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Sunday Night Football: Buccaneers hold on to win Tom Brady’s New England homecoming 19-17

Ronald Jones weaves his way to the end zone in the third quarter to snatch a touchdown for the Buccaneers, pushing them to a 12-7 lead over the Patriots in Foxborough.

Tom Brady didn’t have a touchdown pass. And he didn’t necessarily have a signature moment in a game where he became the league’s all-time leading passer.

But in one of the biggest regular-season games of all time, Brady’s team came away victorious.

The Buccaneers beat the Patriots 19-17 on Sunday Night Football, holding on for a victory that makes them 3-1 on the season.

In a game with limited scoring, there were four lead changes in the fourth quarter and nearly a fifth. With 59 seconds left in the contest, Patriots kicker Nick Folk sent a 56-yard field goal attempt off the left upright.

Head coach Bill Belichick had to make the decision to either kick or go for it on fourth-and-3 after linebacker Lavonte David batted down Mac Jones’ third-down pass to receiver Jakobi Meyers over the middle.

But Belichick elected to trust the kicker rather than his rookie quarterback and the rest of New England’s offense.

Even if Folk had made the kick, the Buccaneers would’ve had plenty of time for Brady to get the offense in field-goal range.

But all of that is moot, as Ryan Succop hit a 48-yard field goal with 1:57 left to give Tampa Bay its winning two-point margin. On the previous two plays, Brady nearly hit Antonio Brown for a deep touchdown pass. The ball went off Brown’s hands on third-and-8, which led to the field goal.

Brady ended the game 22-of-43 passing for 269 yards. He became the league’s all-time leading passer with a 28-yard toss to receiver Mike Evans in the first quarter. Evans led the way with seven catches for 75 yards. Running back Leonard Fournette had 91 yards on 20 carries and Ronald Jones had 25 yards on six attempts with the Bucs’ only touchdown.

Jones played a decent game for the Patriots, going 31-of-40 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. At one point, he completed 19 consecutive passes. But it ultimately wasn’t enough, as New England went 2-of-9 on third down.

The Patriots also could not run the ball at all, finishing the game with -1 yards rushing. That set a Buccaneers franchise record for fewest rushing yards allowed in a single game.

At 3-1, Tampa Bay will face Miami at home in Week Five.

The 1-3 Patriots will take on the 1-3 Texans on the road next Sunday.