NFL ROUND-UP: Tom Brady leads Buccaneers to historic play-off win

NFL ROUND-UP: Tom Brady stars for Tampa Bay Buccaneers in first play-off win since historic 2002 year… while Buffalo Bills survive Hail Mary to edge Indianapolis Colts for first post-season victory in 25 years

  • The first triple-header of NFL wildcard games took place on Saturday 
  • Tom Brady inspired the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a first play-off win since 2002
  • Brady threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-23 win over Washington
  • The Buffalo Bills won their first play-off game since 1995 in front of 6,700 fans
  • Josh Allen starred as the Bills held on for a 27-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts
  • Los Angeles Rams beat Seattle Seahawks 30-20 in the second match of the day 

The first triple-header of NFL wildcard games on Saturday saw Tom Brady extend his postseason record for victories to 31 with a 31-23 victory for Tampa Bay at Washington. 

Brady was the key to New England winning six Super Bowls and making nine overall, and now he has taken the Buccaneers to their first playoff win since their 2002 run to the NFL title.  

Brady threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns in his 42nd postseason start and first not in a New England uniform. 

Tom Brady starred in the NFL play-offs once again this time for the Tampa Bay Bucaneers

The quarterback hit threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-23 win over Washington

He used all of his weapons well, from receivers Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin to tight end Cameron Brate and running back Leonard Fournette.

But Tampa Bay’s defence got leaky and Washington’s unheralded Taylor Heinicke, in his second pro start in place of injured starter Alex Smith, ran for 46 yards and a touchdown and threw for 306 yards and a score.

In the end, though, it was another victory for Brady.

Washington’s unheralded quarterback Taylor Heinicke impressed in the defeat for his team

‘He is a fighter, he plays hard, works hard and studies hard – and he is the man for the job,’ Fournette said of the legendary quarterback. 

Meanwhile the Buffalo Bills got one of those triumphs that Brady collects – and they even figured out how to stop a Hail Mary.

The Bills ended a winless postseason slide in their last six games with a 27-24 victory Saturday against Indianapolis. The previous playoff win was over Miami in December 1995. 

And it came in the Bills’ first home playoff game in 24 years, with a limited number of 6,700 fans in attendance for the first time this season. 

The Buffalo Bills won their first play-off game in 25 years against the Indianapolis Colts

Josh Allen threw two touchdown passes, scored another rushing, and Micah Hyde batted down Philip Rivers´ desperation pass to end the game. Buffalo will host an AFC divisional-round game.

‘It doesn’t matter how it looks,’ Allen said. ‘It’s the playoffs. It’s win or go home and we got it done. We’ve got to turn our focus to whoever we got next week.’

In Buffalo’s last loss before winning its next six games and the AFC East crown, Hyde was one of three defenders who failed to knock down the ball. 

DeAndre Hopkins’ 43-yard leaping catch on Kyler Murray’s desperation throw – the ‘Hail Murray’ – won the game for Arizona. The Bills learned from it, and Philip River’s heave for T. Y. Hilton was incomplete.

Josh Allen (left) combined well with Stefon Diggs (middle) in front of 6,700 supporters

‘It’s been a long time since Bills Mafia has been able to celebrate like this,’ Allen said. ‘But it’s one game.’

In the second game of the night, Los Angeles rattled Russell Wilson and dominated even though it was without unanimous All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald for much of the second half of a 30-20 victory at Seattle. 

A pick-6 by Darious Williams was a major contributor, as were five sacks overall by the team, including two by Donald. 

Darious Williams starred for the Los Angeles Rams in a 30-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks

‘A lot of guys stepped up and answered the bell in a big way,’ Rams coach Sean McVay said. ‘Darious Williams showing up, I thought that was a huge momentum shift for us.’

Cam Akers rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown, and Jared Goff, though shaky for portions of the game, replaced injured starting quarterback John Wolford early on and avoided major mistakes. 

Less than two weeks after undergoing surgery on his right thumb, Goff capped the victory with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods.

‘I think it was really just a stinger. He definitely seemed good,’ McVay said of Wolford.

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