Sunday's NFL: Tom Brady's five TDs lead Bucs to comeback victory
Tampa, Fla. — Tom Brady is introducing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a new way of winning.
The six-time Super Bowl champion led a come-from-behind victory for the first time since joining his new team, throwing for 369 yards and five touchdowns to help the Bucs rally from a 17-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers, 38-31, on Sunday.
It’s the 46th time Brady has delivered a winning drive in the fourth-quarter or overtime of a regular-season game — fourth on the NFL behind Peyton Manning (54), Drew Brees (50) and Dan Marino (47). The 43-year-old quarterback has overcome a deficit of 10 or more points to win a league-best 34 times, including postseason.
“Tom, he’s never behind in his mind. We can always make plays to win games,” coach Bruce Arians said.
“How can you not believe in him? He’s the greatest to ever do it,” receiver Scotty Miller said. “We just go in there and follow his lead.”
With several members of the newly crowned Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning cheering on from a suite at Raymond James Stadium — along with the Cup — Brady shrugged off throwing an early interception returned from a touchdown to keep the Bucs (3-1) in first place in the NFC South.
Five players — Miller, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn — caught scoring passes from Brady, who threw four of them after the Bucs fell behind 24-7 in the second quarter.
“We knew we had played poorly. It was just a show of character. I can honestly say that if this had been last year, we would have gotten beat by 20,” Arians said. “This team has a ton of character and playmakers and we started making plays. You can see that when we don’t beat ourselves, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Brady completed 30 of 46 passes with one interception and zero sacks. It was the seventh five-TD performance of his career, first since Sept. 24, 2017 for New England against Houston.
“We’ve got to keep building on the confidence in one another because there’s nothing we’re doing out there that’s perfect,” Brady said. “But we’re going to have to keep building on the good things and learn from the bad things.”
Rookie Justin Herbert completed 20 of 25 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns for the Chargers (1-3), who’ve lost three straight with the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft playing earlier than expected because of injuries to Tyrod Taylor.
Michael Davis intercepted Brady’s sideline throw intended for Justin Watson and returned the ball 73 yards for a first-quarter score and a 14-7 lead. LA extended the advantage to 17 with a 19-yard TD pass to Donald Parham Jr. and Michael Badgley’s 53-yard field goal.
“We have to get over the hump,” Herbert said, noting the Chargers came close in all three losses. “We have to learn to close big games. When we are up 17 points, we can’t shoot ourselves in the foot.”
The game swung dramatically in the final minute of the opening half.
Ndamukong Suh forced a fumble inside the Los Angeles 10 with the Chargers attempting to run out at the clock. Linebacker Devin White recovered, setting up Brady’s 6-yard TD to Evans, who finished with seven catches for 122 yards.
“I was a bit surprised they didn’t just take a knee,” Evans said. “It was 24-7. They’d had a great first half. They made a mistake. We capitalized on it, got a touchdown and had momentum going into the second half and ran with it.”
The Bucs drew closer on Brady’s 28-yard scoring throw to O.J. Howard, then took took a short-lived 28-24 lead when the three-time league MVP hit Miller on consecutive plays for 44 yards and 19 yards to get the ball into the end zone again.
Herbert, who threw a 51-yard TD pass to Tyron Johnson in the first half, put the Chargers up 31-28 with a scintillating 73-yard strike to Jalen Guyton, releasing the ball under heavy pressure.
Brady’s 9-yard scoring pass to Vaughn finished a seven-play, 75-yard drive that put Tampa Bay ahead for good with 11 minutes remaining.
“We all know his track record. His resume speaks for itself.,” Evans said. “We need him to play like that week in and week out if we want to be the special team we’re capable of being. We have the upmost confidence in Tom. He had a hell of a game today.”
►Cleveland 49, (at) Dallas 38: Baker Mayfield threw for two touchdowns, one of which was set up when Myles Garrett had a strip sack for the third straight game, and the Browns held on to improve to 3-1 for the first time since 2001.
Jarvis Landry had his first career touchdown pass in the receiver’s 100th career game, a 37-yard toss to Odell Beckham Jr. in Beckham’s first multi-TD game with the Browns.
Beckham finished with his first three-score game in nearly five years, capped by a 50-yard run on a reverse after the Cowboys had cut a 41-14 deficit to three points with less than four minutes remaining. He had five catches for 81 yards and two scores.
The Browns ran for 307 yards and three touchdowns despite losing lead back Nick Chubb to a knee injury in the first quarter.
Kareem Hunt, who has been battling a groin injury, had 71 yards and two touchdowns, and D’Ernest Johnson doubled his career yardage of 26 yards in the first half alone, finishing with a team-high 95 yards. Beckham had 73 on two carries.
Dak Prescott had his first 500-yard game, finishing with 502 yards passing, and became the first NFL player to throw for at least 450 yards in three consecutive games.
Prescott set that record because the Cowboys (1-3) have played from way behind three straight weeks and now have lost the first of three straight home games.
►Philadelphia 25, (at) San Francisco 20: Carson Wentz hit Travis Fulgham on a 42-yard touchdown pass with 5:50 remaining to lift Philadelphia over San Francisco for the Eagles’ first win of the season.
With the Eagles (1-2-1) missing their top three receivers and No. 2 tight end, the little-known Fulgham delivered the play of the game for Philadelphia.
Niners quarterback Nick Mullens committed three turnovers, including losing a fumble on a strip sack that Malik Jackson recovered to set up the go-ahead score. He went 18 for 26 for 200 yards and one touchdown before being replaced by C.J. Beathard following his third giveaway.
Beathard led a late TD drive and got the Niners (2-2) to the Eagles 33 before his desperation heave fell incomplete in the end zone on the final play.
Wentz ran for an 11-yard TD and threw for 193 yards and a score to move the Eagles into first place in the hapless NFC East.
►Indianapolis 19, (at) Chicago 11: Philip Rivers threw a touchdown pass on Indianapolis’ first possession and the Colts shut down Nick Foles and the Bears.
After Rivers connected with Mo Alie-Cox on a 13-yard score, the NFL’s top-ranked defense took over.
The Colts (3-1) kept the Bears (3-1) out of the end zone until Allen Robinson caught a 16-yard pass with 1:35 remaining. Indianapolis recovered the onside kick and came away with its third straight win, its best streak since beating Kansas City, Houston and Denver last October.
As for the Bears, their offense didn’t look much better with Foles starting instead of Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears managed just 269 yards – only 28 on the ground.
The Colts’ offense didn’t exactly light up Chicago, either.
Rivers was 16 of 29 for 190 yards and a TD.
Julian Blackmon intercepted Foles at the Indianapolis 7 early in the fourth quarter with the Colts leading by 13. Rodrigo Blankenship kicked four field goals for Indy.
►(At) L.A. Rams 17, N.Y. Giants 9: Jared Goff hit Cooper Kupp for a 55-yard touchdown with 6:56 to play, and the Rams beat the Giants in a game marred by a postgame fight between Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Giants receiver Golden Tate.
Ramsey and Tate scuffled at midfield after the final whistle after a game filled with trash-talking between the two Nashville-area natives. Ramsey has two young children with Tate’s sister, and Tate was publicly upset last year when the couple went through a nasty public breakup.
Darious Williams made a redemptive, diving interception at the Los Angeles 7 with 52 seconds to play as the Rams (3-1) barely stayed unbeaten at new SoFi Stadium and kept first-year Giants coach Joe Judge winless.
After a dominant opening drive, Los Angeles struggled to get free from the Giants (0-4) until the speedy Kupp caught a pass behind New York’s linebackers and sprinted through the secondary for the Rams’ first touchdown since their opening drive. That was the only TD pass for Goff, who went 25 of 32 for 200 yards.
Daniel Jones passed for 190 yards and rushed for 45 for the Giants, who haven’t scored a touchdown in their last two games.
►Buffalo 30, (at) Las Vegas 23: Josh Allen threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another, leading the Bills past the Raiders.
Buffalo has opened consecutive seasons with 4-0 records, just the third time in team history and first since 1991-92, both seasons when the Bills lost in the Super Bowl.
The Bills have scored 30 points in three consecutive games, and are averaging 30.75 points per game, third highest in the NFL.
Las Vegas (2-2) lost its second straight game after falling at New England last week.
Allen continued to mesh well with offseason acquisition Stefon Diggs, who finished with six receptions for 115 yards.
Derek Carr had a strong performance for the Raiders, going 32 for 44 for 311 yards and two touchdowns. Carr, who has yet to throw an interception this season, surpassed Ken Stabler and set a franchise record with 151 career touchdown passes.
Allen was taken to the locker room late in the first half with a left shoulder injury. He was back on the bench moments later, knelt on the final play of the half, and returned in the second half — to pick up where he left off.
►Baltimore 31, (at) Washington 17: Lamar Jackson ran for a 50-yard touchdown and threw for two scores in a bounce-back performance by the reigning NFL MVP and the Ravens, which took control early and beat Washington.
Coming off a humbling loss to Kansas City on Monday night, the Ravens (3-1) built a 21-10 halftime lead before opening the third quarter with a drive that ended with Mark Andrews’ second touchdown catch.
That was enough to hand Washington (1-3) its third straight defeat.
Washington coach Ron Rivera, weakened by treatment he received during the week for lymph node cancer, occasionally took a break by sitting on the bench.
After throwing three interceptions last week, Washington’s Dwayne Haskins Jr. went 32 for 45 for a career-high 314 yards. He was sacked three times, twice by Matthew Judon.
Jackson’s numbers weren’t as big, but he managed the Baltimore offense as required while completing 14 of 21 passes for 193 yards. His 50-yard TD dash in the second quarter was the longest of his career, topping a 47-yarder last year against Cincinnati.
►(At) Cincinnati 33, Jacksonville 25: Joe Mixon ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns and caught Joe Burrow’s pass for another score as the Bengals rolled up 505 yards to beat the Jaguars.
The Bengals (1-2-1) worked around their recent offensive line problems and Mixon broke through with his first big game of the season, which opened up the field for Burrow to hit some big passes. The Heisman Trophy-winning rookie was sharp again, throwing for 300 yards and the touchdown to Mixon.
The Bengals struggled early but started getting out of their own way on a drive late in the first half that ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mixon on a wheel route. Mixon then got free and tore down the right side for a 34-yard score to cap the first drive of the second half, giving the Bengals their first lead, 17-13.
Mixon scored his third TD of the day on a run right up the middle of the defense.
The Jaguars (1-3) cut it to 30-22 with 6:14 left, but their 2-point conversion attempt failed. Bullock kicked his fourth field goal with under two minutes left.
The Jags added a field goal with 8 seconds left, but the ensuing onside kick was unsuccessful.
►Seattle 31, (at) Miami 23: Russell Wilson threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns as the Seahawks beat the Dolphins.
The Seahawks (4-0) have scored 30 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since 2015.
Seattle forced Miami to settle for five field goals before the Dolphins finally reached the end zone in the final minutes.
Wilson connected with David Moore for 57 yards in the final seconds of the first half to set up a touchdown that gave Seattle a 17-9 lead.
Wilson, who went 24 for 34, tied Peyton Manning’s record of 15 touchdown passes in the first four games of a season. Manning did it 2013.
DK Metcalf had four catches for 106 yards, Moore had three for 95 yards, and Chris Carson rushed for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 29 for 45 and 315 yards but threw two interceptions for Miami (1-3). He also rushed for a touchdown and was the leading rusher for Miami with six carries for 47 yards.
►Minnesota 31, (at) Houston 23: Dalvin Cook ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns and the Vikings withstood a late rally from the winless Texans.
The Texans cut the lead to 8 when Deshaun Watson connected with Kenny Stills on a 24-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-10 with about six minutes remaining.
Houston’s defense got a stop and Will Fuller made an acrobatic one-handed catch on fourth down for what was initially ruled a touchdown with about a minute left. But after a review it was determined that the ball hit the ground before Fuller gained control, and Minnesota (1-3) ran out the clock from there.
Alexander Mattison added a rushing touchdown and Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings.
Houston’s NFL-worst run defense continued to struggle, giving up 162 yards as the Texans dropped to 0-4 for the first time since 2008.
Watson threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns and Fuller had 108 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Minnesota’s Harrison Smith was ejected from the game for a leaping helmet-to-helmet hit on Houston’s Jordan Akins late in the first half.
►(At) Carolina 31, Arizona 21: Teddy Bridgewater threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score, and the Panthers took down the Cardinals.
The Panthers (2-2) scored touchdowns on their first four trips inside the Cardinals’ 20-yard line to build a 28-7 lead one week after settling for five short field goals in a 21-16 victory over the Chargers.
Bridgewater scored his first rushing touchdown since Dec. 20, 2015 on an 18-yard scramble, sidestepping several tacklers to reach the end zone and give Carolina a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. It was his first TD rushing since tearing an ACL and suffering a dislocated left kneecap during a training camp practice with the Vikings.
Mike Davis, filling in for the injured Christian McCaffrey, had 111 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Reggie Bonnafon and Ian Thomas caught short TD tosses from Bridgewater and Robby Anderson had eight catches for 99 yards.
The Panthers’ defense limited Kyler Murray to 133 yards passing, although he did throw for three touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins was limited to 41 yards on seven receptions.