TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A change of uniforms hasn’t affected Tom Brady’s mastery of the Buffalo Bills.
The 44-year-old quarterback beat his former AFC East rivals for the 10th straight time Sunday, becoming the NFL’s all-time completions leader and throwing his 700th touchdown pass for the winning score in Tampa Bay’s 33-27 overtime victory. The Buccaneers are on the brink of their first division title in 14 years.
In his first game against the Bills since moving to Tampa Bay in 2020, Brady threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also scored on a quarterback sneak set up by the 7,143rd completion of an unmatched 22-year career that includes seven Super Bowl titles.
The Bucs (10-3) won it on Breshad Perriman’s 58-yard catch-and-run with 5:31 left in OT — the 700th TD pass of Brady’s career, including playoffs.
“It was pretty cool. I’d rather it not come down to that, but in the end they all count the same,” Brady said. “We’ve got to learn from it and move on. Next week we’re playing for a division championship and that’s pretty exciting.”
Despite blowing a 21-point halftime lead, the reigning Super Bowl champs won their fourth straight game to retain a four-game lead over New Orleans and Atlanta in the NFC South, which Tampa Bay hasn’t won since 2007.
“We did a three-and-out in overtime, and when you give No. 12 on the other side that opportunity, you know, he has a chance to win the game at any time,” Bills center Mitch Morse said.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Buffalo running back Devin Singletary added. “It’s the only way I can put it.”.
Brady, who ruled Buffalo and won 17 AFC East titles during a two-decade stint with the New England Patriots, improved to 33-3 against the Bills. He broke Drew Brees’ record for most completions in a career late in the second quarter and finished 31 of 46 with no interceptions.
Josh Allen shrugged off a slow start to throw for 308 yards and two touchdowns for Buffalo. He also rushed for 109 yards and a TD, becoming the fourth player in league history to throw for over 300 yards and also rush for 100-plus in the same game.
Allen also left Raymond James Stadium with his left foot in a walking boot. He will undergo tests on Monday, coach Sean McDermott said.
“Finished the game. I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” Allen said. “It’s pretty sore. It’s football.”
Since starting 4-1, the Bills (7-6) had hardly resembled the team that won its first division title since 1995 and enjoyed its deepest playoff run in 27 years before losing to Kansas City in the AFC championship game last January.
They are 3-5 over their last eight games and have lost two in a row for the first time this year, jeopardizing their playoffs hopes with four weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Bucs, who have won four straight on the heels on a two-game skid, exposed the Bills offensively and defensively before Allen and the league’s No. 1 ranked defense got back on track after halftime.
Buffalo’s red-zone issues contributed to falling behind, with the offense settling for a field goal on a drive inside Tampa Bay’s 5 with the Bills trailing 10-0 in the second quarter.
A tendency to be overly reliant on Allen was a hindrance, too, with the absence early of a rushing attack that actually involved running backs. Buffalo ran just four times for 43 yards in the opening half, with Allen logging all the carries. The first rushing attempt by a running back came early in the third quarter, when Matt Breida took the snap on a fake punt and lost 3 yards on fourth-and-2 from the Bills 45.
Singletary’s first carry went for 29 yards on Buffalo’s next possession, launching a long drive Allen finished with an 18-yard TD run, making it 24-10. Turns out, the Bills quarterback was just getting started.
Allen moved his team within striking distance with TD passes of 15 yards to Dawson Knox and 4 yards to Gabriel Davis, trimming the deficit to 27-24 with just under five minutes remaining in regulation.
Buffalo got the ball back with 3:05 left and put together a 70-yard drive to force overtime with a 25-yard field goal in the closing seconds.
Bills: WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee) was hurt in the first half and did not return. … Reserve RB Taiwan Jones (knee) was hurt in the first quarter.
Buccaneers: They played without S Jordan Whitehead, inactive for the second straight week with a calf injury. … RB Giovani Bernard (hip) sat out the second half. CB Jamel Dean (illness) also didn’t play after halftime.
Bills: host Carolina on Sunday. They’ll play three of four games against opponents that currently have a losing record.
Buccaneers: Tampa Bay can clinch its first NFC South crown since 2007 when its hosts three-time defending division champ New Orleans next Sunday night.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.