Ryan Succop capped a four field-goal performance by drilling a 40-yarder in overtime to lift the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 19-16 road victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Day.
Story of the Game
The Buccaneers defense stopped the Cardinals on their opening possession of overtime before Tom Brady connected on six straight passes to move the ball down to the Arizona 19-yard line. A false-start penalty then shoved Tampa back five yards but a pair of Leonard Fournette runs set things up Succop, who split the uprights to snap his team’s two-game losing skid.
Brady completed 32 of 48 passes for 281 yards in the game, with a touchdown to rookie running back Rachaad White and two interceptions. The win sees the Buccaneers (7-8) remain one-game ahead of the Carolina Panthers (5-9) and the New Orleans Saints (5-9) in the battle for the NFC South division title and a playoff spot.
Brady threw both of his picks to Marco Wilson on Sunday, making it just the second time in his storied career that he has thrown at least two interceptions in three-straight games. The first instance came in September-October of the 2002 season while playing for the New England Patriots.
Fournette rushed for 72 yards and added nine receptions for 90 yards for the Bucs, while team-mate Chris Godwin had eight catches for 63 yards.
Arizona’s James Conner rushed 15 times for 79 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Trace McSorley completed 24 of 45 passes for 217 yards and an interception in his first career start in the NFL.
Greg Dortch made 10 catches for 98 yards for the Cardinals (4-11), but it wasn’t enough as Arizona succumbed to their fifth defeat in a row and seventh in their past eight games.
|Buccaneers 3-0 Cardinals||Ryan Succop 38-yard field goal|
|Buccaneers 3-3 Cardinals||Matt Prater 56-yard field goal|
|Buccaneers 6-3 Cardinals||Ryan Succop 35-yard field goal|
|Buccaneers 6-6 Cardinals||Matt Prater 53-yard field goal|
|Buccaneers 6-9 Cardinals||Matt Prater 39-yard field goal|
|Buccaneers 6-16 Cardinals||James Conner 22-yard TD run (extra point)|
|Buccaneers 13-16 Cardinals||Tom Brady three-yard TD pass to Rachaad White (extra point)|
|Buccaneers 16-16 Cardinals||Ryan Succop 42-yard field goal|
|Buccaneers 19-16 Cardinals||Ryan Succop 40-yard field goal|
Wilson intercepted Brady for the second time late in the third quarter to set up a go-ahead score for Arizona. McSorley connected with Marquise Brown on a 47-yard pass before Prater capped a nine-play drive by drilling a 39-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 9-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Tampa Bay went three-and-out on their next possession and Conner capped a five-play, 33-yard drive by scampering in for a 22-yard score. The touchdown was his seventh of the season and sixth in his past six games.
But the Buccaneers erased the 16-6 deficit, with Brady connecting with White on a three-yard TD with eight minutes remaining, before William Gholston’s recovery of a McSorley fumble set-up Succop’s game-tying 42-yard field goal with two and a half minutes to go – ultimately taking the game into overtime, where Tampa Bay would prevail.
On Boxing Day there is yet more NFL action, as the Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1) host the Los Angeles Chargers (8-6) on Monday Night Football, with the Chargers looking to clinch a playoff spot in the AFC with a victory. The Colts, meanwhile, will be desperate to recover from suffering an NFL-record comeback loss to the Minnesota Vikings last weekend. Watch all of the action on Sky Sports NFL from 1.15am, Tuesday morning.
As for the Buccaneers, they next host the Carolina Panthers (6-9) in a key NFC South divisional clash on New Year’s Day from 6pm, Sunday. Win and the Bucs will knock the Panthers out of the postseason race and guarantee themselves the division title, but defeat would see Carolina into top spot with one game to game. The Cardinals, meanwhile, travel to the Atlanta Falcons (5-10) in Week 17, with both already eliminated from playoff contention.
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