GLENDALE, Ariz. — There were times during the slog of a Sunday night football game when Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady looked frustrated. There were other times when he looked angry. There were a few times he looked downright old.
But there were also six overtime pitches where Tom Brady looked like Tom Brady. And that’s all the Buccaneers needed.
Brady completed all six of his assists in overtime, helping the Bucs overcome a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and beat the Arizona Cardinals 19-16 to hold a one-game NFC South lead.
“If we stay tight in the fourth quarter, we know we have a chance,” Brady said. “I think we’re all comfortable in those situations.”
Ryan Succop scored the game-winning 40-yard field goal with 3:41 left in overtime, capping a nine-play, 66-yard drive. Brady wasn’t great for much of the night, but got the killer blow, completing his six passes for 69 yards in a vintage display of precision in the clutch moments.
It was Brady’s 57th win.
“It’s just who he is,” Fournette said. “He’s been doing it for years. Guys like me, Mike (Evans), Julio (Jones), Chris (Godwin), Rachaad (White), everyone, we just play a part in his greatness. Give him what he wants. He wants certain roads to follow certain paths.
“We’re just here to try to make it easier for him.”
The Cardinals got the ball to start overtime but ultimately had to kick a punt. Tampa Bay got the big gain it needed when Brady found Russell Gage Jr. for a 23-yard gain.
From there, the Bucs dug a few more yards before Succop netted his fourth field goal of the night.
Arizona (4-11) has lost five straight, while Tampa Bay has had a two-game skid. The Bucs (7-8) held a one-game lead over the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. Tampa Bay has a crucial home game against Carolina next weekend.
The 45-year-old Brady made his 331st career start at quarterback, while the Cardinals fell to Trace McSorley on his first start. The former Penn State star had been the team’s third quarterback for much of the season, but made his starting debut following injuries to Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy.
James Conner broke away for a 22-yard touchdown run with 10:47 left in the fourth quarter to give the Cardinals a 16-6 advantage. But Brady and the Bucs responded with their first touchdown of the night, scoring when the quarterback hit Rachaad White on a 3-yard pass to cut it to 16-13 with 8:03 left.
The Bucs took a huge break in ensuing practice when Cardinals rookie Keaontay Ingram fumbled a shot from McSorley. Tampa Bay’s William Gholston jumped on the loose ball.
Tampa Bay capitalized nine plays later when Succop scored a 42-yard field goal for his third field goal of the night, tying it at 16 and forcing overtime.
Brady was 32 of 48 for 281 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He threw at least two interceptions in three consecutive games, which ties the longest streak of his career. Fournette ran for 72 yards and caught nine passes for 90 yards.
“It was an all out effort today in the second half, especially the fourth quarter,” Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles said. “The defense stops and the attack cashes.”
Arizona’s McSorley was 24 of 45 for 217 yards and one interception.
“Our guys played hard, fought hard,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I thought the defense played wholeheartedly and gave us a chance. I just wanted to finish offensively.
Neither team reached the end zone in a first half that ended in a 6-6 draw. Cardinals kicker Matt Prater threw field goals for 56 and 53 yards. His second – just before halftime – bounced off the left upright but still went past the crossbar for three runs.
Brady was on offense early, throwing a deep pass down the right sideline to Julio Jones on the opener of the game. The pass was incomplete, but Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton was called for pass interference, resulting in a 30-yard gain.
But the 23-year-old veteran had gone on several other deep balls. Brady was intercepted on a promising second quarter drive when the quarterback was hit in the arm as he tried to throw deep on Evans. The pitch was short and caught by Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson Jr.
Wilson intercepted two passes from Brady.