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Bucs Launch Latest, Greatest Comeback in Team History

Data Crunch: The Bucs have never trailed by 17 or more points as late in the game as they did Sunday and still won…Prolific second halves by Tom Brady and Devin White helped the Bucs stage that comeback


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trailed the Atlanta Falcons 17-0 at halftime on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, and then 24-7 after each team scored on its first possession of the second half. From that point on, Tampa Bay outscored its opponent by a 24-3 margin, earning a 31-27 victory that put the Buccaneers on the brink of qualifying for the playoffs.

The rally tied for the second largest comeback in a victory in Buccaneers franchise history. Tampa Bay came back from a 21-point deficit to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City on Nov. 2, 2008 for the team's largest comeback ever; Sunday's game was the eighth time the team has dug out of a 17-point hole to win. But by at least measure, Tampa Bay's latest comeback is its most impressive one ever.

As noted, the Falcons took a 24-7 lead in the third quarter when they answered Tampa Bay's touchdown drive with one of their own. The Falcons scored with 7:34 left in the third quarter and the Buccaneers took their next possession 75 yards for another touchdown to close the gap back to 10 points with 3:34 left in the period. That is the latest the Buccaneers have ever trailed by 17 or more points and still won a game.

Here are all nine times Tampa Bay has won a game after trailing by 17 or more points, listed chronologically, and the point in the game in which they finally cut into that lead:

· Sept. 9, 1979, at Baltimore: 10:39 left in the second quarter

· Jan. 2, 1983, vs. Chicago: 5:05 left in the third quarter

· Oct. 4, 1987, at Detroit: 14:49 left in the second quarter

· Nov. 2, 2008, at Kansas City: 2:13 left in second quarter

· Nov. 23, 2008, at Detroit: 11:19 left in the second quarter

· Dec. 27, 2009, at New Orleans: 0:00 left in second quarter

· Sept. 18, 2011, at Minnesota: 10:59 left in third quarter

· Oct. 4, 2020, vs. L.A. Chargers: 0:22 left in second quarter

· Dec. 20, 2020, at Atlanta: 3:34 left in the third quarter

The Buccaneers have now won three games this season in which they were trailing as they entered the fourth quarter. That is tied with Chicago and Minnesota for the most victories this year in that situation. The Bucs, who also beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Four after first falling behind 17-0, are responsible for two of the eight biggest comebacks in the league this year. They are the only team to have erased two deficits of 17 or more points to win this year.

Tom Brady led the thrilling comeback by throwing for 320 of his 390 yards and two touchdowns in the second half on Sunday. That is the most yards that any quarterback in the NFL has thrown in a second half this season.

Most Second-Half Passing Yards, Single Game, NFL, 2020

Table inside Article
QB Team Opponent Date Yards
Tom Brady Buccaneers Falcons 12/20 320
Cam Newton Patriots Seahawks 9/20 312
Dak Prescott Cowboys Falcons 9/20 312
Dak Prescott Cowboys Browns 10/4 305
Dak Prescott Cowboys Seahawks 9/27 291

Brady threw touchdown passes to Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, the latter a 46-yarder in the fourth quarter that provided the game-winning points. That increased Brady's 2020 touchdown pass total to 32, which currently ranks fourth in the NFL.

Most Touchdown Passes, NFL, 2020

Table inside Article
QB Team TDs
Aaron Rodgers Packers 40
Russell Wilson Seahawks 37
Patrick Mahomes Chiefs 36
Tom Brady Buccaneers 32
Ryan Tannehill Titans 31

Those two touchdowns also put Brady on the verge of breaking the Buccaneers' single-season record in that category, which was set just last season by Jameis Winston.

Most Touchdown Passes, Single Season, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
QB Season TDs
Jameis Winston 2019 33
Tom Brady 2020 32
Jameis Winston 2016 28
Josh Freeman 2012 27
Brad Johnson 2003 26

Brady's 3,886 passing yards this season are also the fifth most in a single season in franchise history and, with two games still to play, he seems very likely to move into second place on that list by season's end.

Most Passing Yards, Single Season, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
QB Season Yards
Jameis Winston 2019 5,109
Jameis Winston 2016 4,090
Josh Freeman 2012 4,065
Jameis Winston 2015 4,042
Tom Brady 2020 3,886

Brown's touchdown catch was his first as a Buccaneer but hardly the first of his career. He has caught 76 scoring passes since entering the league with Pittsburgh in 2010, the third most by any player in that span and the most by a wide receiver.

Most Touchdown Receptions Since 2010, NFL

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Team(s) Rec. TDs
Rob Gronkowski TE Patriots/Bucs 84
Jimmy Graham TE 4 teams* 80
Antonio Brown WR Steelers/Patriots/Bucs 76
Dez Bryant WR Cowboys/Ravens 74
Jordy Nelson WR Packers/Raiders 68

(* Graham has played for the Saints, Seahawks, Packers and Bears.)

Godwin's touchdown was the 21st of his career, which allows him to join Mike Evans and Cameron Brate on the Buccaneers' top 10 list for touchdown receptions.

Most Touchdown Receptions, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Seasons Rec. TDs
Mike Evans WR 2014-20 59
Jimmie Giles TE 1978-86 34
Kevin House WR 1980-86 31
Cameron Brate TE 2014-20 29
Joey Galloway WR 2004-08 28
Mark Carrier WR 1987-92 27
Mike Williams WR 2010-13 25
Dave Moore TE 1992-2001; 05-06 24
Bruce Hill WR 1987-91 23
Chris Godwin WR 2017-20 21

Evans did not find the end zone against the Falcons, which means he remains at 11 touchdown catches on the season, just one off his own team record set in 2014 and 2016. However, he did lead the team with six catches for 110 yards, giving him the 27th 100-yard game of his incredible career. Evans has owned that team record for a long time; the next closest player on the Bucs' list is Mark Carrier, who had 15 career 100-yard games as a Buccaneer. Since he entered the league in 2014, Evans has more 100-yard receiving games than all but three other NFL players.

Most 100-Yard Receiving Games, NFL, 2014-20

Table inside Article
Player Team(s) 100-Yd. Games
Julio Jones Falcons 46
DeAndre Hopkins Texans/Cardinals 35
Antonio Brown Steelers/Patriots/Bucs 34
Mike Evans Buccaneers 27
Odell Beckham Giants/Browns 26

Evans' 110 yards in Atlanta pushed him over the 8,000-yard mark in his career, as he now stands at 8,039 with two games to go in 2020. That is more than 3,000 more than the next player on the Buccaneers' career list, Carrier, who finished with 5,018 receiving yards. Evans' total is the third-most in the NFL since 2014, with Brown just behind him.

Most Receiving Yards, NFL, 2014-20

Table inside Article
Player Team(s) Yards
Julio Jones Falcons 10,159
DeAndre Hopkins Texans/Cardinals 8,955
Mike Evans Buccaneers 8,039
Antonio Brown Steelers/Patriots/Bucs 8,012
Travis Kelce Chiefs 7,715

Brate didn't score against the Falcons either but he did move up a spot on the Buccaneers' all-time receptions lists for tight ends. The only tight end in franchise history who has more catches than Brate is Ring of Honor member Jimmie Giles.

Most Receptions by a Tight End, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Tight End Seasons Recs.
Jimmie Giles 1978-86 279
Cameron Brate 2014-20 220
Kellen Winslow 2009-11 218
Ron Hall 1987-93 209
Dave Moore 1992-2001; 05-06 184

All of those offensive players contributed to the Buccaneers' thrilling second-half comeback, but it wouldn't have been possible without a strong showing by the defense after the intermission, as well. The Falcons gained just 108 yards in the second half, including just 23 on their last five possessions, and they were held without a first down on four of those six drives.

Leading the charge was inside linebacker Devin White, who led the team with 12 tackles and added 3.0 sacks, four tackles for loss and two passes defensed. White joins Jets safety Marcus Maye (at Buffalo, Sept. 13) as the only players in the NFL this season to have multiple sacks and multiple passes defensed in the same game. White is the only player this season to record at least three sacks and at least two passes defensed in the same game.

In addition, according to Stathead, White is the only player in the NFL since at least 1999 to have multiple games in which he recorded 10+ tackles and at least three sacks.

White's three-sack game was actually his second of the season, as he accomplished the same thing at Las Vegas in Week Seven. He is the only player in the NFL to have more than one three-sack game in 2020. White now has many three-sack games as Hall of Famer Warren Sapp recorded during his nine-season tenure in Tampa.

Most Games with 3+ Sacks, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Seasons 3+-Sack Games
Lee Roy Selmon* 1976-84 4
Simeon Rice 2001-06 4
Shaquil Barrett 2019-20 3
Brad Culpepper 1994-99 2
Warren Sapp* 1995-2003 2
Broderick Thomas 1989-93 2
Devin White 2019-20 2

(* Pro Football Hall of Fame members.)

White is also third in the NFL in total tackles, with 130, just six off the lead.

Most Tackles, NFL, 2020

Table inside Article
Player Team Tackles
Zach Cunningham Texans 136
Jaylon Smith Cowboys 133
Devin White Buccaneers 130
Roquan Smith Buccaneers 128
Blake Martinez Giants 128

White increased his season total 8.0 sacks, which is tied with teammate OLB Shaquil Barrett and five others for 11th in the league. In addition, OLB Jason Pierre-Paul is tied for seventh with 9.5 sacks. The Buccaneers and Steelers are the only teams in the league to boast three different players with at least eight sacks so far this season.

With those three leading the way, the Buccaneers have recorded 43 sacks, which is already tied with the 2002 championship team for the fifth most in franchise history. The Bucs need only five more sacks in the last two games to move as high as second on that list, though the top mark of 55 by the 2000 squad is probably out of reach. The Buccaneers are tied for the fourth most sacks in the league this season.

Most Sacks, NFL Teams, 2020

1. Pittsburgh…45

2t. L.A. Rams…44

2t. Philadelphia…44

4t. Tampa Bay…43

4t. Arizona…43

Kicker Ryan Succop scored seven points in Sunday's win on four extra points and one 27-yard field goal. Succop has now made 21 straight field goal attempts, the second-longest streak in franchise history. Connor Barth set the record across the 2011-12 seasons with 25 in a row. Overall, Succop has made 25 of his 27 field goal tries this season for a success rate of 92.6%. He has a chance to surpass the Buccaneers' all-time single-season record in that category.

Highest Field Goal Percentage, Single Season, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Kicker Season FGM FGA Pct.
Connor Barth 2011 26 28 92.86%
Ryan Succop 2020 25 27 92.59%
Steve Christie 1990 23 27 85.19%
Connor Barth 2012 28 33 84.85%
Matt Bryant 2007 28 33 84.85%

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