Tom Brady stuck his neck out for Antonio Brown again Sunday -- and helped the wide receiver earn a nice chunk of change.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the Atlanta Falcons 44-27 with 2:14 remaining in their season finale Sunday and simply needed to salt away the clock to wrap up their 11-5 season.
Brady and the Bucs offense did that -- by throwing three consecutive shovel passes to Brown for gains of three, six and two yards to pick up their final first down of the game.
How Brady earned an extra half-million dollars Sunday
Why target Brown on three plays in a row instead of just running the ball? Because those three catches gave Brown 45 on the season, which according to ESPN's Adam Schefter will earn him a cool $250,000 bonus.
That incentive seemed out of reach entering Sunday: Brown came into the game with 34 receptions and hadn't caught more than five passes in a game since Week 11.
But the veteran wide receiver miraculously caught exactly 11 balls for 138 yards and two touchdowns Sunday to hit the 45-catch mark on the nose.
Top wide receiver Mike Evans left Sunday's game early with a knee injury, so there was a receiving void to fill. But it sure looked like Brady was doing his former New England Patriots teammate a solid by targeting Brown a season-high 14 times, including three in a row on the final possession.
Brown has burned plenty of bridges over the last two-plus seasons, but he clearly has an advocate in Brady -- and is a wealthier man because of that.
Be sure to catch Tampa Bay take on Washington in an NFC Wild Card matchup Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC10 Boston. Pregame coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. ET with Football Night in America.