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Buccaneers Get Walk Off Touchdown From Player Cast Off By Jets, Lions, Bears To Beat Buffalo

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TAMPA — This island of misfit toys that are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fun to watch because somehow talent that didn’t mesh somewhere else and was cast off or simply moved on has found a way to fit nicely here for nearly two seasons and, yes, Sunday was another example of how that magic works.

Tom Brady connected with Breshad Perriman on a 58-yard overtime touchdown and what everyone saw was the Buccaneers turn back a break-neck rally by the Buffalo Bills to win 33-27 in overtime.

What everyone celebrated was only the second walk off touchdown in a Brady career so long and illustrious that it was his 700th scoring pass.

But what none of us saw was the weeks of work Brady and Perriman put in once the receiver arrived in Tampa on Nov. 9 as a practice squad addition.

“Things take time but … but it’s been amazing,” Perriman said of his newfound chemistry with Brady after his game defining play. “He’s been teaching me a lot about how he wants me to run the routes, just the thought process…”

Please understand what that work actually is: It’s a wide receiver who was cut by Detroit in August and then Chicago in November working with the quarterback who escaped New England to make sure they look like they’ve played together for years when the moment warrants.

That moment inevitably came late Sunday and it was a beautiful thing.

“It was a great, great play and a really good throw,” Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said. “Tom stretched him out in front and obviously he has that great speed and that’s why he’s in the ball game. He’s explosive for us.”

Perriman showed that ability with the Buccaneers in 2019 after Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were injured.

Then he signed with the New York Jets in 2020 before moving on to the Lions and the Bears this season. And when the loser teams got done with Perriman, the defending world champions saw value in Perriman coming back to them.

(That, by the way, is losing teams doing what losing teams do while winning teams find contributors.)

“We just added him three or four weeks ago,” Brady said. “He had a really good role here a few years ago. Just trying to get him up to speed with what we are doing, but he provides us a lot of depth at receiver, and we have a lot of depth.

“He made just a huge, huge play for us.”

The Buccaneers, everyone knows, were not the same before Brady arrived after 20 seasons with the Patriots. But his arrival signaled a renaissance that has been punctuated by players joining the club as if following the Pied Piper.

Rob Gronkowski was retired but joined the Bucs.

Leonard Fournette was cut from Jacksonville and joined the Bucs.

Antonio Brown wasn’t playing for anyone and joined the Bucs.

Same with Richard Sherman who had an interception of Josh Allen on Sunday.

Disparate pieces coming together sometimes within weeks. performing as if they’ve bonded.

You know why?

Because they’ve bonded.

“With this team, besides the football part, our bond is special,” said Fournette, who rushed for 113 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown. “Any advice your looking for, dealing with the family, financial, any part of life, this is a great group of guys. they’ve been through it from all points of view. Having those talks make us close as a team.”

And that doesn’t just involve some guys

“Everybody,” Fournette said. “We always do. We all fight our battles. As men we’re taught to man up, don’t show no emotions, but on this team we genuinely care for each other.”

This was a game the Buccaneers led 23-3 and somehow let off the gas. But as Buffalo was making its comeback, it was perhaps that Tampa Bay bond that kept a rally from turning into a rolling.

“It’s amazing I was just looking around at my teammates,” Perriman said, “just everybody’s reaction after going to overtime, and nobody worried. Nobody’s afraid …”

That’s how it works now with Tampa Bay and the reason they already have 10 wins and next week can clinch the NFC South with a win over New Orleans.

“I think just caring about each other,” Brady said. “We do have a great bond. We have a great group of guys, just hard nosed, tough group of guys and they’ve answered the challenge the last bunch of games we’ve played. We’ve just got to keep it going, got to keep making improvements and it’s a big week this week.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

 

 

 

 

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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