Tampa Bay Buccaneers Barely Beat Washington 31-23 for First Playoff Win Since 2003

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) dives toward the end zone to score a touchdown against Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebackers Kevin Minter (51) and Lavonte David (54) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Al Drago)

Washington Football Team rookie defensive end Chase Young said all week, “Tom Brady, I’m coming!” and “I want Tom!” But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, playing in his 42nd postseason game and first with the Bucs at age 43, didn’t take the bait from last year’s No. 2 overall draft pick, offering only the slightest hint of a smirk.

But instead of taking down the six-time Super Bowl winner, Young finished Saturday night’s NFC wild-card game with no sacks and was congratulating Brady after the Bucs’ 31-23 win.

Brady led the Bucs to their first playoff appearance since 2007 and first playoff win since they won Super Bowl XXXVII after the 2002 season.

Against Washington’s vaunted pass rush, which amassed 47.0 sacks in the regular season, Brady dropped back and took deep shots, completing 22 of 40 passes for 381 Yards and two touchdowns. And he did so without starting running back Ronald Jones, who suffered a quad injury in warmups, and without right guard Alex Cappa, who left the game with an ankle injury.

On his first touchdown, Brady looked off Washington safety Jeremy Reaves and found Antonio Brown on a wheel route for a 36-yard score. He then hit Chris Godwin on a play-action pass where Godwin crossed the middle of the field for a 27-yard touchdown.

It wasn’t smooth sailing. Washington backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who stepped in for Alex Smith, was able to get some chunk plays when the Bucs got aggressive but couldn’t get home and made this an uncomfortably close game. Bucs coach Bruce Arians suggested that his players might have relaxed too much knowing they were facing a backup.

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SOURCE: ESPN, Jenna Laine

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