It wasn’t easy, but the New England Patriots survived the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night after Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston made a last-ditch effort to win the game as time expired, but threw an incomplete pass and the Pats sealed the 19-14 victory.
Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 303 total yards on the night – but it didn’t start off well for the future hall-of-famrer.
Brady threw a pass over the head of wide-open wide receiver Chris Hogan in the first quarter that landed in the hands of Tampa Bay safety Justin Evans. That was Brady’s first interception of the season.
New England didn’t allow the Bucs to capitalize on the pick and held them to only one first down during the drive.
Points were finally put on the board with 1:21 left in the first quarter after running back Dion Lewis ran for a season-long 31 yards to the red zone – but the Pats were forced to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Tampa Bay found the back of the end zone in the second quarter after defensive end Deatrich Wise drew an illegal use of the hands penalty that nullified an incomplete pass on third-and-20 before running back Doug Martin, fresh off his four-game suspension, completed the Bucs’ drive with a 1-yard touchdown,
After tackle Nate Solder drew an illegal block, Brady came back with a 19-yard completion to wide receiver Brandin Cooks, a 10-yard pass to POSITION Danny Amendola and a 24-yarder to running back James White. He capped off the drive by finding Hogan who scored his team-leading fifth touchdown.
The Patriots added three more points with a field goal and went into the locker rooms at halftime with a 13-7 lead.
New England extended their lead in the third quarter after another field goal – kicker Stephen Gostowki’s third of the game to go up 16-7.
The Bucs tried to make a late comeback as they scored with 2:09 left in the game. Winston led Tampa Bay on a nine-play, 74-yard scoring drive that ended with a touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Brate.
And just like that, the Patriots’ lead was cut to two points.
Gostowski kicked his fourth field goal of the game to give the Patriots a little breathing room with a 19-14 lead with 1:10 remaining in the game – but the Bucs made it interesting in the final minute after they got the ball back.
Winston led his team down the field once again and threw the ball into the end zone as time expired – but the pass fell incomplete and that would seal the 19-14 victory for New England.
Game MVP: Chris Hogan: He has a touchdown reception in four-straight games – the longest active streak in the NFL and scored his team-leading fifth touchdown of the season.
Fun fact: With the win, Brady tied former quarterbacks Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the winningest quarterbacks in a regular season in NFL history.
What’s next: The Patriots (3-2) will travel to take on the New York Jets on Sunday, Oct. 15.