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Tom Brady commits rare late-game mistake in Bucs' loss to Saints

/ by Jake Levin
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It's a movie New England Patriots (and now, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) fans have seen countless times before: Their team trails late, but with Tom Brady under center, it's only a matter of time before the score flips back in their favor.

Brady and the Bucs had come storming back against the New Orleans Saints, turning a 16-point deficit into a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter. 

The Saints jumped back ahead on a late 23-yard field goal but gave Brady the ball back with 1:41 on the clock, eons for Brady.

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And then all of a sudden...

Brady's pick-six served as a stunning end to what looked like yet another epic comeback in a 36-27 loss for the Buccaneers, dropping the team to 6-2.

Here's Brady's final stat line for the afternoon:

28 for 40, 375 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 112.0 passer rating.

Brady fell to 1-3 against the Saints since joining the Buccaneers, though the one win did come in the postseason.

Here were Brady's top highlights:

Brady's 41-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans in the third quarter pulled the Bucs within two, at 23-21, but it served as a milestone connection between the two as well.

With catch, Evans became just the seventh different receiver to catch at least 20 touchdown passes from Brady in the regular season over the course of his career, joining an exclusive list including Rob Gronkowski (88), Randy Moss (39), Julian Edelman (36), Wes Welker (34) and James White and Deion Branch (24).

Evans needed only 24 games to get to 20 touchdown catches from Brady, faster than every player on the list except for Gronk and Moss. With eight touchdowns already in 2021, Evans should cruise past White and Branch by season's end and depending on how much longer Brady plays, has a realistic shot at winding up at No. 2 on the list.

 

Brady's go-ahead 50-yard touchdown pass to Cyril Grayson was Grayson's first career touchdown, just the second catch of his career and his first since the 2019 season.

It was Brady's fourth touchdown of the afternoon, giving him sole possession of yet another NFL record.

Grayson is the 87th different receiver to catch a touchdown pass from Brady, extending yet another one of his own NFL records.

Godwin's first quarter touchdown grab was the launching pad for yet another monster day for the receiver, who finished with eight catches for 140 yards, his highest output since Brady joined the Bucs in 2020.

Rob Gronkowski played for Tampa Bay for the first time since Week 3, but it was a short-lived return. After being targeted just once by Brady and making no catches, Gronk left the game due to back spasms and did not return. Former Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown missed his second straight game for Tampa due to an ankle injury. 

The Bucs have their bye week coming up before returning to action on Sunday, Nov. 14 against the Washington Football Team. Brady is 5-1 all-time against the WFT, including a 31-23 win in the NFC wild-card playoffs last season.

Brady's lone loss to Washington was in Week 4 of the 2003 season, the final game the Patriots lost before their then-record 21-game winning streak (regular plus postseason).