Comeback, Part II: Brady Breaks Falcons’ Hearts Again, 31-27
Tom Brady staged another big comeback against the Atlanta Falcons and didn't even need overtime this team. Rallying Tampa Bay from a pair of 17-point deficits, Brady recreated his Super Bowl miracle by leading the Buccaneers on five straight scoring drives in the second half for a 31-27 victory over the Falcons.
The stakes weren't nearly as high and the deficit wasn't quite as daunting. But Brady's latest blow to Atlanta takes the 9-5 Bucs to the brink of their first playoff berth since 2007.
The Falcons fell to 4-10 with another demoralizing loss in a season filled with them.
Elsewhere around the NFL:
- Russell Wilson and the Seahawks built a big lead and Seattle's suddenly opportunistic defense held on to beat Washington 20-15 and clinch a playoff spot. Wilson threw for a touchdown, Carlos Hyde ran 50 yards for a score and the Seahawks picked off Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins twice. Shaquill Griffin and D.J. Reed each had an interception as the league's worst pass defense played strong until the fourth quarter. After a Haskins-led comeback from a 20-3 deficit fell short, Washington had its winning streak snapped at four with Alex Smith out because of a calf injury.
- The Baltimore Ravens built a 26-point halftime lead against helpless Jacksonville and rolled to a 40-14 victory Sunday that boosted their playoff chances and extended the Jaguars' losing streak to 13 games. Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score to carry the Ravens to their third straight win following a three-game skid. Hopeful of reaching the postseason for the third year in a row Baltimore is among several AFC teams vying for three wild-card spots. Ravens rookie J.K. Dobbins ran for 64 yards and a score, and 32-year-old receiver Dez Bryant celebrated his first touchdown since 2017 late in the first half.
- David Montgomery rushed for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns as the Chicago Bears trampled Minnesota's depleted defense and hung on for a 33-27 victory. The Bears stayed in the hunt for the expanded playoffs at 7-7. The Vikings fell to 6-8 and saw their postseason chances all but vanish. Chicago punted only once, on the opening possession, and did just about whatever it wanted to with the ball. The defense delivered fourth-and-1 stops in Minnesota territory to set up two of four field goals by Cairo Santos.
- Philip Rivers found Zach Pascal for a tiebreaking TD pass with 1:47 left and the Colts defense recovered a fumble in the end zone with 19 seconds remaining to seal a 27-20 victory over Houston. It was almost the exact same scenario that played out when these teams met two weeks ago. Indy jumped on a bad snap to Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to win that one. Indy has now won three straight overall and remains atop the AFC South. Houston has lost three in a row.
- Ryan Tannehill ran for two touchdowns and threw three more with Derrick Henry running for 147 yards and a score as the Tennessee Titans moved closer to clinching their third playoff berth in four seasons by routing the Detroit Lions 46-25. The Titans did their part with their second straight victory and fourth in five games to stay atop the AFC South. With Indianapolis beating Houston 27-20, the Titans still hold the divisional tiebreaker with two to play. The Lions lost their second straight with interim coach Darrell Bevell even as quarterback Matthew Stafford played despite a rib injury.
- Tony Pollard ran for two touchdowns with Ezekiel Elliott sidelined by an injury for the first time in the two-time rushing champion's career, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers 41-33. Four of the seven Dallas scores were set up by turnovers from the 49ers. San Francisco is guaranteed to be the second Super Bowl runner-up in the past 13 seasons to finish with a losing record the next year. The Cowboys kept faint playoff hopes alive in a game moved out of prime time with both teams starting the day in last place in their divisions.