Tampa Bay Buccaneers 47-7 Detroit Lions: Tampa Bay end 13-year wait for playoff spot with dominant win
Week 16 continues on Sunday with three games on Sky Sports NFL: Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh from 6pm, followed by LA Rams @ Seattle (9.25pm) and Tennessee @ Green Bay (1.20am)
By Associated Press
Last Updated: 27/12/20 2:13pm
Tampa Bay clinched a spot in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2007 with a Tom Brady-inspired 47-7 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Brady threw four touchdown passes in the first half - the only half he needed to play - as the Bucs (10-5) set a franchise record with 588 yards and snapped the NFL's second-longest postseason drought behind Cleveland's 18-year run - a record the Browns can end on Sunday.
With a 34-0 lead at half-time, the largest half-time lead in the franchise's history, the Bucs rested Brady as Blaine Gabbert played out the rest of the contest, throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski on his first snap - one play after Detroit running back D'Andre Swift fumbled - and a 22-yard pass to Mike Evans later in the third quarter.
Brady was 22-of-27 for 348 yards with a mix of passes deep down the field and darts in traffic. The six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback threw touchdown passes to Gronkowski, Evans, Chris Godwin, who made a one-handed catch, and Antonio Brown from 33, 27, seven and 12 yards.
- Buccaneers passing: Tom Brady, 22/27, 348 yards, 4 TDs
- Rushing leader: Ke'Shawn Vaughn, 15 carries, 62 yards
- Receiving leader: Mike Evans, 10 catches, 181 yards, 2 TDs
The 43-year-old Brady started his 298th game to tie Brett Favre's record for an NFL quarterback.
Detroit proved to be no match for the Buccaneers.
The Lions (5-10) started the game without interim coach Darrell Bevell and several assistants on the defensive staff because of Covid-19 contact tracing.
They also played much of the game without quarterback Matthew Stafford. He had been questionable to play with hip and thumb injuries and then hurt his right ankle on the opening drive and did not return.
Replacement Chase Daniel struggled to move the ball much for the Lions, who avoided getting shut out for the second time this season in the third quarter when Jamal Agnew returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown.
Daniel was replaced in the fourth quarter by David Blough, who started five games for the Lions last season in his rookie year.
On a day of records, Brady's four touchdown show means he has now thrown a franchise-record 36 touchdowns in his first season with the Bucs. He also set a personal record with 348 yards passing by half-time.
Brady and Gabbert combined to throw a Bucs-record six touchdowns as Tampa Bay set team records in points (34) and yards (410) in the first half while wide receiver Evans, who had 10 catches for 181 yards, scored twice to set a team record with 13 receiving touchdowns in a single season.
Tampa Bay had been outscored 59-7 in the opening quarter of their past six games and looked as if they might start slowly again when Brady was sacked on third down of the opening drive.
- Lions passing: Chase Daniel, 13/18, 86 yards
- Rushing leader: D'Andre Swift, 10 carries, 45 yards
- Receiving leader: Danny Amendola, five catches, 37 yards
Up next - It's the final week of the regular season and Tampa Bay will be looking to keep their momentum going when they travel to NFC South rivals Atlanta while Detroit's disappointing season finishes at home to their NFC North rivals Minnesota who have also missed out on the postseason.
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