By Terrance Turner
Dec. 12, 2021
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3) hosted the Buffalo Bills (7-5) today at home in Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay jumped out to a commanding lead, up 24-3 at the half. They were ahead by three scores early in the fourth quarter, but the Bills erased a 17-point deficit to tie the game late. That forced overtime, in which Buccaneers receiver Breshad Perriman powered his team past the finish line.
The Buccaneers started scoring nearly out of the gate. Running back Leonard Fournette rushed 47 yards for a touchdown and kicker Ryan Succop drilled an extra-point kick to make it 7-0. He kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter to expand the lead. Buffalo kicker Tyler Bass put the Bills on the board with a field goal of his own, but the Bucs responded with a touchdown. Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady hurled the ball to receiver Mike Evans, who leapt into the air for a 13-yard score. With 7:11 left in the half, Tampa Bay led 17-3.
Brady then put his team over the edge. With just 1:29 left in the half, Brady crossed the line on a quarterback sneak. His one-yard touchdown led to a chippy exchange between the two teams (see below) and gave the Buccaneers a commanding 24-3 lead.
The Bucs’ scoring slowed down in the second half. The only points scored in the third quarter came courtesy of a rushing touchdown from Bills quarterback Josh Allen. But the Bucs responded with a 24-yard field goal from Succop to open the fourth quarter. Up 27-10, it looked as though the Buccaneers’ victory might be a foregone conclusion. But Buffalo had other plans.
The Bills scored back-to-back touchdowns. Allen threw a 15-yard pass to tight end Dawson Knox and then found Gabriel Davis for another score four minutes later. Bass added a field goal with just 24 seconds left to tie the game. The Bills had erased a 17-point deficit and fought their way to overtime.
In overtime, Buffalo’s red-hot scoring streak cooled. Tampa Bay also struggled, but eventually overcame. A pass interference call on the Buffalo defense gave Tampa Bay an automatic first down. But they lost seven yards when the Bills defense stopped Fournette and actually pushed his backwards. But Brady tossed a pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who picked up 14 yards. Then, out of nowhere, he located wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who took off for 58 yards into the end zone. That touchdown pass was Brady’s 700th — breaking an all-time record — and it won his team the game. Tampa Bay won, 33-27.
Perriman’s stupendous play sealed the game for the Bucs. Brady made no bones about that in a postgame press conference. “I just kind of picked him out the corner of my eye, got it to him, and he made a great catch-and-run,” Brady told reporters after the game. “He’s got great speed, and when I saw him in the open field, I was like, ‘Go, BP, run!'”.
The Buccaneers are now 10-3. They can win their division if they can defeat the Saints next Sunday night. The Bills fall to 7-6. This loss puts them in an uncomfortable position. Entering Week 13, they had an 88% chance of making the playoffs. Now, according to NBC Sports’ Steve Kornacki, they have a 66% chance.