Tom Brady surpasses 100K passing yards, leads thrilling comeback against Rams

Quarterback Tom Brady waves to fans in the stadium after the Buccaneers beat the L.A. Rams 16-13
Quarterback Tom Brady waves to fans in the stadium after the Buccaneers beat the L.A. Rams 16-13(Associated Press)
Published: Nov. 6, 2022 at 10:02 PM EST
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Quarterback Tom Brady, now in his 23rd NFL season, stepped up to the podium and reiterated how good it felt to stop a three-game losing streak, his longest losing streak in 20 years.

“That was awesome,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion exclaimed Sunday. “That was (expletive) awesome!”

Down three points, with no timeouts left, Brady took over with 44 seconds remaining in Week 9 against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Brady tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie Cade Otton with 9 seconds remaining. He went 5 of 6 for 60 yards on the game-winning drive, the record 55th of his career. It also marked the first time the Bucs beat the Rams in four tries since Brady joined two seasons ago.

“We needed it and we got it. We fought until the end,” Brady said. “The defense played great. We made some plays offensively. Hopefully, this gives us some confidence and we can win again next week and get to 5-5, which would be good for us during the bye week.”

The win moves them into first place in the abysmal NFC South division.

Cooper Kupp scored on a 69-yard reception in the second quarter and Matt Gay kicked field goals of 26 and 35 yards after halftime for the Rams (3-5), who looked like they may be able to hold on to win when they stopped Brady on downs from the Los Angeles 6 with just under two minutes to go.

But Matthew Stafford, who threw for 165 yards and one TD, was unable to run out the clock on the Rams’ final possession.

“That’s what you want on offense, right? You want that opportunity to be able to kneel on it, and we’re four, five yards away,” Stafford said.

“Tom’s a heck of a player. He did a great job. I thought our defense played great all night,” Stafford added. “It’s a lot to ask to have them do that twice there late in the game. We definitely had our opportunity, and we didn’t capitalize. It’s really disappointing.”

Brady finished 36 of 58 for 280 yards, becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 100,000 yards in a career — even though he averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt in the Bucs’ largely one-dimensional, short-passing offense. He surpassed the milestone on a 15-yard completion to Leonard Fournette that set up the last of Ryan Succop’s three field goals.

The league’s career passing leader began the day needing 164 yards to reach a plateau Brady concedes no one would have imagined was possible when he entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick in 2000.

Brady, who owns nearly every meaningful league passing record, went over the mark in his 374th career game, including playoffs.

“It’s all about the win,” he said. “I’ve never cared about that.”

Brady set a couple more records late, moving ahead of Peyton Manning for the most game-winning drives and matching Manning with his 43rd career fourth-quarter comeback.

“We always have a chance with (Brady), grateful to have him,” coach Todd Bowles said. “He got over 100,000 yards. He still plays at a high level, love the guy to death.”

Brady, who played in his 374th NFL career game, including the playoffs, is widely regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time. He became the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 100,000 yards, surpassing the incredible milestone on a 15-yard completion to Leonard Fournette during the fourth quarter against the Rams.

“They’re great achievements,” he added. “But as much as people want to say: “Oh, this is what Tom Brady did.’ In my mind, this is what myself and all these other people that have contributed to my life have done as well.”

Brady, who has won seven Super Bowls, five Super Bowl MVP awards, and three NFL MVP awards, owns nearly every meaningful league passing record.

“For me, it’s a credit to all the guys that I’ve played with, who have blocked for me, have caught passes. I can’t do (anything) in this league without guys doing what they’re amazing at, too,” Brady said last Thursday.

Stafford finished 13 of 27 without an interception. Kupp, playing on a sore ankle he injured in the previous week’s loss against San Francisco, had eight catches for 127 yards.

Like the Buccaneers, the Rams have sputtered offensively in the first half of the season. Both teams rank near the bottom of the league in scoring and on Sunday once again barely resembled the teams that faced each other in the playoffs last January.

Tampa Bay’s red-zone problems persisted, with Brady settling for Succop’s 20-yard field goal on the Bucs’ opening possession. Meanwhile, Stafford’s long TD pass to Kupp accounted for most of the 104 yards the Rams gained before halftime.

Succop’s third field goal trimmed the Rams’ lead to 13-9. Brady led a drive to the Rams 6 on his next possession, but the threat stalled with three straight incompletions into the end zone. Jalen Ramsey broke up the fourth pass, but couldn’t hold on for an interception.

“There’s really no other way to put it, this is a tough pill to swallow,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.