Tampa Bay fans were thrilled when the G.O.A.T. put on a Buccaneers helmet for the first time. It got even better on Sunday when he put on his cape.
Tom Brady earned the ultimate "G.O.A.T." nickname during his 20 seasons of nearly uninterrupted winning and six Super Bowl titles in New England. Along the way, he picked up a few other alternate monikers, including "Comeback Kid" or "Captain Comeback." Given that he just became the oldest quarterback ever to throw five touchdown passes in a game, the one without the word "Kid" in it seems more appropriate at the moment.
Brady captained his first big comeback as a Buccaneer in Week Four, leading the Buccaneers back from a 24-7 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers, 38-31. That tied for the second-biggest hole the Bucs have ever climbed out of to win a game. Before Sunday, Tampa Bay had lost the last 27 times it trailed in a game by more than 10 points.
The Buccaneers did come back from a 10-point deficit last season to beat Indianapolis, 38-35, in Week 14. While that was an exciting anomaly, Brady has made comebacks of that sort relatively commonplace in his career. In fact, when one includes the playoffs, he averaged close to two such comebacks per season during his 19 years as the Patriots' starter, and that included one season in which he only played a single game.
Simply put, Tom Brady is the greatest producer of comeback wins in NFL history.
Most Comeback Wins from a Deficit of 10+ Points, NFL History, Regular Season and Postseason
The victory also had significance for Brady in terms of his overall record of winning. He already owned the record for most wins by a starting quarterback, both regular season and postseason, but now he's been involved in more victories than any other player in the NFL's 101-year history. Before Sunday, Brady was tied with his former teammate, kicker Adam Vinatieri for the most appearances in a regular-season win; now he's got the top spot for himself.
Most Games Played in Victories, NFL History
|George Blanda||4 teams*||QB/K/P||209|
|Gary Anderson||5 teams*||K||201|
(* Blanda played for the Colts, Bears, Oilers and Raiders. Anderson played for the Steelers, Eagles, 49ers, Vikings and Titans.)
The Buccaneers' comeback included three second-half touchdown passes, pushing Brady's total for the afternoon to five, which tied a franchise single-game record. Brady is the fifth Buccaneer quarterback to record a five-touchdown game, joining Steve DeBerg (vs. Atlanta, 9/13/87), Brad Johnson (vs. Minnesota, 11/3/02), Josh Freeman (vs. Seattle, 12/26/10) and Jameis Winston (at Philadelphia, 11/22/15). Brady joins Winston as the only Buccaneers ever to throw touchdowns to five different players in a single game, connecting with Cameron Brate, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, Scotty Miller and Ke'Shawn Vaughn.
Brady also recorded his first 300-yard game as a Buccaneer, passing for 369 yards on 30 completions in 46 attempts. He joined DeBerg and Johnson as the only Bucs ever to combine 300-plus yards with five touchdown passes in a single game, and it was the seventh time in his remarkable career he's pulled off that feat. Only one quarterback has done it more often.
Most Games with 300+ Yards Passing and 5+ Touchdown Passes, NFL History
Brady also caught his longtime rival Manning in another category, as Sunday's game was the 93rd time he's topped 300 yards in a game. Again, only Brees has more.
Most 300-Yard Passing Games, NFL History
Brady has 11 touchdown passes through his first four games as a Buccaneer, tying Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018) for the most through the team's first four games of a season. Brady has narrowed the gap on Brees on the all-time leaderboard in that category, with the Saints superstar throwing eight touchdown passes so far this season. Brees has a three-TD lead on Brady all time.
Most Touchdown Passes, Regular Season, NFL History
|Brett Favre||4 teams*||508|
(* Favre played for the Falcons, Packers, Jets and Vikings.)
Brady threw for 263 of his 369 yards after halftime in Sunday's win. Overall, the Buccaneers' offense produced 307 yards of offense after halftime against the Chargers, their seventh-highest second-half total ever.
Two of the players who caught Brady touchdown passes on Sunday are among the best at doing just that in franchise history. Mike Evans padded his all-time lead in that category while Cam Brate broke his way into the top four. Brate ranks second in team history among tight ends in touchdown receptions.
Most Touchdown Receptions, Buccaneers History
Evans' six-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter gave him five scores on the season, which are the most in the NFL through the first quarter of the season (prior to Monday night's games).
Most Touchdown Receptions, NFL, 2020
Evans has at least one score in every game this season and also caught a touchdown pass in his last game of the 2019 season, against Indianapolis. That means he is riding a streak of five consecutive games played with at least one touchdown catch, which is the longest such streak in franchise history.
Evans' early touchdown surge in 2020 has also moved him up the leaderboard in terms of scoring catches since he entered the league in 2014. From 2014-20, only Antonio Brown, who is currently not on an NFL roster, has more touchdown catches than Evans.
Most TD Receptions, NFL, 2014-20
· The Buccaneers' defense held the Chargers to 46 rushing yards, a week after giving up just 42 yards on the ground in Denver. That marks the first time since the 2007 season that the Buccaneers have held two straight opponents to under 50 rushing yards. Tampa Bay gave up 23 rushing yards to Arizona on Nov. 4, 2007, then 49 to Atlanta on Nov. 18, 2007 (with a bye week in between).
· Devin White recovered the fumble that Ndamukong Suh forced just before halftime on Sunday. White, who started his NFL career as a first-round draft pick last year, now has five fumble recoveries, which is tied with Cincinnati's Vonn Bell for the most in the league since the start of 2014.
· OLB Shaq Barrett had one of the Buccaneers' two sacks of Justin Herbert on Sunday. His 22.5 sacks since the start of the 2019 season are the most by any player in the NFL. Arizona's Chandler Jones is second with 20.0.
· S Jordan Whitehead had the Buccaneers' other sack Sunday, the second straight game he has taken donw the quarterback. Both Whitehead and Winfield are tied for the NFL lead among defensive backs with 2.0 sacks this season. Three other NFL DBs have 2.0 sacks so far: Seattle S Jamal Adams, Jets S Marcus Maye and Pittsburgh CB Mike Hilton.
· RB Ronald Jones led the Buccaneers with 111 rushing yards, recording the second 100-yard game of his career. RB Leonard Fournette also had a 100-yard game in the Buccaneers' win over Carolina in Week Two. This is the first time since 2014 that Tampa Bay has had two different running backs record a 100-yard game in the same season. Bobby Rainey and Doug Martin both pulled off the feat that season.