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Tom Brady passed for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns as the Bucs beat the Dolphins 45-17 Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, their first home game in three weeks.
Brady threw two touchdown passes apiece to receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Evans, both of whom exceeded 100 receiving yards. Running back Giovani Bernard also had a scoring catch.
Brady completed 30 of 41 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns before taking a seat on the bench with just over seven minutes remaining.
Leonard Fournette scored on a 5-yard run, and Ryan Succop added a 42-yard field goal.
The Bucs had a chance to add another score when they drove to the Dolphins 5 in the final minute, but backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert took a knee on three straight plays to run out the clock.
Jamel Dean intercepted a pass and Shaquil Barrett forced a fumble that was recovered by Ndamukong Suh.
Bucs inside linebacker Lavonte David left the game late in the second quarter with an ankle injury.
Here’s how it happened:
The Bucs took Tom Brady out of the game leading by 28 with just over seven minutes remaining in the game.
He was replaced by backup Blaine Gabbert.
Brady completed 30 of 41 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns. Ten different receivers caught passes.
Insult to injury
Already trailing by three touchdowns, the Dolphins gave the Bucs a chance to add to their lead with a turnover in their own territory.
Jacoby Brissett’s deflected off the hands of receiver Jaylen Waddle into the hands of Tampa Bay cornerback Jamel Dean, who returned it to the Miami 41.
The Bucs didn’t need long to take advantage, as Tom Brady connected with Mike Evans on a 22-yard touchdown pass, Brady’s fifth of the game and second to Evans, who surpassed 100 receiving yards for the game.
The Bucs can hurt you quickly, too.
After a Dolphins punt gave Tampa Bay the ball back at its 39, the Bucs needed just four plays to cover the distance to the end zone.
Mike Evans beat cornerback Nik Nedham on a go route, and Tom Brady hit him in stride for a 34-yard touchdown, putting the Bucs ahead 38-17 with just under 12 minutes remaining.
Brady has now completed 27 of 38 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns.
Prolonging the agony
After the Dolphins closed to within a touchdown in the third quarter, the Bucs not only restored their 14-point lead, they bled nearly seven minutes off the clock in doing so.
Tampa Bay drove 75 yards in 13 plays between the third and fourth quarters and extended its lead to 31-17 on Leonard Fournette’s 5-yard run at the start of the fourth quarter.
Chris Godwin had four receptions for 36 yards on the drive, which took 6:59 to complete.
Fournette was a big part of it, as well, rushing three times for 12 yards, including the touchdown, and catching a pass for a 16-yard gain.
It appeared the Dolphins would have to try for a field goal after Jacoby Brissett threw incomplete on third-and-1 from the Bucs 17 on Miami’s opening drive of the second half.
But cornerback Richard Sherman was called for pass interference against Preston Williams in the end zone, giving Miami a first down at the 1.
Two plays later, Brissett found a wide-open Myles Gaskin just outside the goal line and Gaskin completed the 1-yard touchdown reception, bringing the Dolphins within 24-17 with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Gaskin has 10 receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
Cause for concern
Bucs inside linebacker Lavonte David was down on the field late in the second quarter after teammate Ndamukong Suh appeared to fall on David’s leg.
David walked off the field under his own power to cheers from the crowd after trainers appeared to be looking at his right leg.
David later was ruled out for the game with an ankle injury.
Kevin Minter replaced David on the field.
Shortly afterward, Shaquil Barrett forced a Jacoby Brissett fumble on a strip-sack that Suh recovered at the Bucs’ 34.
Spreading the ball around
Tom Brady took a couple of deep shots to wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on a late second-quarter touchdown drive, but it was running back Leonard Fournette and tight ends OJ Howard and Cameron Brate on the receiving end of most of his passes.
Antonio Brown’s four-yard reception capped a 13-play, 77-yard drive that put Tampa Bay ahead 24-10.
Fournette caught two passes for 21 yards on the drive, Brate had a 10-yard reception and Howard added a 12-yard catch as Tampa Bay drove from its 23.
The Bucs also were helped by a pass interference penalty against safety Eric Rowe against Brown on third-and-three from the 10, giving them a first down at the 3.
Fournette carried twice for 10 yards.
In a half filled with big plays, the Bucs made the biggest so far, as Tom Brady connected with wide receiver Antonio Brown on a 62-yard touchdown pass to gave Tampa Bay a 17-10 lead lead less than four minutes into the second quarter.
It was the longest reception since 2018 for Brown, who beat cornerback Xavien Howard on the play.
Brady has completed 9 of his first 12 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Back for more
Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett sustained a hamstring injury during Miami’s first-quarter touchdown drive and was taken to the locker room on a cart.
Though he was described as questionable, Brissett quickly returned to the sideline on a cart and was back on the field to lead Miami’s offense on its third drive of the game early in the second quarter.
Brissett completed 8 of his first 10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.
Going the distance
After driving 70 yards for a Jason Sanders field goal on its opening possession, Miami went the distance its second time with the ball, driving 75 yards to take a 10-7 lead on Jacoby Brissett’s 24-yard pass to running back Myles Gaskin.
Gaskin easily beat Bucs linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul on a wheel route.
Outside of a garbage-time touchdown late in a loss to the Rams a couple of weeks ago (he suffered a knee injury on the play), Bucs fans didn’t see much from third-down back Giovani Bernard in the first month of the season.
But they got a glimpse of what Bernard brings to the offense on Tampa Bay’s opening drive, as he caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady on an option route to put the Bucs ahead 7-3.
The reception, on third-and-six, capped an eighth-play, 80-yard drive the featured first downs on four consecutive plays as Tampa Bay moved from its 21 to the Miami 10.
The big plays included a 9-yard completion to tight end OJ Howard, a 26-yard pass deep down the right side to Mike Evans, a 17-yard run off the left side by Leonard Fournette and a 13-yard pass to Chris Godwin.
The Dolphins came charging out of the gate, driving 70 yards on their opening possession for a field goal.
With wide receiver DeVante Parker inactive, quarterback Jacoby Brissett looked to Preston Williams for a couple of big plays to quickly move Miami downfield.
Brissett found Williams deep down the left sideline for 21 yards and a first down at the Dolphins 48. The Bucs challenged the play, but it was upheld following a replay review.
Three plays later, Williams got open on a hitch pattern and Brissett found him for a 34-yard gain to the Tampa Bay 9.
The Bucs defense tightened up from there, and the Dolphins were forced to settle for Jason Sanders’ 23-yard field goal.
Familiarity breeds ... familiarity
Tom Brady’s AFC East reunion tour continues this afternoon when the Bucs (3-1) play the Dolphins (1-3) at Raymond James Stadium. And for the second consecutive week, he’ll be competing against a team and a coaching staff that knows him well.
While he may not have the same familiarity with Brady as Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who shared a sideline with the quarterback for 20 seasons, the Dolphins’ Brian Flores spent more than a decade with Brady in New England, the last eight as a defensive coach. Miami’s defensive coordinator, Josh Boyer, spent 13 seasons on Belichick’s staff, most as a secondary coach.
There’s no chance of confusing Brady, Flores said earlier this week, but that doesn’t mean Miami’s defense can’t present problems for the 44-year-old quarterback. “They have really good pressures, a variety of fronts. They do a good job disguising coverages and they try to throw the quarterback off a bit,” Brady said.
Brady had a mediocre performance in New England last week, completing just 52 percent of his passes and struggling in the red zone while the Bucs managed only a single touchdown. But he didn’t throw an interception and stepped up in the biggest moments, leading Tampa Bay on a game-winning field goal drive.
The Dolphins secondary, fortified by free-agent signings Jason McCourty and Justin Coleman and second-round draft pick Jevon Holland in the offseason, is even better than the Patriots’, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay continues to take hits to its own secondary. Cornerback Carlton Davis was placed on injured reserve with a quad injury, meaning he will be out at least three weeks. Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (dislocated elbow) also is on injured reserve, and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. remains in concussion protocol.
Richard Sherman, signed only last week, will make his second straight start at cornerback opposite veteran Pierre Desir, who joined Tampa Bay’s practice squad only last month. Cornerback Jamel Dean, who suffered a knee injury a couple of weeks ago against the Rams, is expected to return today, along with outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (hand, shoulder).
Tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs) and special-teams standout Pat O’Connor (right calf) are out.
The Bucs activated inside linebacker Cam Gill from the reserve/injured list and elevated tight end Codey McElroy and cornerback Rashard Robinson from the practice squad.
Game day scene
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