Brady and the Buccaneers thrive despite losing renowned receptors

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, left, celebrates with Mike Evans after Evans scored a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, the Sunday January 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, NJ (AP Photo / John Munson)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, left, celebrates with Mike Evans after Evans scored a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, the Sunday January 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, NJ (AP Photo / John Munson)

PA

No matter who Tom Brady throws at, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to find ways to win.

Antonio Brown is the last great playmaker the seven-time Super Bowl champion won’t have available for the rest of the season. Brown was sent off the team after the wide receiver abruptly left the sideline in the third quarter of Sunday’s 28-24 victory over the New York Jets.

Chris Godwin came out with a season-ending knee injury and Mike Evans was slowed down by hamstring pain. However, that just means more opportunities for lesser-known backups like Breshad Perriman, Tyler Johnson, and Cyril Grayson to contribute.

At 12-4, the reigning Super Bowl champions tied the most regular season wins in franchise history. A victory this weekend over Carolina would keep the Bucs in the race for the No.2 NFC playoff standings.

Several key players in attack and defense are healing injuries. Coach Bruce Arians made it clear on Monday that finishing strong is the priority, not holding players back in hopes of minimizing the risk of injury.

“There is no balance. You play to win. You’re playing to get that second seed, it’s huge, ”Arians said. “We are not resting anyone. We play to win.

Four weeks ago, Perriman caught a winning pass in overtime to beat Buffalo. Grayson’s reception of a 33-yard touchdown put Tampa Bay ahead of the Jets with 15 seconds left on Sunday.

Longtime favorite Rob Gronkowski had seven catches for 115 yards against New York, however, Brady also joined Grayson – high on the practice team – six times for 81 yards. Johnson had four receptions for 50 yards and Perriman received two for 41 yards.

With Godwin – and now Brown – out, look for Brady to continue to benefit from the experience and confidence Perriman, Grayson and Johnson have gained over the past month.

WHAT WORKS

With 4,990 passing yards, Brady is 120 away from surpassing Jameis Winston’s single-season franchise record of 5,109, set in 2019. Grayson’s winning pitch was the 40th touchdown pass of the season for the quarterback. -44-year-old fullback and his 80th in 31 regular-season games since joining the Bucs in 2020. That ties Josh Freeman to second place on the club’s all-time roster behind Winston (121).

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The Jets averaged nearly 6 yards per carry while rushing for 150 yards, leaving the Arians less than happy with his defense tackle. The Bucs entered the game allowing 87.5 yards per game, the third best in the NFL.

STORE

Grayson is a former LSU track star who takes the opportunity to help Tampa Bay’s attempt to repeat itself as Super Bowl champion. He tallied a 50-yard touchdown in his lone catch in a loss to New Orleans on Oct. 31 and totaled nine receptions for 162 yards and one touchdown in wins over the Panthers and Jets over the two. last few weeks.

SOLD OUT

Brown’s career is on hold again after another messy start for an NFL team. Stays in Pittsburgh, Oakland and New England also ended badly. He stripped off his jersey, shoulder pads, undershirt and gloves before leaving the field against the Jets, finishing with 42 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns in seven games this season. Arians said Brown is no longer on the squad.

INJURIES

Evans, who was out the week before, played on Sunday and landed a touchdown. He’s missing 54 yards to become the only player in NFL history to start a career with eight consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards. The Arians would love to see him extend the record – if he’s healthy enough to play.

“Seeing him (Monday) he said he felt good. We’ll wait and see how it goes,” Arians said. “Obviously, I would love to see him have it.”

KEY NUMBER

53 – Brady edged Ben Roethlisberger with the 53rd winning practice of his career on Sunday. It is tied with Drew Brees for second place behind Peyton Manning’s 54. He has 42 career comebacks in the fourth quarter, second behind Manning’s 43.

NEXT STEPS

Tampa Bay faces Carolina for the second time in three weeks, with a chance to stay in the race for second place in the NFC playoffs.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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