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Tom Brady Remains the Comeback King

Data Crunch: The Buccaneers' improbable late-game comeback in Monday night's 17-16 win over the Saints marked the 40th time Tom Brady has led his team back from a 10+-point deficit to get the victory


Pro Football Reference, the invaluable research site, has a page for every player in the NFL and each one includes a header full of biographical data. One of the listings in each header, when applicable, is a player's nickname(s). For former Falcons running back Craig Heyward, for instance, the site identifies him as "Iron Head." Billy Johnson is listed as "White Shoes." Et cetera.

Tom Brady is gifted by PFR with a long list of nicknames, some of which you would expect – "TB12," "GOAT" – and some of which are headscratchers – "The Pharaoh?" "Sir?"

And then there's "Comeback Kid." The "kid" part seems a little out of place for the 45-year-old phenom, but there's nothing anachronistic about the "comeback" part. At an age at which every other quarterback in NFL history combined has thrown two touchdown passes, Brady did that in the span of three minutes on Monday night to gift the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a season-saving 17-16 victory over the New Orleans Saints. It was a comeback for the ages, and the ageless.

In fact, Sunday's game marked the 40th time in Brady's career that he has led his team to a victory after it was down by 10 or more points. That is by far the most in NFL history.

Most Comeback Wins from a 10+-Point Deficit, Quarterbacks, NFL History

Table inside Article
Quarterback Team(s) Wins
Tom Brady Patriots/Buccaneers 40
Drew Brees Chargers/Saints 27
Peyton Manning Colts/Broncos 26
Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 22
Eli Manning Giants 20

Brady didn't lead the Buccaneers back from, say, a 10-0 deficit in the first quarter. The score on Monday night was 16-3 when the Bucs got the ball back at their own nine-yard line with 5:21 to play. That made this one another fourth-quarter comeback, and Brady now has the league's all-time record in that category, too.

Table inside Article
Quarterback Team(s) 4QC
Tom Brady Patriots/Buccaneers 44
Peyton Manning Colts/Broncos 43
Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 41
Matt Ryan Falcons/Colts 38
Drew Brees Chargers/Saints 36

Earlier this season, Brady used the last 40 seconds of a Week Nine game against the Los Angeles Rams to generate a game-winning touchdown drive in a 16-13 victory. That gave him the 55th "game-winning drive" of his career, which at the time broke a tie with Peyton Manning for the most ever. On Monday night, he added to that record total

Most Game-Winning Drives, NFL History

Table inside Article
Quarterback Team(s) GWDs
Tom Brady Patriots/Buccaneers 56
Peyton Manning Colts/Broncos 54
Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 53
Matt Ryan Falcons/Colts 53
Dan Marino Dolphins 47

Brady completed the stunning comeback with a five-yard touchdown pass to rookie running back Rachaad White with three seconds left in regulation. That marked the first touchdown reception of White's young career and made him the 97th different player (postseason included) to catch a scoring pass from Brady. White, Julio JonesCade Otton and Russell Gage have all joined that list this year.

White caught six passes in the game for 41 yards. He is the leading pass-catcher among rookie running backs this season in terms of both receptions and yards.

Most Receptions, Rookie Running Backs, 2022

Table inside Article
Running Back Team Recs.
Rachaad White Buccaneers 35
Breece Hall Jets 30
Dameon Pierce Texans 19
James Cook Bills 19
Jaylen Warren Steelers 18

Most Receiving Yards, Rookie Running Backs, 2022

Table inside Article
Running Back Team Recs.
Rachaad White Buccaneers 221
Breece Hall Jets 218
Dameon Pierce Texans 165
James Cook Bills 151
Jaylen Warren Steelers 151

Similarly, Otton, who finished the game with six catches for 28 yards, is the NFL's receptions leader among rookie tight ends.

Most Receptions, Rookie Tight Ends, 2022

Table inside Article
Running Back Team Recs.
Cade Otton Buccaneers 32
Greg Dulcich Broncos 25
Isaiah Likely Ravens 22
Daniel Bellinger Giants 21
Jelani Woods Colts 17

Three plays before White's game-winning score, Brady threw an apparent touchdown pass to WR Chris Godwin that was called back by a holding penalty. Even without that catch, Godwin finished the night with a team-high eight receptions for 63 yards. He has now caught at least six passes in each of the Buccaneers' last nine games, the longest such streak in franchise history.

Most Consecutive Games with 6+ Receptions, Buccaneers History

1. Chris Godwin, 9: 10/2-12/5/2022

2. Keyshawn Johnson, 7: 12/18/2000-10/21/2001

3. James Wilder, 5: 12/12/1982-0/4/1983

Godwin also has the longest such streak in the NFL this season. Chiefs' tight end Travis Kelce is next on the list with a seven-game run of six or more catches in October and November. The second-longest active streak in the league is a five-game run that Raiders' receiver Davante Adams extended on Sunday against the Chargers.

On defense, linebacker Lavonte David ended the Saints' first drive of the night with an eight-yard sack of Andy Dalton. David is now tied for the 10th-most sacks in franchise history and has the most among off-ball linebackers.

Most Career Sacks, Buccaneers

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Seasons Sacks
Lee Roy Selmon DE 1976-84 78.5
Warren Sapp DT 1995-2003 77.0
Simeon Rice DE 2001-06 69.5
Gerald McCoy DT 2010-18 54.5
Shaquil Barrett OLB 2019-22 40.5
David Logan DT 1979-86 39.0
Chidi Ahanotu DE 1993-2000; 04 34.5
Brad Culpepper DT 1994-99 33.0
Jason Pierre-Paul OLB 2019-21 33.0
Ronde Barber CB 1997-2012 28.0
Lavonte David LB 2012-22 28.0

DL Will Gholston contributed six tackles to the Bucs' defensive efforts Monday night. He did so in his 148th game as a Buccaneer, which is tied for the ninth most in franchise history with current Director of Football Operations Shelton Quarles. On the same night, David passed Tony Mayberry for sixth place on that list.

Most Games Played, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Season Games
Ronde Barber CB/S 1997-2012 241
Derrick Brooks LB 1995-2008 224
Dave Moore TE 1992-2001; 04-06 190
Paul Gruber T 1988-99 183
John Lynch S 1993-2003 164
Lavonte David LB 2012-22 161
Tony Mayberry C 1990-99 160
Mike Alstott FB 1996-2006 158
Shelton Quarles LB 1997-2006 148
William Gholston DT 2013-22 148


Additional Notes:

- Rachaad White crossed the goal line with his go-ahead touchdown catch with three seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter. That marks the latest in a game that Brady has ever thrown a game-winning touchdown pass.

- Straight from the postgame notes distributed by the Buccaneers' Communications Department: Tampa Bay overcame a 13-point fourth quarter deficit, which matched the largest fourth-quarter comeback win in regulation in franchise history, joining 10/6/91 vs. Philadelphia (trailed 13-0, won 14-13). The Buccaneers trailed 16-3 with 5:34 remaining in the game, good for a 0.7% chance of winning according to Amazon's Next Gen Stats. The come-from-behind victory is the fourth-most-improbable win by a team in the Next Gen Stats era (2016).

- The Buccaneers finished off a season sweep of the division-rival Saints. It marks the first time since 2007 and only the third time since the NFC South was formed that the Buccaneers swept New Orleans in a season.

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