The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-16 on Sunday in the first regular-season NFL game played in Germany, and it was quite a show.
Seattle quarterback Geno Smith, who for most of the season has looked like the QB he was once promised to be, spent most of the first half looking not quite right. He didn't appear to be hurt, but he wasn't the same decisive, accurate quarterback he has been. By the end of the first half, the Seahawks were still scoreless and had more penalties than points.
The Bucs (5-5), on the other hand, had 14 points, all scored in the second quarter, and a quarterback who was looking more and more dangerous. In fact, the Bucs as a unit were looking better than they had in weeks. Brady led two long touchdown drives and his rushers and receivers were there for him. Leonard Fournette had scored a TD, and Brady had been spreading his passes around to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones and Scott Miller (among others) with a more than decent success rate.
The Seahawks (6-4) eventually got on the board with a field goal in the third quarter, but the Buccaneers began driving toward Seattle's end zone again. If they scored and made it a 21-3 game, it would be pretty much over for the Seahawks, especially since Brady had been looking more Brady-like than he had in months. Then, an incredible thing happened. Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich called a play pretty much no one would call for a 45-year-old quarterback.
Brady went deep on a Philly Special and got ready to catch a pass thrown by Fournette, a repeat of the play he clanked in Super Bowl LII. But he slipped on the grass as the ball was coming toward him, and rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen glided in and caught the ball while Brady laid prone on the ground.
It was a wild sequence, one that could have been a big momentum shifter for the Seahawks. Instead, Smith fumbled and the Bucs recovered.
But the game wasn't done, and neither was Smith. Right after the Bucs went up 21-3, the Seahawks scored to make it 21-9. Then, with about five minutes left in the game, Brady threw his first interception in over 400 passes to give the Seahawks a fighting chance of narrowing the score.
— NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2022
And the Seahawks showed up. Smith pulled off two incredible fourth-down passes on that drive, including the 19-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin that pushed them within a touchdown of victory.
Incredible throw by Geno Smith for the TD‼️pic.twitter.com/LExVsbQiRW
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 13, 2022
But Brady's arm is still potent. It usually can't be beaten if he's locked in, and that's what he was. The Seahawks needed to stop the Buccaneers to get the ball back before time ran out, and they just couldn't get to Brady. It was a valiant effort from Seattle, but Brady is still Brady, even when he looks miserable and regretful (which is how he looks on the field most of the time these days).