TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers slammed into the lead and defeated the New Orleans Saints 17-16 with three seconds left in “Monday Night Football.”
The Bucs cleared the 16-3 deficit to score two goals in the final 3:03 and swept their season streak against the NFC South opponent.
Tampa Bay Pirates
In a complete role reversal from last week when the Cleveland Browns came back to beat the Buccaneers in overtime with almost the entire game behind, the Bucs (6-6) smashed a disastrous deficit to score two late goals to beat the Saints.
Quarterback Tom Brady scored a 1-yard field goal with rookie tight side Cade Otton, cutting the Saints’ win 16-10, then two passes to go 10 points to Julio Jones, Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller on the next ball. – Yard running away from Leonard Fournette.
Donovan Smith’s call for a hold on left interception cleared a Godwin goal behind the end zone, but Brady linked up with Rachaad White’s running back for the winner of the 6-yard game. It was Brady’s 44th career fourth-quarter comeback, breaking Peyton Manning’s record.
QB dump: Without All-Pro right-hander Tristan Wirfs, Brady struggled not only with deep ball, but screen play as well. He also failed to take into account that defensive lineman Demario Davis fell within range, and was selected in a pass to Russell Gage, who set a 38-yard field goal just before halftime. While this was Brady’s third tackle all season, it was the second time he hadn’t accounted for a defender in coverage. Of course, none of that mattered when Brady led two goal-scoring drives to clinch the victory.
Disturbing trend: The red zone remains a problem – if they can land there. And series lead receiver Mike Evans, who was targeted nine times last week and collected just two catches, didn’t even see his number dialed until 1:26 to go in the first half despite corner Marshon Lattimore being inactive. Brady and Evans met for a 22-yard game early in the second half, but it was futile after White missed the ball.
Key number: The Bucs’ defensive goal is to hold 17 or fewer opponents each week. That mark was on the money Monday, but the offense’s occasional failure to score points on the board led to unrealistic expectations. This time, however, Brady managed to save the game for a defense that lacked a few key players in his secondary zone: Antoine Winfield Jr., Sean Murphy-Bunting and Mike Edwards.
The dazzling NFL Next Generation Stats stats: Brady has lost six regular season games against the Saints since joining Tampa Bay in 2020 and currently has a total of 12 games against them. They have a maximum of three against any other team.
Next game: At the San Francisco 49ers (4:25 PM ET, Sunday)
New Orleans Saints
The Saints saw their season slipping away in three minutes.
The Saints (4-9) held control for most of the night in a crucial match against the Buccaneers that could put them in contention for the NFC South division. But Paulson Adebo’s costly 44-yard passing penalty on the corner brought the Bucs to the Saints 1-yard line.
Bucs scored and the Saints’ offense failed to respond, which essentially paved the way for a late comeback. Quarterback Andy Dalton was fired for losing 10 yards in the second and 7 with 2:54 remaining, followed by a pass to Taysom Hill for a possible first drop in the third and 17th.
The Bucs then methodically scored a field goal, shattering the Saints’ hopes for a winning record in coach Dennis Allen’s first season in the role, as well as their dreams of winning a league spot in the final month. The Saints have taken a series of tough losses this season and have often complained of losing games due to their own faults, whether it was significant penalties or turnovers.
That will certainly be the case this time around, as his attempts to save the season have probably dealt the final blow.
“It was tough because we really had the opportunity to win this game and we didn’t, we didn’t finish it,” Allen said. “It’s boring. It sucks.”
QB dump: While Dalton played well most of the game, the streak of prime-time road losses will continue after the Saints fail to respond offensively towards the end of the game. Dalton completed 20 of 28 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown, but picked up a sack on the team’s last offensive drive and, unaided by the pass catchers, Hill fired a first loss deep shot. Dalton didn’t make any big mistakes, but the Saints scored too many on the field instead of going into the end zone and didn’t come out big when counted.
Rashid Shaheed’s debut performance: Weber State’s impromptu rookie wide receiver is getting more and more chances on offense thanks to his stunning speed and potential to comeback. Shaheed did more than shine on Monday, proving on a national stage that offense should be a weekly part. Shaheed not only had a 41-yard lead, but it was exciting every time he caught the ball, finishing with a career-high four receptions for 71 yards. It has been one of the bright spots for the Struggling Saints.
Promising trend: The Saints have been one of the worst teams in the league in terms of turnover difference all season and started Monday with just two tackles from the defense. It took Brady to change that. Brady has only made two interceptions into this game the entire season leading up to this game, but since joining Tampa Bay in 2020 this has been a prime target for the defense versus picks. New Orleans picked him once, bringing his total interception against the Saints to nine. Buccaneer and also forced into an uproar. While this is a sign that their luck has changed in that department, it feels too little, too late to save their season.
The dazzling NFL Next Generation Stats stats: Hill’s 30-yard field goal was his first tank destroyer in 10 career games against the Buccaneers. He has not faced any other team without scoring more than three times.
Next game: etc. Atlanta Falcons (13:00 ET, December 18)