After a 44-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers headed to the Wild Card Round against the Washington Football Team with momentum on their side. Tampa Bay continued to ride the momentum defeating Washington 31-23 to advance to the NFC Divisional Round and play either the New Orleans Saints or Los Angeles Rams next week.
Tom Brady was critical for Tampa Bay, throwing for 381 yards and 2 touchdowns while completing 22 out of 40 passes. Throughout the entire game, Brady drove the team down the field and was a key factor in helping the Buccaneers pick up the win.
With Ronald Jones not playing due to a quad injury, Leonard Fournette ran for 93 yards and 1 touchdown on 19 carries. Even though the passing game had the most success, Fournette provided Tampa Bay with the option to establish the run.
With Brady throwing over 300 yards, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans were his top targets. Godwin had 5 receptions, 79 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown, while Evans had 6 receptions and 119 receiving yards. Evans and Godwin made big plays and came up big when the team needed them.
Even though the offense scored 31 points, the defense had a rough night allowing Washington over 300 yards of total offense and over 300 passing yards. The biggest problem for Tampa Bay was the inability to stop the passing game despite having an interception.
With usual Washington starter Alex Smith out with a calf injury, Taylor Heinicke threw for 306 yards, 1 TD, and 1 interception while completing 26 out of 44 passes. On the ground, Heinicke had 46 rushing yards and 1 touchdown on 6 attempts. Despite having just 2 starts in the NFL heading into the game, Heinicke looked solid for Washington.
For Washington, Cam Sims was the only receiver on the team that had over 100 receiving yards. Sims had 7 receptions for 105 yards, but did not have a touchdown. The touchdown went to Steven Sims Jr who finished with 3 receptions for 33 yards and 1 touchdown.
Despite having over 300 yards of total offense, Washington had a rough night stopping the high-powered Buccaneers offense allowing over 500 yards of offense and close to 400 yards passing. Even though the offense kept them in the game, the defense did not perform and struggled to defend the pass all game long.
Photo Credit: Julio Cortez/Associated Press
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