Playoff Brady Leads Bucs Over Gusty Taylor Heinicke and Washington

Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Washington Football Team 31-23 in the NFC Wild Card game on Saturday.
  • Tom Brady has defeated more teams in the playoffs (17) than any other QB in NFL history has wins in the postseason.
  • Tampa Bay will play either New Orleans or the L.A. Rams next Sunday in the divisional round of the 2020 playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were expected to coast against the injury-saddled Washington Football Team. However, the Bucs needed every bit of Tom Brady to help them survive a spirited Washington team led by QB Taylor Heinicke who was only signed to Washington’s practice squad last December 8th.

The Bucs won but failed to cover as nine-point betting favorites against the NFC East champions who were playing at home. Despite that, they picked up their first win since their Super Bowl XXXVII win in 2002

Playoff Brady

Tom Brady wasn’t as accurate aa you would’ve wanted. But we got Playoff Brady on Saturday. The six-time SUper Bowl winner completed 22 of 40 passes for 381 yards with two touchdowns and no interception. Brandy became the oldest player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in the postseason. At 43 years and 159 days old, Brady is 51 days older than George Blanda who threw a TD pass in the 1970 AFC Championship at the age of 43 years and 108 days old.

His 36-yard TD pass to Antonio Brown was his longest postseason TD since he threw a 61-yard TD pass to Deion Branch in the 2011 Divisional Round. It was also just Brady’s second career 30-yard TD pass while playing on the road during the playoffs. The other one was also to Branch in the Patriots’ 2004 AFC title game win over Pittsburgh.

Brady also became the first QB with 200 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns in the first half of a playoff game since, well, Tom Brady himself in 2017. He’s also had at least 200 passing yards in the first half of his last three games, the longest such streak of his 21-year career. And if all those aren’t enough, his win over Washington gave Brady wins over 17 different NFL teams in the postseason. He’s beaten more teams than any QB has total wins in the playoffs.

Heinicke Stole the Show

But more than Brady’s impressive first playoff game as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was Washington QB Taylor Heinicke stealing not only the show on Saturday night with a valiant attempt to out duel Brady and the high-powered Buccaneers’ offense. His Washington Football Team may not have won the game but Heinicke certainly won over America.

Making only his second NFL start, the 27-year old journeyman quarterback delivered a performance to remember. Heinicke completed 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also ran six times for 48 yards and had an 8-yard rushing touchdown which kept Washington in the game.

Interestingly, Heinicke also became only the 2nd 6th round pick in the history of the NFL to throw for at least 250 yards and have one rushing touchdown in his playoff debut. The only other player to accomplish the feat? Tom Brady in the 2001 Divisional Round versus Oakland. Not bad really for someone who was undrafted and had to move around from the Vikings, to the Patriots, Texans, Panthers, and even the XFL before landing in Washington. He certainly made a case for himself having a permanent home in the NFL next season.

Bucs Advance

With the win, the Bucs have advanced to the divisional round of the 2020 NFL playoffs where they are still waiting on for their next opponent. Tampa Bay will either play the New Orleans Saints or the L.A. Rams next week. The Bucs will visit New Orleans if the latter beats Chicago on Sunday. But if the Bears somehow pull off the upset, then Tampa Bay will host the L.A. Rams who defeated the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday.

Tampa Bay got swept by the Saints in their two games this season while the Rams also won in Tampa Bay last November. But the stakes are different now and Brady has never looked more comfortable with the weapons at his disposal. Leonard Fournette was coming off his best game for the Bucs. Mike Evans looked great despite coming off the injury while Antonio Brown continues to understand his role with the team.

However, if the Bucs want to go deeper in the postseason, their defense needs to do better. If they allowed Heinicke to throw for over 300 yards on Saturday, imagine what the elite quarterbacks like Drew Brees or Jared Goff can do against them in a possible matchup. There is still a week to prepare and if the Bucs get their act together, they could be a dangerous team in the upcoming weeks.

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