Antonio Brown was ejected from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following an unusual, shirtless exit from the field, but Tom Brady calmly led the Bucs on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to defeat the New York Jets 28-24 on Sunday.
Brown was removed from the team following the game, according to coach Bruce Arians.
“He is not a Buccaneer anymore,” Arians stated.
Brown’s third-quarter meltdown occurred with Tampa Bay trailing 24-10. He appeared animated as he stripped off his pads, jersey, gloves, and T-shirt — tossing the gloves and T-shirt into the stands — and then walked down the sideline and into the end zone bare-chested. He then waved to fans as he jogged through the MetLife Stadium end zone and into the tunnel.
Brown appeared to be frustrated, as he had three catches for 26 yards.
Brown received a three-game suspension last month for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, he has a history of poor personal conduct and bizarre behavior.
Brady connected with Cameron Brate for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the Buccaneers’ 4, and Brady capped the Buccaneers’ comeback with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Cyril Grayson with 15 seconds remaining.
The Bucs stuffed the Jets’ quarterback on fourth-and-2 at the 7, forcing New York to punt, handing Brady and the Bucs the ball back with 2:12 remaining.
It was more than sufficient time.
Brady marched the Buccaneers (12-4) down the field in nine plays, zipping a pass to Grayson — who had been promoted from the practice squad — for the game-winning touchdown. Brady’s third touchdown pass of the game and 40th of the season tied him with Drew Brees as the only players in NFL history to throw for 40 touchdowns in consecutive seasons.
He completed 34 of 50 passes for 410 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception for Tampa Bay, which welcomed Arians back following a coronavirus test earlier in the week.
Le’Veon Bell ran in the two-point conversion against his former team, requiring New York to score. The Jets (4-12), on the other hand, ran out of time.
The game featured the largest age disparity between starting quarterbacks since at least 1950, with Wilson, 22, facing Brady, 44.
Ty Johnson’s 1-yard run capped the Jets’ opening drive of the second half, giving them a two-touchdown lead.
After Brown’s exit and Brady’s touchdown pass to Brate, Ryan Succop kicked a 27-yard field goal with 7:36 remaining to cut New York’s lead to 24-20.
JETS TAKE OFF EARLY
On a razzle-dazzle play to cap an impressive opening drive, New York took a 7-0 lead. Michael Carter, lined up in the wildcat formation — with Wilson behind the right guard — took the direct snap and flipped it to wide receiver Braxton Berrios, who went in untouched around the right end.
Carter started the drive with a 55-yard run that moved the Jets to the Buccaneers 12.
Brady and the Buccaneers marched down the field on their opening possession, with Evans — who returned after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury and spending this week on the COVID-19 list — catching a 4-yard touchdown pass on a fade to tie the game at 7.
It was Tampa Bay’s seventh opening-drive touchdown this season.
Wilson responded immediately, with Berrios catching a short pass and then diving for the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
The Jets paid a high price for their 13-play, 74-yard drive, as both Carter (concussion) and left tackle George Fant (left knee) were injured and did not return.
Brady quickly moved the Buccaneers to the Jets 23 with 31-yard passes to Evans and 21-yard passes to Brown, but New York’s defense stiffened and forced the game’s first third-down stop. Succop’s 39-yard field goal made it 14-10 for Tampa Bay.
On Tampa Bay’s final possession of the first half, Brandin Echols intercepted Brady and returned it 30 yards to the Jets’ 48. New York converted it into points with 1 second remaining on Eddy Pineiro’s 51-yard field goal.
Brady improved to 31-8 against the Jets and tied Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay for the only player with three seasons of 40 or more touchdown passes.