Tom Brady was so dominant in Detroit that he could’ve left Ford Field at halftime to get his favourite chicken wings near the University of Michigan’s campus and still made it back to fly to Florida with his team.
Brady threw four touchdown passes in the only half he needed to play and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on to rout the Lions 47-7 Saturday, sealing a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
“When we do play the way we’re capable of playing, we’re pretty tough to beat,” Brady said.
The Bucs (10-5) set a franchise record with 588 yards and snapped the NFL’s second-longest post-season drought behind Cleveland’s 18-year run that can end Sunday.
“We’ve been scratching and clawing every single year to make the tournament,” said receiver Mike Evans, who was drafted by Tampa Bay six years ago. “It’s been a journey and we’re happy that we finally accomplished it.”
Tampa Bay rested Brady ahead 34-0, its largest halftime lead in franchise history.
Brady was 22 of 27 with a mix of passes deep down the field and darts in traffic. The six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback threw touchdown passes to Rob Gronkowski, Evans, Chris Godwin, who made a one-handed catch, and Antonio Brown from 33, 27, seven and 12 yards. Brady has now thrown a franchise-record 36 touchdowns and set a personal record with the 348 yards passing by halftime.
“When we can keep Tom standing, he’s going to deliver for us,” coach Bruce Arians said.
The 43-year-old Brady, who split time with Drew Henson in college, started his 298th game to tie Brett Favre’s record for an NFL quarterback and played in his 300th game.
Lions quarterback Stafford exits early with injury
The Lions (5-10) started the game without interim coach Darrell Bevell along with assistants on the defensive staff because of COVID-19 contact tracing. And they played much of the game without quarterback Matthew Stafford. He was questionable to play with hip and thumb injuries and then hurt his right ankle on the opening drive and did not return.
Chase Daniel struggled to move the ball much for the Lions, who avoided getting shut out for the second time this season when Jamal Agnew returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Daniel was replaced in the fourth by David Blough, an undrafted rookie last year.
“It’s obviously tough when you’ve got a lot of coaches shifting around, but those guys did a great job of getting us ready,” Blough said. “No one feels sorry for us.”