In one of the wildest, unlikely games of the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers escaped an upset bid from the New York Jets with a last second touchdown by Tom Brady to Cyril Grayson, 28-24.
What I Liked
- The Bucs finding a way to escape from New York with a win.
- Cyril Grayson stepping up after Antonio Brown lost his mind.
- Tom M.F. Brady.
- After struggling most of the game, the defense got a fourth down stop to give the Bucs a chance.
What I Didn’t
- Antonio Brown quitting on the Bucs.
- The Bucs defense, pretty much most of the football game.
- 374 yards and 24 points surrendered by the defense to one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
Pieces of Eight
Antonio Brown quit on the Buccaneers. He’ll have his excuses as to why he did it. He’ll try to play the victim – but he quit on the Bucs. There’s no other way to take it. He’s no longer a Buccaneer, and that’s the way it should be.
I mean, we know he can play football. When he’s sane – he’s one of the greatest receivers in the NFL. But you can’t do this. You just can’t. The Bucs couldn’t let this slide – and damn it, they shouldn’t. He doesn’t make the Bucs better if this is how he’s going to act. He’s just a distraction. I don’t know if he’s being troubled by CTE issues or depression – I care not to speculate on mental health issues. I hope AB can get professional help, if he hasn’t already. I hope he’ll find some peace in his life. I just know it won’t be as a member of this franchise.
More upsetting for Tampa Bay is the way this football team played against the Jets. They had no business winning this football game. The Jets wanted that signature win badly and the Bucs nearly handed to them on a silver platter. Now, we know the Buccaneers had to battle COVID all week. They looked like a team that hadn’t practiced. That hadn’t prepared. I’m certain Harold Goodwin did everything he was supposed to do in preparing the Bucs to win – but the team didn’t look like it gave a darn until midway through the third quarter.
So, it feels good the Bucs won and remained in contention for the second seed in the NFC, but that performance isn’t going to get it done against any team other than the New York Jets.
Down 24-10 with 5:56 left in the third quarter, Tampa Bay faced 3-and-20 on their own 15 after a personal foul penalty against mild mannered Ali Marpet. Antonio Brown was gone, already tossing his jersey on the ground and heading to the locker room. If the Bucs are foiled on this third down play, the game may be over. Brady hit unheralded Cyril Grayson on an out, converting 3rd-and-20 and the Bucs continued on what would be a 13 play, 75 yard drive that ended with a 4th down touchdown pass from Brady to Cameron Brate, shaving the deficit to 7 and giving Tampa Bay a fighting chance.
Of course, Grayson would factor again on the Bucs’ final drive, catching passes of 3, 6 and then the game winning touchdown, 33 yds. When the Bucs needed him the most, Cyril Grayson stepped up for his football team and may have taken Antonio Brown’s job.
You really can’t make this stuff up. The Jets jumped to two quick touchdowns after the Bucs’ defense struggled without starting corners Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting, who couldn’t travel with the team because of COVID-19 rules. A plane was chartered for the players once they cleared protocol, but the pilot of the private plane came down with COVID, so another pilot had to be found, but couldn’t get there for two hours. The plane landed just an hour before gametime, and the players got a police escort from Newark Airport to Met Life Stadium. As the first quarter commenced, they rapidly tried to warm up on the sidelines to make sure they didn’t sustain any injuries.
The Jets would only score 10 points the rest of the way, but such a bizarre way to start the game and it ended up not even being the weirdest thing to happen. Unbelievable.
Tom Brady has engineered some amazing comebacks in his career, but man – what a clinic he put on in that final drive. 2:15 left on the clock, no timeouts remaining, and with the ball on Tampa Bay’s own 7-yd line, Brady took the Buccaneers 93 yards on 9 plays in 1:57 seconds to score the deciding touchdown. Tampa Bay would add the two point conversion to make it a 4 point game.
I’ll leave this drive to NFL historians, but I’ll be honest, in the Buccaneer history I can recall, I don’t remember ever seeing the Bucs overcome such long odds to win a game they had no business winning.
Now, they’ve been on the receiving end of these type of drives and we all have felt the disappointment and dejection of watching our bad team blow a winnable game, but to be on the winning end of it? It’s an odd feeling. It feels like you stole money. Tampa Bay moved to 12-4 playing the most pitiful football we’ve seen this team play since the Washington game, which didn’t end so good for the Bucs. Perhaps that’s one positive to take out of this one. Despite all the distractions, the Bucs found a way to escape New York with the all-important W.
Credit where credit is due, the New York Jets came to play for their fans at Met Life Stadium. They played hard, clean and put themselves in position for a season defining upset victory. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t seal the deal, calling an awful quarterback sneak try on 4th-and-2 that had no chance of succeeding, opening the door for Brady to do what Brady does, breaking Jets fans’ hearts.
It says a lot, though, about Robert Saleh’s club that they took advantage of the Bucs’ disinterest in the football game and came so close to getting that win. There are no moral victories in football, we Bucs fans know this. At the end of the day, they count them up and no one really remembers if you won by 40 or 4. It’s all about the W. It took Tampa Bay bringing in a generational quarterback to teach them that.
Perhaps Saleh’s team doesn’t necessarily need that. Here’s hoping they figure it out for one of the young bright minds in the league.
In the NFC South, the Falcons dropped a hard fought snowy contest in Buffalo, slipping to 7-9 on the season. The loss ended Atlanta’s slim playoff chances. The Saints rallied from behind to beat Carolina, improving to 8-8 and keeping their playoff hopes alive.
In the NFC playoff race, Green Bay wrapped up the number one seed with a win over Minnesota, while the Rams rallied from behind to finish off the never say die Ravens and maintain the second seed. Dallas fell short in their comeback against Arizona, allowing the Bucs to move to the third seed in the NFC.
The Buccaneers wrap up the Regular Season at home with the same Carolina Panthers football team they blasted a week ago. The Bucs certainly need a better effort than they had this week to end the season 13-4. The Bucs can’t control what the Rams do, they can only control themselves and let the chips fall where they may. After nearly blowing it this week, they need to make sure they’re not the reason they’re playing on the road.
DLT’s Who to Root For This Week
|Green Bay Packers (1)||13||3||0||North Champion|
|Los Angeles Rams (2)||12||4||0||West Champion||head-to-head record|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3)||12||4||0||South Champion|
|Dallas Cowboys (4)||11||5||0||East Champion|
|Arizona Cardinals (5)||11||5||0||Wild Card #1|
|San Francisco 49ers (6)||9||7||0||Wild Card #2||head-to-head record|
|Philadelphia Eagles (7)||9||7||0||Wild Card #3|
|New Orleans Saints||8||8||0|
The 49ers to beat the Rams – A Rams loss and a Bucs win gets Tampa Bay to the number two seed in the NFC.
The Falcons to beat the Saints – to finally kill the demon that won’t go away.
Tweet of the Game
— 👽 🏴☠️ Lord JC De La Torre🏴☠️ ✌️ (@jcdelatorre) January 2, 2022