Tom Brady entered Gillette Stadium Sunday night without Patriot gear on for the first time since leaving the franchise in the spring of 2020. The Buccaneers and Brady emerged victorious against the Patriots after a failed 56-yard field goal attempt by New England kicker Nick Folk. The final score of the anticipated Brady-Belichick battle went to the quarterback with a 19-17 Tampa Bay win.
A win is a win!#GoBucs pic.twitter.com/9os0pLSkSs
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) October 4, 2021
How It All Went Down
It truly was a back-and-forth fight for both teams. Despite the Bucs win, neither Tampa Bay nor New England truly dominated in the game. The Bucs got on the score board in the first quarter with a 29-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Succop at 4:49. This, however, was after two incomplete Brady passes at New England’s 11-yard line. Tampa Bay’s defense struck gold when safety Antoine Winfield Jr. intercepted Patriots quarterback Mac Jones’ pass at 3:39. Unfortunately, the Bucs offense couldn’t cultivate a scoring drive, with Succop missing a 36-yard field goal early in the second.
The Patriots capitalized on the Bucs missed opportunity to score the first touchdown of the game at 8:28, now 7-3. Both teams traded punts before Brady got the Bucs in field goal range with 13 seconds left in the second. The 44-yard field goal attempt was a success, and Tampa trailed by one at halftime.
Once again, the Bucs took advantage of New England’s mistakes. Early in the third quarter, Patriots’ running back J.J. Taylor fumbled the ball and Bucs cornerback Richard Sherman scooped it up to halt New England’s drive. However, Tampa failed yet again to produce anything offensively and were forced to punt.
The Bucs finally scored their first and only touchdown of the game after running back Ronald Jones II scored on an 8-yard rush, now 13-7. This lead didn’t last long as Jones drove the ball 77 yards for tight end Jonnu Smith to score on a 1-yard pass to start the fourth 14-13. It was the battle of the kickers and both Succop and Folk exchanged field goals. Succop got the last laugh after scoring at 2:37 to regain Tampa’s lead. Folk attempted a 56-yard field goal, but was unsuccessful. The Bucs secured the 19-17 win.
Prior to game start, fans in Gillette Stadium witnessed a tribute to their former all-star quarterback. Brady said he had a few emotional moments this week thinking about the people who have meant so much to him and are part of the New England community.
To top it off, Brady passed Drew Brees to become the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader after a 28-yard completion to Mike Evans early in the game.
Brady said he hopes all those he’s played with who have caught his passes over the years had a smile on their face knowing they helped contribute to this record.
The Bucs are back in Tampa Sunday to take on the Dolphins while the Patriots travel to take on the Texans.