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Live updates: Washington shocks Bucs

After putting a scare into Tampa Bay during last season’s playoffs, Washington finishes the job this time.
Washington running back Antonio Gibson (24) runs the ball during the first half as Bucs safety Mike Edwards closes in.
Washington running back Antonio Gibson (24) runs the ball during the first half as Bucs safety Mike Edwards closes in. [ TERRANCE WILLIAMS | AP ]
Published Nov. 14, 2021
Updated Nov. 14, 2021

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Tom Brady was intercepted twice in the first quarter and the Bucs defense couldn’t get a stop when it needed one most as Washington shocked Tampa Bay 29-19 Sunday at FedExField in Landover, Md.

Clinging to a four-point lead, Washington used up more than 10 minutes of the fourth-quarter clock on a 19-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Antonio Gibson’s game-sealing touchdown run with 29 seconds remaining.

The loss was the second straight for the Bucs, who slipped to 6-3. Washington improved to 3-6.

Joey Slye kicked field goals of 46, 28 and 29 yards and Taylor Heinicke threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Carter as Washington scored on its first four possessions of the game to move out to a 16-3 lead.

After a facemask penalty against Washington’s William Jackson III gifted Tampa Bay a field goal on the final play of the first half, the Bucs cut their deficit to 16-13 on Brady’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Brate in the third quarter.

But Washington responded with a scoring drive of its own, capped by Gibson’s 1-yard run.

The Bucs got within 23-19 on Brady’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans early in the fourth quarter. Lavonte David helped set up the score by forcing a Dax Milne fumble that Antonio Winfield Jr. recovered near midfield.

But Ryan Succop missed the extra-point kick, leaving Tampa Bay behind by 4, and Washington responded with a 19-play drive (tying for most in the NFL this season) culminating with Gibson’s touchdown run on fourth-and-goal from the 1. The drive took 10:26 to complete, making it the longest in the league this season.

Even worse, Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea had to be carted off the field after being injured on the play.

Brady finished 23 of 34 for 220 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. One should have been a completion to Jaelon Darden, but Darden lost control of the ball before he could secure it, causing it to pop up into the air.

Chris Godwin, a game-time decision with a foot injury, caught seven passes for 57 yards. Leonard Fournette rushed for 47 yards on 11 carries and caught eight passes for another 45.

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Inside linebacker Devin White had a monster game, with 18 tackles, including 13 solo stops, three for loss, and two of the Bucs’ five sacks.

Here’s how it happened:

Won’t stay down

Bucs tight end Cameron Brate (84) and quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrate after connecting for a touchdown during the second half.
Bucs tight end Cameron Brate (84) and quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrate after connecting for a touchdown during the second half. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]

Down 10 in the fourth quarter, the Bucs needed a splash play, and Lavonte David gave it to them.

The inside linebacker forced a Dax Milne fumble after what looked like it might be a drive-extending completion on third-and-9, and Antoine Winfield Jr. recovered at the Washington 47.

Three plays later, Tom Brady hit a wide-open Mike Evans in stride down the left sideline for a 40-yard touchdown pass.

Ryan Succop missed the extra-point kick, leaving the Bucs down 23-19 with just under 11 minutes to play.

Getting it back

Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) throws a pass during the second half.
Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) throws a pass during the second half. [ MARK TENALLY | AP ]

Shortly after allowing the Bucs back within three points, Washington put together a long scoring drive to restore its 10-point lead.

Antonio Gibson’s 1-yard run with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter capped a 71-yard touchdown drive that extended Washington’s lead to 23-13.

Taylor Heinicke completed passes of 18 to John Bates and 15 to Dax Milne on the drive. Gibson had a 12-yard run, and a pass interference penalty against Dee Delaney gave Washington 13 yards to the Tampa Bay 1, setting up Gibson’s touchdown run.

Back in the game

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball during the first half.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball during the first half. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]

Given their best field position of the game, it didn’t take the Bucs long to take advantage early in the third quarter.

Taking over at the Washington 43 after Tampa Bay’s defense forced a punt, Tom Brady went 4-for-4 to cover the distance in four plays.

Brady completed two passes to Chris Godwin for 22 yards and one to Leonard Fournette for 15 to quickly move the ball to the 6.

Brady’s 6-yard pass to Cameron Brate on a play-action pass over the middle gave the Bucs their first touchdown of the game and trimmed their deficit to 16-13.

Just a tease

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians watches his team during the first half.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians watches his team during the first half. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]

Down 10 early in the third quarter, the Bucs briefly thought they had forced a turnover deep in Washington territory. But a replay review overturned what first appeared to be a Pierre Desir fumble recovery at the 14.

Washington tight end John Bates’ elbow hit the ground as he was tackled by Jordan Whitehead before Bates regained his footing and tried to advance the ball.

Ndamukong Suh sacked Taylor Heinicke at the 1 on the next play, and Washington was forced to punt.

The Bucs got the ball at the Washington 43, easily their best field position of the day.

Stopped in its tracks

Washington tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (83) runs the ball against Bucs linebacker Devin White (45) during the first half.
Washington tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (83) runs the ball against Bucs linebacker Devin White (45) during the first half. [ TERRANCE WILLIAMS | AP ]

The Bucs held Washington without a point for the first time in the game on its opening possession of the second half.

Linebacker Devin White was a one-man wrecking crew, dropping Antonio Gibson for a 1-yard loss, then tackling Taylor Heineke 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage for his second sack of the game.

J.D. McKissic took a Heinicke screen pass 14 yards on third-and-21, but he was tackled well short of the first-down marker.

Costly mistake

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady throws the ball during the first half.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady throws the ball during the first half. [ TERRANCE WILLIAMS | AP ]

The Bucs picked up three points on an untimed down at the end of the first half after cornerback William Jackson III was penalized for facemasking at the end of a Tom Brady completion to Mike Evans, resulting in a 35-yard gain to the Washington 12.

Ryan Succop converted rom 31 yards, trimming Tampa Bay’s deficit to 16-6 at halftime.

Advantage: Washington

Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) warms up before the game.
Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) warms up before the game. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]

Washington got a break midway though the second quarter, when Taylor Heinicke’s pass deep over the middle deflected off the hands of Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead to DeAndre Carter, resulting in a 22-yard gain to the Washington 47.

Washington was at the Tampa Bay 38 one play later, after Antonio Gibson burst up the middle for 15 yards.

A false start penalty and Devin White sack, the first of the season for the Bucs linebacker, pushed Washington back 10 yards to the 48.

But a 9-yard pass form Heinicke to tight end Ricky Seals-Jones on third-and-8 gave Washington a first down at the Tampa Bay 27.

Washington later faced third-and-2 from the 19, but the Bucs gave it a fresh set of downs when defensive lineman William Gholston was flagged for a neutral zone infraction, moving the ball to the 15.

Ultimately, the Tampa Bay defense held, as Ricky Seals-Jones was stopped after an eight-yard reception on third-and-14, forcing Washington to settle for a 29-yard Joey Slye field goal, his third of the half.

It marked the first time in five years Washington has scored on its first four possessions to start a game.

Gathering steam

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands the ball off to running back Leonard Fournette (7) during the first half.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands the ball off to running back Leonard Fournette (7) during the first half. [ MARK TENALLY | AP ]

Trailing by 13, the Bucs seemed to find their footing on their fourth drive, early in the second quarter.

A 29-yard pass from Tom Brady to Jaelon Darden quickly moved the ball to the Washington 43.

Running back Leonard Fournette took over from there, rushing three times for 15 yards and catching a 9-yard pass from Brady to move the ball to the 19.

The Bucs got a brief scare when Brady threw incomplete for Chris Godwin over the middle and Washington challenged the call, believing Kendall Fuller had intercepted the pass, which had deflected off Godwin’s foot.

But the call on the field was upheld, as it was determined that Fuller trapped the ball.

Washington suffered a big blow when defensive end Chase Young was injured while engaged with Bucs tackle Donovan Smith during a 3-yard completion to Fournette.

Giovani Bernard dropped Brady’s pass over the middle on third-and-goal from the 7, forcing Tampa Bay to settle for Ryan Succop’s 25-yard field goal and a 13-3 deficit with just under seven minutes remaining in the half.

This one’s on Brady

Washington wide receiver DeAndre Carter (1) catches the ball for a touchdown against Bucs cornerback Dee Delaney (30) during the first half.
Washington wide receiver DeAndre Carter (1) catches the ball for a touchdown against Bucs cornerback Dee Delaney (30) during the first half. [ TERRANCE WILLIAMS | AP ]

Tom Brady was intercepted for the second time in the quarter when his pass for Mike Evans near midfield went over the receiver’s head and into the hands of cornerback Bobby McCain.

McCain returned the ball 19 yards to the Bucs 31, but a taunting penalty against Washington defensive tackle Daron Payne moved the ball back 15 yards to the 46.

Brady had extended the drive just one play earlier, picking up two yards on fourth-and-1 from the 33. Leonard Fournette was dropped for no gain on third-and-1.

It looked like the Bucs might hold Washington to another field goal, but Taylor Heinicke found running back J.D. McKissic for 4 yards on fourth-and-3 from the 28.

Three plays later, Heinicke hit DeAndre Carter in stride in the left side of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown. Washington’s 13-0 lead less than three minutes into the second quarter is its largest of the season.

Butterfingers

Washington cornerback William Jackson (23) celebrates his interception of a Tom Brady pass in the first quarter.
Washington cornerback William Jackson (23) celebrates his interception of a Tom Brady pass in the first quarter. [ NICK WASS | AP ]

Trailing by a field goal, the Bucs gave the ball right back, as Tom Brady was intercepted on the second play of Tampa Bay’s second possession.

Brady’s pass to Jaelon Darden on an arrow route was on the mark, but Darden lost control of the ball as he started to turn upfield. The ball popped high into the air and was caught by cornerback William Jackson III, who returned it to the Tampa Bay 28.

The interception was the first in the first quarter for Brady in 25 games.

Slye’s second field goal of the game, from 28 yards, gave Washington a 6-0 lead, tying its largest lead of the season.

A leg up

Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) looks to pass during the first half.
Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) looks to pass during the first half. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]

After the Bucs went three-and-out on their opening possession, Washington put together a field-goal drive, marking only the second time this season the team has taken the first lead in a game.

Joey Slye’s 46-yard field goal just under five minutes into the game gave Washington an early 3-0 lead.

Taylor Heinicke completed passes of 8 yards to Terry McLaurin and 14 to DeAndre Carter to help Washington down the field.

Washington might have driven deeper into Tampa Bay territory, but tight end Ricky Seals-Jones dropped Heinicke’s pass on third-and-4 from the 28.

False start

Tom Brady warms up before the game.
Tom Brady warms up before the game. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]

The Bucs’ went three-and-out on their opening possession against a Washington defense that has given up more opening-drive points this season than any other team.

Tampa Bay started in the wrong direction, as tight end O.J. Howard was called for a false start on the first play from scrimmage.

After a Leonard Fournette 5-yard run and a 2-yard pass to Tyler Johnson, the Bucs faced third and 8. But Tom Brady’s pass for Tyler Johnson was incomplete, forcing a Bradley Pinion punt.

Lesson learned?

Linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) and the Bucs saw firsthand last season how slippery Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke can be.
Linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) and the Bucs saw firsthand last season how slippery Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke can be. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

The last time the Bucs played at Washington, they had a lot more at stake.

And nearly lost it all.

In a wild-card game in January at FedExField, Tampa Bay met a 7-9 Washington squad that was helped into the playoffs by the Eagles, who didn’t seem to want to win the final regular-season game between the teams.

Trailing by just three points at the start of the fourth quarter, Philadelphia inexplicably pulled starting quarterback Jalen Hurts and replaced him with Nate Sudfeld in an eventual 20-14 loss. Had the Eagles won, the Giants would have been NFC East champions.

Instead, Washington entered the postseason as one of the few non-winning playoff teams in NFL history, and the wild-card game was viewed by many as a mere formality before the Bucs got to the real order of business (New Orleans, Green Bay) in their quest to return to Raymond James Stadium for Super Bowl 55.

The odds seemed to turn even more in Tampa Bay’s favor when Washington quarterback Alex Smith was unable to play due to a lingering calf injury, and Taylor Heinicke, who had made only one previous NFL start, was announced as the starter in the hours before the game.

Or did they?

Heinicke gave the Bucs’ defense fits, escaping the pocket time and time again to make throws on the run or pick up big gains with his feet. He passed for 306 yards and a touchdown and ran for 46 yards and another score. It wasn’t until Heinicke was sacked by Lavonte David with Washington at midfield and trailing by a single score in the final minutes that the Bucs’ 31-23 victory was safe.

Unlike that game, today’s matchup at Washington (2-6) won’t make or break the Bucs’ season. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have significance.

At 6-2, Tampa Bay leads the Saints (5-3) by just a game and the Falcons (4-4) by two in the NFC South. If they fail to win the division, the Bucs will have to compete with the Cardinals (8-1) or Rams (7-2) for wild-card seeding.

Though cornerback Richard Sherman appears ready to return from a strained hamstring, Tampa Bay won’t be at full strength.

It again will be without injured tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs, back) and wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle). Receiver Chris Godwin (foot) will be a game-time decision but is expected to play.

Receiver Scotty Miller could return after missing five games to a turf toe injury. The Bucs activated recently signed receiver Breshad Perriman and tight end Darren Fells from the practice squad to provide further depth.

This is the point where the Bucs turned on the jets last season, winning their final eight games following the bye week, culminating with the victory over the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Can they start a similar run this afternoon?

It will have to start by not underestimating Washington. Or Heinicke.

Who’s out

Pregame scene

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A read on the game

Here’s some of our content leading up to today’s game:

Bucs elevate Breshad Perriman, Darren Fells for Sunday’s game

No quarterback gave Bucs more problems in the playoffs than Taylor Heinicke

Can Breshad Perriman re-seize success in his Tampa Bay reboot?

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin will be game-time decision Sunday

For now, Bucs’ cornerback rotation remains a revolving door

Tom Brady’s ‘Man in the Arena’ docuseries could be one for the ageless

Antoine Winfield says he meant no ‘malicious intent’ toward Jameis Winston

As the mounting injuries attest, these Bucs aren’t getting any younger

Receiver Breshad Perriman re-joining Bucs

Lavonte David to Devin White: Play with passion but without penalties

Brady on Rodgers: ‘Far be it from me to tell anyone what to put in their body’

Can rested, re-focused Bucs pull off another post-bye surge?

Bucs’ midseason report: Brady’s record pace, too many penalties, poor pass rush

At season’s midpoint, do you see another Super Bowl in Tampa Bay’s future?

Pinion’s punts save the Bucs while changing vets’ lives, one shelter dog at a time

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