Brady, Buccaneers rebound with win over Vikings
Taking advantage of a late bye week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers emerged refreshed Sunday and improved their playoff prospects with a 26-14 victory over the visiting Minnesota Vikings.
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was 15 of 23 in the air for 196 yards and two touchdowns, including a momentum-changing 48-yard touchdown pass in the first half to Scotty Miller. Antonio Brown had five catches for 49 yards for Tampa Bay, while Ronald Jones II had 18 carries for 80 yards and a TD.
The Buccaneers (8-5) had lost three of four games before their bye but entered holding the No. 6 spot in the NFC’s playoff pecking order. The top seven teams in each conference advance to the playoffs.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who entered as the second leading rusher in the NFL had 102 yards on 22 carries, including his NFL-leading 14th touchdown. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was 24 of 37 for 225 yards and a touchdown as Minnesota lost for the second time in seven games.
The Vikings (6-7) dropped out of playoff eligibility with the loss and the Arizona Cardinals’ victory over the New York Giants.
The Buccaneers took control by reeling off 23 consecutive points from the middle of the second quarter through the first drive of the second half. The scoring outburst was capped by a 2-yard TD pass from Brady to Rob Grownkowski just under five minutes into the second half.
The Vikings pulled to within 23-14 on a 14-yard TD pass from Cousins to Irv Smith Jr. just before the start of the fourth quarter, but they were undone on the day by three missed field goals and a missed extra point by Dan Bailey.
The Vikings had 191 total yards in the first half but scored just once on Cook’s 1-yard run on the second play of the second quarter for a 6-0 lead.
The Buccaneers took over from there as Brady and Miller hooked up on their long TD pass over the middle for a 7-6 lead with 7:41 remaining before the half. After Bailey missed a 54-yard field goal attempt, the Buccaneers drove 56 yards, getting a 1-yard TD run from Jones for a 14-6 lead less than a minute before the half.
The Buccaneers added an 18-yard field goal from Ryan Succop for a 17-6 lead at halftime, with Succop also hitting from 48 yards with 5:20 remaining to cap the scoring.
–Field Level Media