NFL round-up: Brady leads Tampa to first playoff since 2007
Elsewhere the Miami Dolphins pipped Las Vegas Raiders with a late field goal
Tom Brady guided Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the playoffs on Saturday. Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 47 Detroit Lions 7
Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes in the only half he needed to play and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on to rout the Detroit Lions 47-7 on Saturday, sealing a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
The Bucs (10-5) set a franchise record with 588 yards and snapped the NFL’s second-longest postseason drought behind Cleveland’s 18-year run that can end on Sunday.
Tampa Bay rested Brady when they were ahead 34-0, the largest halftime lead in franchise history. Blaine Gabbert threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski on his first snap, one play after Detroit running back D’Andre Swift fumbled, and a 22-yard pass to Mike Evans later in the third quarter.
Brady was 22 of 27 for 348 yards with a mix of passes deep down the field and darts in traffic. The six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback threw touchdown passes to Gronkowski, Evans, Chris Godwin, who made a one-handed catch, and Antonio Brown.
The 43-year-old Brady started his 298th game to tie Brett Favre’s record for an NFL quarterback and played in his 300th game.
Miami Dolphins 26-25 Las Vegas Raiders
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a 41-yard pass to Mack Hollins while being dragged down by the facemask and the Miami Dolphins moved one step closer to a playoff berth when Jason Sanders’ 44-yard field goal with one second remaining gave them a 26-25 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders (7-8) chose to run down the clock for a go-ahead field goal instead of trying for a touchdown with Josh Jacobs going down on purpose at the one-yard line and Derek Carr taking a knee to set up Daniel Carlson’s 22-yard field goal with 19 seconds left.
But the Dolphins had some late-game magic with Fitzpatrick launching the deep pass to Hollins while being dragged down by Arden Key. The penalty moved the ball down to the Las Vegas 26, setting up Sanders’ winning kick.
The Dolphins (10-5) moved a half-game ahead of Baltimore in the AFC playoff race and can clinch a wild-card berth with a win next week at Buffalo. The Raiders (7-8) were eliminated with their fifth loss in six games and will be out of the postseason for the 17th time in 18 seasons.
Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa struggled to move the ball with his 22 passes gaining only 94 yards. He did connect on a 10-yard TD pass to Gaskin that tied the game in the third quarter, but was pulled in the fourth for Fitzpatrick with the Raiders leading 16-13.
San Francisco 49ers 20–12 Arizona Cardinals
Third-string quarterback CJ Beathard threw three touchdown passes, Jeff Wilson ran for 183 yards, and the San Francisco 49ers dealt a brutal blow to the Arizona Cardinals’ playoff hopes by defeating them 20-12.
Beathard was making his first start since 2018 and was 1-9 as a starting quarterback before he was pressed into action against the Cardinals because of injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens. The 27-year-old wasn’t amazing but avoided big mistakes. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 182 yards, Wilson earned hard yards on the ground and the 49ers came up with two big defensive stops late in the fourth quarter, including Ahkello Witherspoon’s interception of Kyler Murray’s pass in the end zone.
The Cardinals (8-7) no longer control their own destiny in the playoff race. If the Chicago Bears win their final two games, they will reach the playoffs because of a tiebreaker over the Cardinals.
Murray suffered an apparent right leg injury on the Cardinals’ final play. Murray was hit by the 49ers’ Alex Barrett after making a throw as the Cardinals tried to rally in the closing seconds. Murray lay on the field as Arizona’s trainers attended to him and limped off the field after a couple of minutes. He appeared to be in considerable pain on the Cardinals’ bench and lingered there before heading off to the locker room. – Guardian