Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lift Tampa Bay into the NFL playoffs on Sunday while the New York Giants also booked a post-season berth.
Seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady, 45, completed 34 of 45 passes for 432 yards and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:58 remaining as the Buccaneers beat Carolina 30-24.
Mike Evans made 10 catches for 207 yards — including touchdown grabs of 30, 57 and 63 yards from Brady — and the Bucs (8-8) took the NFC South crown for Brady’s 19th career division title.
“It felt great. Happy to win the division,” Brady said. “Really proud of our guys. We battled through a lot of tough things this year.”
Bucs punter Jake Camarda grabbed a bad snap and managed a kick in the dying seconds to avoid giving Carolina the ball with great field position, saving the triumph.
“Wish they wouldn’t be as exciting as we made them but happy we got the win,” Brady said. “Nice to qualify. We’ll try to finish strong.”
The Giants reached the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season thanks to a 38-10 home victory over Indianapolis.
Daniel Jones threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 91 yards and another two scores to seal a wildcard spot for the Giants (9-6-1).
The Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) squandered a chance to capture the NFC top seed — and a first-round bye plus home-field edge — for the second week in a row with a 20-10 home loss to New Orleans.
The Saints (7-9) sacked Gardner Minshew, filling in for injured Jalen Hurts, six times and got a 12-yard interception return touchdown from Marshon Lattimore.
“Our defense did a phenomenal job,” Saints defender Cameron Jordan said.
Buffalo (12-3), which plays at Cincinnati on Monday, was overtaken for the top AFC spot when Kansas city edged visiting Denver 27-24.
Patrick Mahomes threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns for the Chiefs (13-3).
The Miami Dolphins, playing without concussion-sidelined quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, suffered a 23-21 defeat at New England.
Miami’s fifth straight loss came after Tagovailoa’s replacement, Teddy Bridgewater, exited with a finger injury.
Mac Jones threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns to spark the Patriots, who matched Miami at 8-8 and could make the playoffs by winning next week at Buffalo.
– Lions rout Bears –
Washington (7-8-1) dropped a 24-10 home contest against Cleveland as Deshaun Watson threw three touchdown passes for the Browns (7-9).
Detroit (8-8) moved ahead of Washington in the playoff fight by routing Chicago 41-10 as Jared Goff threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns and Jamaal Williams ran 22 times for 144 and a touchdown.
Green Bay reached 8-8 with a 41-17 home rout of Minnesota and the Packers, who started 4-8, will reach the playoffs if they win at home over Detroit next Sunday.
“A lot of things have gone our way,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “I knew we’d figure it out at some point.”
Buffalo, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Baltimore and the Los Angeles Chargers had already clinched AFC playoff berths.
Philadelphia, Minnesota, Dallas and San Francisco had already secured NFC post-season spots.
Three vacant playoff berths remain and Jacksonville has the inside track for one after a fourth straight victory, stomping host Houston 31-3.
Jacksonville (8-8) can claim the AFC South division title by winning at home next week over Tennessee (7-9), losers of six straight.
South Korean Koo Young-hoe kicked a 21-yard last-play field goal to give Atlanta a 20-19 win over Arizona while Geno Smith’s two touchdown passes sparked Seattle over the eliminated New York Jets 23-6.
Justin Herbert threw two touchdown passes and Austin Ekeler ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Los Angeles Chargers over the LA Rams 31-10.
Robbie Gould’s 23-yard overtime field goal gave San Francisco a 37-34 victory at Las Vegas.
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