Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Patriots in AFC title game again after topping Chiefs

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady took off for the end zone and dived for the pylon, taking a helmet in the back as his body sailed over the goal line.

The ball stayed out, but it didn't matter. The reigning Super Bowl MVP carried it in for a score on the next play, reaching over the line to convert in a way Kansas City couldn't Saturday.

Brady threw two touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski and sneaked in for another, and the defending Super Bowl champions reached their fifth straight AFC title game with a 27-20 victory over the Chiefs.

New England (13-4) meets the winner of today's Steelers-Broncos game at Denver for a spot in Super Bowl 50. The Patriots are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back NFL titles since they did it in 2003-04.

They also became the second team ever to make five straight conference championship games, joining the 1973-77 Raiders.

"It's pretty special to get back to another AFC championship game," said Brady, who will play in it for the 10th time. "…You've got to grind throughout the entire year. There's only four teams playing next week, and we're one of them. That game means a lot."

After spending two weeks recovering from knee and back injuries, Gronkowski caught seven passes for 83 yards, including touchdowns from 8 and 16 yards out. Gronkowski also recovered an onside kick after Kansas City (12-6) cut the deficit to 27-20 with just more than one minute left.

He has eight career playoff receiving touchdowns, surpassing Dave Casper and Vernon Davis for the record among tight ends, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Julian Edelman returned from a broken foot to catch 10 passes for 100 yards for New England. Danny Amendola had two catches for 18 yards.

"It's just great to have those guys back," Gronkowski said. "They're hard workers, they're great players. The chemistry was clicking tonight."

Trailing 27-13, Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense burned more than four minutes off the clock to score their last touchdown, a mismanaged try that helped end Kansas City's franchise-record 11-game winning streak.

"It's a fine line of getting into the best play and just keep going at the line of scrimmage," Smith said. "It would've been nice to get a score before the two-minute warning. It would've helped tremendously with three timeouts. It probably hurt us there."

Smith completed 29 of 50 passes for 246 yards and a score.

Comments
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18