Carmelo Anthony says LeBron James' early-season prediction that the Los Angeles Lakers would emerge victorious like Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers is proving true.

The Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook during the off-season and brought in the likes of Anthony, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Trevor Ariza.

After some underwhelming results, the Lakers hit form with four wins in a row to start 2022 before losing 127-119 to in-form Memphis Grizzlies last time out.

It was a similar story for Brady in his first year with the Bucs last time out when 7-5 overall before their season truly took off, culminating in a 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

Sitting seventh in the Western Conference with a record of 21-20, Anthony agrees with James' comparison that the Lakers could be heading for similar success.

"Just from the standpoint of starting off slow and having new guys on the team, a new system, guys trying to figure it out, guys trying to figure out how to play with LeBron and [Anthony Davis] and now incorporating Russ and just now everybody figuring out what their role is," he said. 

"And what made it beautiful for the Bucs is that once it came together, it came together and you saw what happened with that."

Anthony has averaged 13.2 points across his 41 games for the Lakers this season – the fourth most behind Westbrook (19), Davis (23.3) and James (28.9), and similar to the 13.4 averaged in his final year with the Portland Trail Blazers.

With the Lakers now halfway through their campaign, Anthony admits it was always going to be a long-term process after plenty of close-season changes.

"It was just kind of preparing ourselves for whatever happens, whatever comes along," he said when reflecting on the past three months.

"I think we were, I don't want to say prepared for those [difficult] moments and those times mentally and emotionally, but yeah, those were conversations that were happening."

The Lakers have back-to-back road games coming up against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday and the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says it would be a "travesty" if 44-year-old quarterback Tom Brady does not win the MVP award.

Brady had 485 completions from 719 passing attempts for 5,316 yards and 43 touchdown passes across the regular season, which was the league-best across all categories.

The Bucs QB becomes the third quarterback following Drew Brees (2018) and Peyton Manning (2013) to lead the league in all four major statistical categories since 1991. Brady's 485 completions was an NFL single-season record.

Brady produced a three-touchdown display in the Bucs' 41-17 win over the Caroline Panthers on Sunday to reinforce his credentials with the home crowd chanting "MVP!".

"I think if he doesn't get it, it's a travesty," Arians told reporters on Monday. "Most completions ever, 5,000 yards, touchdowns - the whole nine yards. To me, it's not even a close race."

Brady's 5,316 passing yards was also the third-most in NFL history, beating his own personal record of 5,235 yards from 2011.

Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski said: "It just shows what his work ethic is, how dedicated he is to the game of football and just how talented he is.

"Just his determination week in and week out - it's just unbelievable. And it's just surreal how he's pulling it off at age 44 and just coming out here like he's in his 20s still, just winging that ball, zipping it where it needs to be, making fantastic throws week in and week out."

Gronkowski added: "Tom's the MVP every year. Just the way he adjusts on the fly to his personnel, just trying to get the ball into the best players' hands or the best matchup on that current play - he's just always ready to go no matter what the situation is. He's the MVP every year."

Tom Brady was thrilled to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers claim the number two seed in the NFC as he set his sights on the playoffs after reaching a host of new landmarks in Week 18.

The defending Super Bowl champions responded to a turbulent week following the release of Antonio Brown with a comprehensive 41-17 home win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

It meant the Bucs finished at 13-4, a franchise record for victories, and were 7-1 at home, their overall record tying that of the Green Bay Packers for the best in the NFL.

The win, coupled with a defeat for the Los Angeles Rams against the San Francisco 49ers, meant the Bucs improved their seeding in the last game of the season.

While some teams opted to rest their star players going into the playoffs, Brady stayed on the field until the fourth quarter, completing 29 of 37 passes for three touchdowns.

The quarterback's 5,316 passing yards for the 2021 season is his best career total – and the third-highest tally ever recorded in NFL history - while his 43 TDs for the year set a new Bucs record.

Brady became only the second QB in history, along with Drew Brees, to have multiple 5,000-yard seasons.

He also broke a record previously held by Brees (471 in 2016) for the most pass completions in a season, finishing up with 485.

With history made, Brady will now set his sights on the Bucs repeating as Super Bowl champions, which would give him a historic eighth world title if achieved.

They start against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round, and moving ahead of the Rams means they would also be at home in the Divisional Round should they progress. 

"In the end it's a great achievement to get the two-seed and it just felt good to win," said Brady.

"With other teams, you can't ever control any of those things. Even thinking ahead for the next game [in the playoffs] – you are worrying about two games from now. 

"Even if the Rams had won, I'm not worried about two games from now, I'm worried about one game from now, which is the Eagles.

"We've still got the Eagles and that's going to be the biggest game of our season. If we win, whoever we play, wherever we play, we are still going, and that's what we want to do."

On the win over the Panthers, he added: "We got off to a little bit of a rough start but we found a way to get some rhythm, and when we do that it's pretty good. 

"We did a good job of taking care of the football, did a good job with penalties, good job in the red area, good job on third downs. We're going to have to keep it going."

Brady was not the only Bucs player to reach a significant milestone in Week 18.

Wide receiver Mike Evans (six catches for 89 yards and two TDs) extended his own record for the most consecutive seasons (eight) with at least 1,000 receiving yards to begin a career in the NFL.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had seven catches for 137 yards, now has 32 career games with 100+ receiving yards, meaning he now stands alone above Tony Gonzalez atop the all-time list for his position.

Gronkowski had equalled Gonzalez last week and this was the first time since Weeks 5-6 in the 2016 season that he recorded back-to-back 100-yard games.

It is a timely run of form with star wideout Chris Godwin out injured and Brown no longer on the team.

"It's amazing the records [they set]," added Bucs coach Bruce Arians. "It seemed like there were five or six records every week.

"Thirteen wins and it hasn't been easy. We've had a lot of guys down all season so I can't say enough about our front office having a great roster."

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

Tom Brady says being on the brink another NFL record is "a credit to everybody" on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster.

Going into the Bucs' game at the New York Jets on Sunday, Brady is within touching distance of making more history.

The veteran quarterback is looking to become just the second player ever to record 40 or more passing touchdowns in consecutive regular season campaigns.

Brady had 40 TD passes on the way to Super Bowl glory last season and sits on 37 this time around with two games to go.

The 44-year-old is looking to equal the record held by Drew Brees, who had 46 and then 43 TD passes across the 2011 and 2012 NFL seasons, but he stressed beating the Jets was his main priority.

Brady said: "All the individual stats and so forth – ultimately, it's a team sport. That's just a credit to everybody.

"Winning is the thing that I concern myself with the most and I feel like the most important thing for any quarterback is to win games.

"Just winning the game Sunday will be what I'm looking forward to. We've got to go out there and earn it."

The Bucs (11-4) have activated wide receiver Mike Evans off the COVID-19 reserve list ahead of their clash with the Jets (4-11).

"Everyone is going to have to play a role with different people in and out of the line-up," added Brady. "We've had a lot of people in and out the last few games.

"At different times you've got to adjust. Different players – Leonard [Fournette], Chris [Godwin], Mike [Evans], A.B. [Antonio Brown] has been out for a while, 'Gronk' [Rob Gronkowski].

"You've just got to try to get guys to play a role and provide the level of production that allows you to go down and score points. 

"Every week is going to be a little bit different. I don't think it's production. It's just a matter of scoring points to me. If we have to go 80 yards, we've got to go 80 yards to get the ball in the end zone. 

"If we get a turnover on the 10-yard line, it's still about scoring points. 

"We don't have to produce as many yards to score points because the defense helped us out a lot. It's really the ultimate team sport in that respect. 

"You have to do the best you can do based on the circumstances and opportunities that you are provided.

"How the defense plays, how the special teams plays, how the other team plays – all of those things factor in differently to the overall outcome of the game."

Brady was visibly angry as he and the Bucs were shutout in a divisional loss to the New Orleans Saints in primetime, but Tampa bounced back with a 32-6 road win over the Carolina Panthers last time out.

The win meant they sealed victory in the NFC South for the first time since 2007 but the Bucs are still looking to improve on their current standing as fourth seeds in the conference ahead of the playoffs.

Brady regularly faced the Jets as a member of the New England Patriots.

He is 30-7 as a starter against them in his career, good for the second-most wins by any QB against a single opponent – behind only a record Brady already holds with 33 wins over the Buffalo Bills.

Brady is 7-0 in his last seven against the Jets, winning by an average of 23.3 points.

Crowds came flocking back in force, we had the full complement of golf majors and tennis grand slams, and sport almost ran smoothly over the past 12 months.

To boot, there were sensational moments, featuring both the biggest names in sport and some that few had heard of at this time last year.

Here, Stats Perform looks back at some of the biggest stories of the year, and the numbers that made them so remarkable.

Jacobs, the shock Tokyo Olympics sprint king

Entering 2021, Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs had a career-best of 10.03 seconds for the 100 metres. By most standards that is staggeringly quick, but at the very elite level of sprinting it ranks as only middling. To put it into some context, 34 men ran quicker than 10.03 seconds in 2021. Jacobs finished only 19th at the 2019 World Championship and few outside of athletics circles knew the name. The former long-jumper grabbed a little attention when he produced a world-leading 6.47 seconds to win the 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships in March, then he ran 9.95 for the 100m in Savona in May, but he still headed to the Tokyo Olympics as a big outsider, not expected to be a factor. Jacobs made a mockery of his lowly billing, as he powered to personal bests in the heats and semi-finals before doing so again in the final, dashing home first in 9.80 seconds to grab gold and leaving rivals gasping in astonishment. He led Italy to sprint relay gold too, a glorious double in that country's remarkable year of success.

Emma Raducan-who? From A level exams to US Open top marks

Twelve months ago – no, make that barely six – London-based Raducanu was simply not a factor in grand slam discussions. Fresh out of school, she had to fight to earn a wildcard for Wimbledon when organisers initially baulked at the idea, but they were persuaded and Raducanu went on to reach the fourth round. The teenager who was born in Canada and has a Romanian father and Chinese mother had arrived, but it was at the US Open that she roared into the history books. There was no wildcard in New York for the British youngster, but Raducanu won three qualifying matches and then raced through the main draw, defeating 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez in the title match. She did not drop a set in 10 matches and became the first women in the Open era to win 10 main-draw matches in her first two grand slams. It made her the first qualifier to win a slam and the first US Open women's singles winner since Serena Williams in 2014 to triumph at the tournament without dropping a set along the way. The $2.5million in prize money was followed by endorsement offers from across the world as Raducanu became an instant superstar. The tennis world waits to see what comes next.

No country for old men as US win Ryder Cup

The youngest Ryder Cup team ever assembled by the United States torched European hopes at Whistling Straits in September, scoring a 19-9 victory. That was the widest margin of victory by either side since Europe, rather than Great Britain and Ireland, became the USA's opposition in 1979. Dustin Johnson bounced back from losing four of his five matches in the 2018 edition to finish with a 5-0 record, just the third player in US v Europe battles to finish with a perfect record (after Larry Nelson in 1979 and Francesco Molinari in 2018). Johnson, at 37, was the oldest player on the team. European veteran Lee Westwood matched Nick Faldo's record of 11 appearances in the match, while Sergio Garcia stretched his points record from 25.5 to 28.5 as he and Jon Rahm combined well, but it was emphatically an event that belonged to the host Americans.

Veteran Mickelson still had his day 

He might have been absent for the US team's Ryder Cup triumph, but Phil Mickelson's name was up in lights again as he became the oldest winner of a men's golf major, landing the US PGA Championship title in May. At the age of 50, Mickelson caused a huge upset at Kiawah Island, scooping his sixth career major when he held off Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen on the final day. It was his only top-10 finish of the year on the PGA Tour.

Federer bagelled, Djokovic denied Golden Slam

Strange things happened in men's tennis in 2021, not least the sight of Roger Federer suffering a 6-0 'bagel' at the end of a straight-sets Wimbledon quarter-final defeat. That happened against Hubert Hurkacz in July, and it was the last match Federer played in the year. He wants to play again, and the 40-year-old believes he can, but knee surgery will keep him out of action until mid-2022 at the earliest, by his own reckoning, and that Centre Court defeat to Hurkacz could turn out to be how his eight-title Wimbledon career ends. Novak Djokovic joined Federer and Nadal on a joint-record 20 grand slam titles by cleaning up at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and he has now spent a record 353 weeks at number one, passing Federer this year. But Djokovic could not make it a Golden Slam, losing to eventual champion Alexander Zverev in the Olympic Games semi-finals, and a Grand Slam was just beyond him too, Daniil Medvedev winning his first major when he swept the Serbian in straight sets in the US Open final.

Another year, more records for Brady

At the age of 43, Tom Brady was MVP in the Super Bowl as he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in February. He now has seven Super Bowl wins behind him, another outright record, and has been MVP in the game on an unmatched five occasions. Brady, having turned 44 in August, is in the hunt for another Super Bowl ring and perhaps outright NFL MVP honours this season, although Aaron Rodgers will likely deny him the latter accolade. Still, the records keep coming for Brady. He has moved in front of Drew Brees to have the most pass completions in league history (7,200 and counting), become the first ever 15-time Pro Bowler, and in December became the first quarterback to throw 700 career touchdowns.

England's Ashes surrender calls for Root and branch review

Joe Root became the first England captain – or player, indeed – to suffer nine defeats in Tests starting in a single calendar year, in a strange 12 months for the Yorkshireman. His form with the bat has been up there with the best of his career, the 31-year-old scoring 1,708 Test runs to go third on the all-time single-year list, with only Mohammad Yousuf and Viv Richards ahead of him. Even in the Tests that England have lost, Root has made a number of handy contributions with the bat, scoring 648 runs at an average of 38.11. Overall he has scored 26 per cent of England's Test runs across the year, the highest proportion of any player for their respective team in 2021. Yet the Ashes were lost by lunch on day three of the third Test, an outrageously dismal result. Root top-scored in England's two innings in Melbourne, typically, but he cannot get a tune out of many of his team-mates, so ends the year with his future as skipper in doubt.

Curry still hot as NBA records fall

In January, LaMelo Ball became the youngest player to post a triple-double in the NBA, as the 19-year-old Charlotte Hornets prospect grabbed 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over the Atlanta Hawks. Come December, the Memphis Grizzlies set two records in the same game, scoring a franchise-high number of points and winning by the biggest margin in NBA history, as they handed out a 152-79 thrashing to the Oklahoma City Thunder. December was also the month when Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors set a new three-pointer record, becoming the first man to make 3,000 threes in a career after going past Ray Allen's previous NBA record of 2,973.

The Indianapolis Colts have dominated selection for the Pro Bowl with seven players named for the game due to be played on 6 February in Las Vegas for the first time.

Colts' MVP contender running back Jonathan Taylor was among five players confirmed earlier this week but he was joined by six other team-mates as the full NFC and AFC rosters were revealed on Wednesday.

Indianapolis also had center Ryan Kelly, guard Quenton Nelson, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Kenny Moore II and special teams long snapper Luke Rhodes all selected, with the Colts enjoying a run of five wins in six games to sit second in the AFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had already been named earlier this week for a record 15th Pro Bowl, with Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray and Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers joining him as NFC QBs.

The selected AFC quarterbacks were Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert, Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson and Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs and Chargers had six players selected in total, while the Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Bucs all had five representatives.

Four rookies were selected in Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts, Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.

The NFC and AFC rosters are determined by a vote of the fans, players and coaches.

Tom Brady is to become the first player in NFL history to feature in 15 Pro Bowls after being among the first five participants named for this season's game.

The first Pro Bowlers of the 2021 season were revealed on billboards in Las Vegas, which will host the annual NFL all-star game on 6 February at Allegiant Stadium.

The other confirmed players to feature are Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams), Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams), Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis Colts) and Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs).

Brady will overtake Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Bruce Matthews and Merlin Olsen, who all featured in 14 Pro Bowls.

The legendary quarterback has guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 10-4 record and first place in the NFC South, with just one more victory needed to secure the division title. Brady currently boasts the best 2021 numbers in most major passing categories, including yards (4,348), attempts (602), completions (404) and touchdown passes (36).

The 44-year-old has won more Super Bowls than any other player in history (seven) and also holds the record for most Super Bowl MVP awards (five).

The full reveal of the AFC and NFC teams for this year's Pro Bowl will take place on Wednesday.

For the first time in 15 years, a Tom Brady-led team got shut out Sunday. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' ugly 9-0 home loss to the New Orleans Saints kept the defending Super Bowl champions from clinching a return to the playoffs as their NFC South foes maintained their recent dominance in the rivalry. 

It was the seventh straight regular-season win in the series for the Saints, the last four of them coming since Brady's arrival. 

Brady's meeting with the media afterward lasted longer than some others this season, but the quarterback did not have many answers after a defeat that saw the Buccaneers fail to generate an offensive threat.

"I don't think we were much good at anything tonight," Brady told a news conference. "I wish it was just one thing; it was a lot of things.

"We've got to do better in every facet of offensive football to score points. We're not gonna win scoring no points."

The Buccaneers actually out-gained the Taysom Hill-led Saints 302 to 212, but Brady committed the only two turnovers of the game with a fumble in the third quarter and an interception late in the fourth. He also was sacked four times, all on third down. 

Brady completed just 26 of 48 passes for 213 yards as he was shut out for just the third time in his NFL career and the first time since the New England Patriots fell 21-0 to the Miami Dolphins on December 10, 2006, when the 29-year-old quarterback threw for just 78 yards. 

He was more effective than that Sunday, though his play-makers kept falling by the wayside throughout the game. 

The Buccaneers (10-4) lost receivers Mike Evans (hamstring) and Chris Godwin (knee) to injuries in the first half and neither returned, then saw running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) depart in the third quarter.

Asked about Tampa Bay's failure to clinch the division Sunday, head coach Bruce Arians said: "It hurts more losing all the players we lost. We lost about seven starters in this game, so I'm more concerned about that right now."

Arians said he had no updates about the severity of any individual injuries, but that the Bucs would have to figure things out before facing the Panthers in Week 15. 

"Whoever's up got to go play a little better," he said. "It doesn't matter who's available. We've got to get we got to get ready to go beat Carolina."

Brady echoed that sentiment, declining to use the Buccaneers' injuries as an excuse. 

"A lot of guys got banged up tonight but that's part of football, so we've got to try to figure out who can go in and fill out some roles and play great football," he said. 

"We just didn't execute great, obviously, just a tough night, didn't do much of anything right. So we've got to get a lot better. Got to get back to work. There's a lot of football left and see if we can go get a win next week."

A New Orleans Saints team missing its head coach still found a way to embarrass Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champions Sunday. 

In a touchdown-free affair with little aesthetic appeal, the Saints stunned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0 – the first time a Brady-led team has been shut out in 15 years. 

Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen served as the Saints' head coach with Sean Payton absent after testing positive for COVID-19, and his unit played an inspired game against the future Hall of Famer. 

Brady completed just 26 of 48 passes for 213 yards and had the only two turnovers of the game with a fumble in the third quarter and an interception late in the fourth. He also was sacked four times, all on third down. 

It was just the third shutout loss of Brady's NFL career and his first since the New England Patriots fell 21-0 to the Miami Dolphins on December 10, 2006, when the 29-year-old quarterback threw for just 78 yards. 

The Buccaneers (10-4) lost receivers Mike Evans (hamstring) and Chris Godwin (knee) to injuries in the first half and neither returned, then saw running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) depart in the third quarter, depriving Brady of play-makers as the game went on. 

On the other side, Taysom Hill did just enough to keep the Saints from losing, avoiding turnovers as he completed 13 of 27 passes for 154 yards and led the team with 33 yards rushing on 11 carries.

The Saints (7-7) needed all of those yards, as Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram combined for just 28 on 20 carries. 

 

Tom Brady revelled in his "great moment" after making more NFL history but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar is focused on clinching the division title.

Brady was the hero in Sunday's 33-22 overtime victory against the Buffalo Bills – his 700th career touchdown lifting reigning Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers.

The evergreen 44-year-old became the first quarterback in NFL history to reach the milestone courtesy of his 58-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman, having also eclipsed Drew Brees for most pass completions in league history.

It was another historic outing for the record seven-time Super Bowl champion and while he savoured the achievement, Brady swiftly turned his attention to the team as they stand on the brink of their first NFC South crown in 14 years.

"It's pretty rare, you know? But it was very cool," Brady told reporters post-game after the Buccaneers improved to 10-3.

"I'd much rather not have it come down to that, but, in the end, they all count the same, you know? And we got to learn from it and we got to move on.

"Obviously, we're playing for a division championship next week which is pretty exciting for all of us."

Brady was 31-of-46 passing for 363 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, while he rushed for another score against rivals the Bills.

He maintained his dominant record against the Bills with a 33rd win over Buffalo in 36 career starts – the most in NFL history against one team by a starting quarterback.

Brady, who needed 18 completions to surpass future Hall of Famer Brees, now has 7,156 to his name.

"I don't think about those things," said Brady when asked what he is going to do with his latest record-setting paraphernalia. "People kind of tell me they happen, that's pretty cool.

"I keep some jerseys and stuff like that but yeah it's pretty neat. It's just amazing to have so many people share in all those great accomplishments that, obviously, to me, I feel like they're all team awards anyway so anyone who ever caught a touchdown pass, they're part of something pretty cool in NFL history, anyone that had a completion for that matter.

"And, obviously, the guys that came before me doing it like Dan Marino and Peyton [Manning] and Drew and some other incredible players that I always looked up to. So, this is a great moment."

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians added: "I don't think there will be any records left when he's done."

Tom Brady was the hero in another historic performance as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar inspired a 33-27 overtime win against the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.

Brady – who surpassed Drew Brees for the most pass completions in league history – became the first quarterback to throw 700 career touchdowns on Sunday and that milestone 58-yard TD settled the contest with the visiting Bills in OT.

Overtime was needed after reigning Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers (10-3) squandered a 24-3 half-time lead against the Bills (7-6).

Brady had thrown for a touchdown and ran for another after Leonard Fournette's 47-yard dash set the tone for the Buccaneers in the first half before the rallying Bills silenced the home crowd.

Josh Allen (36-of-54 passing for 308 yards, two touchdowns and an interception) was the instigator for the Bills with a pair of touchdown passes in the final period, after the quarterback's third-quarter run helped reduce the deficit.

Tyler Bass' 25-yard field goal 22 seconds from the end forced OT but Brady had the final say in another memorable moment in an incredible career – the seven-time Super Bowl champion and Breshad Perriman combining for a 58-yard score in the additional period.

Brady (31-of-46 passing for 363 yards and two TDs without an interception) maintained his dominant record against the Bills – the 44-year-old's 33 wins over Buffalo in 36 career starts are the most in NFL history against one team by a starting quarterback.

 

Niners also win in overtime

Overtime was needed to settle another game on Sunday, with the San Francisco 49ers prevailing 26-23 at the Cincinnati Bengals.

In a thrilling ending, Brandon Aiyuk hauled in the winning score on a 12-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo before staying in bounds and leapfrogging into the endzone.

The Bengals used a 14-0 final quarter to send the game into OT but the playoff-chasing 49ers managed to see off Cincinnati.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated star cornerback Richard Sherman off injured reserve ahead of Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Sherman had missed three games after sustaining a calf injury in warm-ups prior to the Week 10 NFL clash with the Washington Football Team.

The Super Bowl champion, who joined the Bucs in Week 4, featured in three games before suffering a hamstring injury at the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6.

But five-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro Sherman – with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery to his name in Tampa – is set to return when Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers face the Bills (7-5).

The Buccaneers were 11-5 last season and they are 9-3 with five games left this term. This will be the first time Tampa Bay finish with a winning record in each of two consecutive seasons since 2007 (9-7) and 2008 (9-7), per Stats Perform.

Sunday's game will feature two of the four quarterbacks with more than 60 touchdown passes over the last two seasons in Bucs superstar Tom Brady (74) and Bills QB Josh Allen (63). The only other QBs with more than 60 passing touchdowns over that span are Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers (71) and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs (63).

Brady has a 32-3 record in his 35 career starts against the Bills. His 32 wins over Buffalo are the most in NFL history against one team by a starting quarterback.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion's 91.4 career winning percentage versus the Bills is the highest in NFL history by a starting QB against one team (minimum: 20 starts).

Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes in the Bucs' victory over the Atlanta Falcons last week.

It was Gronkowski's third game with two TD catches this season and the 20th game with at least two TD receptions in his NFL career, the most among active players.

There is a new leader in the AFC after the New England Patriots' remarkable victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday, stretching their winning streak to seven games.

But after battling the elements as well as the Bills in Buffalo, Bill Belichick's Pats have a bye in Week 14.

That allows others the opportunity to recover ground – including the Bills, who face New England great Tom Brady on Sunday. It is not a meeting they have enjoyed previously, as Stats Perform explores.

Buffalo Bills (7-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)

Just like Belichick, Brady has enjoyed taking on the Bills – and he had plenty of opportunities to do so with the Pats in the AFC East.

Brady is 32-3 against Buffalo in his 35 career starts, with no starting quarterback in NFL history recording more wins against a single team. His .914 winning percentage in these games represents the highest by a starting QB against one team (minimum 20 starts).

Aged 44, Brady remains one of the best passers around, with a league-leading 74 TD passes over the past two seasons.

Bills QB Josh Allen is joint-third on that list (63 TDs), and Buffalo need his offense to fire, making the most of the platform afforded to him by the defense. After the 14-10 loss to the Pats, the Bills became the first team this season to lose two games in which they allowed 14 points or fewer (also 9-6 at Jacksonville).

Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

The Chiefs are one of three 8-4 AFC teams close behind the 9-4 Pats and will back themselves to tie that record in a matchup they have dominated.

Since 2013, when Andy Reid was appointed head coach, the Chiefs are 14-3 against the Raiders, with only New England against the New York Jets (16 wins) and the Seattle Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers (15) beating a divisional opponent on more occasions in that span.

This is a time of year in which Patrick Mahomes tends to excel, now on a record run of 19 consecutive regular season wins in QB starts in November or later, but Kansas City's turnaround on defense has been key to their recent improvement.

The Chiefs head into this game having become the first team in NFL history to have a five-game streak allowing 25 or more points and a five-game streak allowing fewer than 20 points in the same season, with the latter sequence ongoing.

Baltimore Ravens (8-4) @ Cleveland Browns (6-6)

Another 8-4 AFC rival, along with the Tennessee Titans, the Ravens again face the Browns in the tightly contested AFC North.

Cleveland's previous game – before their Week 13 bye – was in Baltimore, making them the first team since 1991 to play the same team in back-to-back regular season games, although the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 last year before beating them again the following week in the playoffs.

The Ravens won 16-10 in Week 12 as Browns QB Baker Mayfield completed just 48.6 per cent of his passes, meaning he now has a 2-6 career record when completing no more than half of his pass attempts.

Lamar Jackson was far from convincing in that game, tossing four interceptions, but he had his sixth career game with at least 250 passing yards and 50 rushing yards against the Steelers last week – five of those coming in 2021. The Pittsburgh game was his second loss from those six.

Elsewhere...

The Washington Football Team believe again after four straight wins to move into a playoff place at 6-6, aiming to become only the third team to start 2-6 and make the postseason. One of the previous two examples was Washington last year, who won both games against the Dallas Cowboys, teeing up a potential three-game winning streak against this week's opponents – just their third ever.

Aaron Rodgers has claimed he "owns" the Chicago Bears, and the numbers show exactly what the Green Bay Packers QB means. He is 21-5 in the regular season and 1-0 in the postseason against the Bears, who will fear this week's matchup.

The Cincinnati Bengals have painful memories of playing the 49ers, having lost 12 of 16 games against San Francisco, including two Super Bowls. Joe Burrow will hope to get back on track in the latest meeting, however, having led the league with 14 picks to this point. Boomer Esiason, with 22 in 1990, was the only previous Bengals QB to lead the league outright in interceptions.

Page 1 of 10
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.