In the narrowest of victories, the Bucs prevailed over the Patriots in Week 4, 19-17. The margin could have been greater, however, if Tom Brady and Antonio Brown had connected on either of two end zone shots on the Bucs final scoring drive. According to Bruce Arians, the Bucs had a matchup they liked and wanted to exploit it.
“That was really hard,” Arians said on Bucs Total Access. “Those are a couple plays we have to make right there. I thought it was a great ball by Tom [Brady] (on third down). The play before, AB puts a double move on and gets double hand-jammed with no call. And it’s like, ‘well, ok’. But let’s go right back to it, because he’s going to run by him again. And he did. We just didn’t quite make the play to ice the game.”
Down 17-16, Brady’s 2nd-and-8 pass to Brown in the back of the end zone fell incomplete. It looked like Brown may have lost the ball as he tried to track it downfield. Also, there was no flag on the clear jam beyond the 5-yard cushion window.
On third down, the Bucs knew they had the matchup they wanted. With cornerback Jon Jones limping, Brown raced by him and Brady delivered a perfect strike. Jones admirably made up some ground, but the throw from Brady was as good a toss as you’ll see all season. Brown just dropped it.
Thankfully, it didn’t matter. Ryan Succop nailed the 48-yard kick, and the Bucs defense forced a 56-yard field goal attempt that hit the left upright. The Bucs improved to 3-1 on the season, as they head back to Tampa Bay to take on the Dolphins in Week 5.
You can listen to the whole interview with Arians right here.