The Buccaneers were winners on Sunday, but this was one of the worst games the Buccaneers have played this season.
Against a New York Jets team that had nothing to play for, the Bucs never led in the game until there were 15 seconds to go after the Tom Brady to Cyril Grayson touchdown pass.
The Jets were able to move the ball at will on offense, and the Bucs offense struggled to move the ball at times against the Jets defense.
The Bucs were outplayed in most facets of the game. The difference makers were Tom Brady and Cyril Grayson.
With Ronald Jones out with an ankle injury, and Ke’Shawn Vaughan out with bruised ribs, the Bucs turned to their fourth string running back Le’Veon Bell to keep the chains moving late in the game.
Bell made some critical catches out of the backfield late in the game to keep the Buc’s offense on the field and finished with 30 yards on three catches. Bell also had the two-point conversion after the Bucs final touchdown.
Against a run defense ranked 30th, the Bucs could only muster 62 yards on the ground.
Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson would have his best game as a pro completing 19/33 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown.
Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson had been sacked 35 times this season, but against one of the better defenses in the league, Wilson was hit just four times and sacked just once. That sack by linebacker Anthony Nelson.
The Buccaneers seem disinterested from the opening kickoff as the Jets took the ball right down the field, highlighted by Michael Carter’s 55-yard run to set the Jets up deep in Bucs territory.
The Jets would score a touchdown on that opening drive and never trail again until there were 15 seconds left.
Frustrated by his lack of getting the ball thrown his way, Antonio Brown took off his jersey and pads and threw his gloves and undershirt into the stands. Brown then ran off the field as he waved to the Jets fans and promptly waved his NFL career goodbye.
Bruce Arians said that he had never seen anything like this in his football career.
This is the fourth team that Antonio brown has quit on. He quit on Pittsburgh, New England, the Raiders, and now the Buccaneers.
In quitting, Brown left 1 million dollars in incentives on the table.
After the game, Arians was in no mood to discuss the Antonio Brown saga and said, “I’m not talking about him. He’s not part of the Bucs.”
Brown did not fly back to Tampa with the team.
As bad as this game was, there were some positives. Tom Brady looked like the Tom Brady of 20 years ago, passing for 410 yards and three touchdown passes, including the game-winner.
Brady took the Bucs on a 93-yard nine-play drive in 1:57, capped off by the 33-yard touchdown pass to Cyril Grayson.
Arians summed it up perfectly after the game. “We got Tom, and that’s all you need.”
Cyril Grayson had five catches for 81 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Last month, Grayson was languishing on the practice squad when Arians asked Tom Brady about Grayson, and Brady told Arians, “Man, I trust him. I really trust him. Put him in there.” And the rest is history.
Let’s not forget the big stop the defense had on a fourth and two at the Tampa seven-yard line. Zach Wilson tried a quarterback sneak which fooled no one on the Bucs defense. The ball went back over to Brady and the offense, which had their best drive of the game to win it 28-24.
As ugly as this was, good teams always find a way to win, and that’s what the Bucs did against the Jets.
If the Bucs play like this in two weeks, they will get blown out in their first-round playoff game, whoever their opponent is.