Image Credit: © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Trailing 27-10 early in the fourth quarter, the Buffalo Bills scored 17 unanswered points to tie Tampa Bay 27-27 with 22 seconds remaining and force overtime. The rally was all for naught, though, as Bucs QB Tom Brady threw his 700th career touchdown pass and Tampa Bay won in overtime 33-27.
Brady hit WR Breshad Perriman on a crossing route which the wide receiver converted into a 58-yard touchdown for the win. The loss was the second straight for Buffalo, which lost consecutive games for the first time this season. The loss also drops the Bills to 7-6 and puts their postseason hopes in some jeopardy.
It looked as though Buffalo would get blown out by Brady and the Bucs. Brady, who played most of his career in New England, has been very successful against the Bills. The win on Sunday gave Brady a 33-3 record against Buffalo in his career.
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Bucs scored to take a 24-3 halftime lead on three consecutive drives. Brady threw one of his two touchdown passes to WR Mike Evans in the first quarter, and then the 44-year-old quarterback scored on a one-yard run with just 1:29 remaining in the first half.
The Bills would answer in the second half. QB Josh Allen would lead the Bills 81 yards in nine plays to cut the Tampa Bay lead to 24-10. Allen finished the drive himself with an 18-yard scoring run. Another long drive, this one covering 75 yards, would pull the Bills within ten points of the Bucs. Allen found TE Dawson Knox for a 15-yard touchdown. A four-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis pulled Buffalo within a field goal with just 4:53 remaining in the game.
The Buffalo defense, which gave up 488 yards of offense to Tampa Bay, would hold and force a punt. The Bills took over at their 23-yard line with 3:05 left in the game. Allen led Buffalo on a 14-play, 70-yard drive that would end with Tyler Bass’s game-tying 25-yard field goal.
The Bills were fortunate enough to win the overtime coin toss. They took the ball but went three-and-out setting up Brady and the Bucs for the game-winner. Tampa Bay is now 10-3 and holds a four-game lead in the NFC South with the win. The Bucs haven’t won the division since 2007.
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo is now 1-3 in its last four games and 3-5 in its previous eight. If the playoffs started today, the Bills (7-6) would hold the seventh and final spot in the AFC. Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Denver all have the same record as Buffalo and could overtake the Bills should they stumble over the season’s final four weeks.
The Bills will host Carolina (5-8) next week. Then they play a crucial game in New England the day after Christmas. Buffalo finishes the season with Atlanta (6-7) and the Jets (3-10).
Allen became just the fourth player in NFL history to throw for 300-plus yards and rush for 100 or more in the same game. Allen completed 36-of-54 passes for 308 yards, two touchdowns. and added 109 rushing yards on 12 carries and the one touchdown. Allen did leave the stadium with a walking boot on his left foot. Bills head coach Sean McDermott says the injury is nothing serious.
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