

Neither team made it to the end zone in a first half that ended in a 6-6 tie. Cardinals kicker Matt Prater booted field goals from 56 and 53 yards. His second one — just before halftime — bounced off the left upright but still trickled past the crossbar for three points.

Brady was on the offensive early, throwing a deep pass down the right sideline to Julio Jones on the game’s opening play. The pass was incomplete but Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton was called for pass interference, resulting in a 30-yard gain.

But the 23-year veteran was off on several other deep balls. Brady was intercepted during a promising drive in the second quarter when the quarterback was hit on the arm as he tried to throw deep to Evans. The throw was well short and picked off by Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson Jr.

Wilson intercepted two of Brady’s passes.


Buccaneers: LT Josh Wells (knee) was carted off the field during the second quarter.

Cardinals: QB McCoy (concussion) and DE Zach Allen (hand) were among the team’s inactives. … DT Trysten Hill (knee) was carted off in the second quarter.


Buccaneers: Host Carolina next Sunday.

Cardinals: Travel to face Atlanta next Sunday.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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