The whole game shouldn’t have come down to this moment, but it did. With the Bucs up 28-22, Tom Brady and co. faced a 3rd-and-7 from the Eagles 45-yard line. 3:24 remained on the clock. In the biggest moment of the game, Brady and wide receiver Antonio Brown delivered. The quarterback scrambled right and hit Brown on his back hip with a tight-window throw on third down. Brown made a fantastic catch to rip the ball away from the flailing defender, and the Bucs were able to run out the clock on the victory.
“It was huge,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “Great route and hell of a throw when you’re trying to get out of the pocket. It’s a couple times this year he’s thrown out of the pocket to the right and made a big play down the field.”
Brady’s improved mobility has been a greater asset than anyone could have foreseen this season. So has Brown’s impact, as the receiver piled up nine catches on 13 targets for 93 yards and a touchdown. Despite playing less than 50 percent of the offensive snaps last night, Brown is putting up numbers on par with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
“Yeah, [Brown] made a great play,” Brady said. “Just dipped underneath the guy and then found space. Kind of what he’s done his entire career. He made a huge play, it was awesome.”
According to Arians, Brown the progression order of the play had Brown as a late read. Brady’s ability to get out of structure, combined with Brown’s feel for space in the scramble drill, created the big play.
“No, it was probably the third [read],” Arians said. “The first two [are] quick ones. Then [Brady] breaks contain and just finds him. It’s one thing that [Brown] does. He’ll run and get to an open spot when he sees the quarterback moving.”
On the season, Brown has 29 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns.