Tom Brady and the Buccaneers rout Philadelphia in wildcards

Reigning champions progress in play-offs; San Francisco edge out the Dallas Cowboys

Tom Brady threw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Tom Brady threw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty

 

Tom Brady shone as his quest for an eighth Super Bowl title continued with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers easing into week two of the play-offs courtesy of a routine victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The reigning NFL champions made light work of the challenge ahead of them, running out 31-15 winners in the wildcard round.

Two unanswered touchdowns on short runs from first Giovani Bernard and then Ke’Shawn Vaughn had the Bucs well ahead, leading 17-0 at half-time before Brady took centre stage.

The 44-year-old has seven Super Bowl rings in his collection and will be aiming to fill yet another finger having passed for two touchdowns in the third quarter to secure the win.

The first came on a simple two-yard throw to his long-time favourite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, before Shaq Barrett’s interception set up a 36-yard strike to Mike Evans in the left corner.

The Eagles hit back late on through running backs Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell but they never threatened to spring a shock comeback on the dominant Bucs.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers have scraped into the play-offs after a tight 23-17 win against the Dallas Cowboys.

San Francisco receiver Deebo Samuel saved the day with a 26 yard rushing touchdown with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo racking up 172 passing yards as well as an interception.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott finished the game with 254 yards through the air, a touchdown and an interception. Prescott almost turned the tables with a lengthy run and seconds on the clock but he was unable to spike the ball before time ran out.

And the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at home 42-21, leaving Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with a sad defeat for what could be the last game of his career.

Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes set up five of his team’s six touchdowns on the night, ending with 404 yards through the air.

The effort dwarfed Roethlisberger’s two touchdowns and 215 yards.

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