A momentum play can happen at any time in an NFL game. It is what a team does after that momentum play that will dictate its effect on the contest. There it was. Just ten minutes into the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. A Tom Brady pass intended for Justin Watson would instead go to Michael Davis. The fact that Davis is a Chargers cornerback was bad. The fact that he returned it for a Chargers touchdown, even worse.
We Have Seen This Before
It was week one at New Orleans. Tom Brady threw a pass again to Justin Watson. This pass was intercepted by Saints cornerback Jenoris Jenkins and returned for a touchdown. What? Tom Brady throws two pick sixes in four weeks of football? Is the G.O.A.T. not perfect? Somewhere beneath the #12 and cape, could there be Clark Kent threads?
Would this interception be the precipice for a loss like in week one? For the better part of the next twenty-five minutes, it sure looked that way. The Buccaneers’ mistakes were starting to snowball. As a result, momentum was on the wrong sideline.
Then a Funny Thing Happened…
The Buccaneers know they are in every game because they have Tom Brady at quarterback. Brady is starting to gain confidence because he knows he has a team that is learning as they go. For a franchise that has been known to stick their collective heads in the sand, a rally and never say die spirit was a welcomed change for Buccaneers fans.
There were punts, another Chargers touchdown, and even a missed Buccaneers field goal. With the Chargers up 24-7 and the outlook grim, as suddenly as it went south, Brady grabbed momentum and brought it back to the Buccaneers sideline.
A Little Buccaneer Magic
It didn’t happen all at once. For instance, it took a Ndamukong Suh recovery on an ill-advised Chargers run just before half time. A defensive stand out of the gate in the third quarter, which led to a Buccaneers touchdown drive. Suddenly, the score was 24-21. Hope hung in the air as thick as the Florida humidity on this overcast day.
After a missed Chargers field goal, Tom Brady would throw his best back-to-back passes of the 2020 season. On the other end of those passes was Scotty Miller. The perfect moment for “Miller Time”. The Chargers would answer with a 72-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Guyton. Score 31-28 Chargers.
Good Teams Finish Games
In the fourth quarter, Brady would connect with rookie running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn for a nine yard touchdown. The Buccaneers defense would force the Chargers to punt on the next drive. That gave Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop a chance at a little redemption on a 26-yard field goal. A Buccaneers interception later, and the victory was in hand. 38-31, Bucs win.
The Team rallied like it has rarely done in recent years. Tom Brady threw that pick six in the first quarter, but this team found the resilience to fight back. They are starting to learn to win together.
Brady would finish the day 30 of 46 for 359 yards and five touchdowns. The oldest player to ever throw for five touchdowns in one game. He also become the oldest player to throw for 350 yards in one game. A record he himself set at the age of 41 back in 2018.
Momentum is a funny thing in sports. Gaining it. Losing it. Gaining it back again. The good news for Buccaneers fans is that the team seems to be gaining that momentum at just the right time. Not a moment too soon.