|Follow the live commentary from 6:00 p.m. GMT Sunday and watch video clips and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app.|
|Sunday January 10 – Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans, live on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra (from 5.45 p.m.).|
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers withstood a heated display from Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke to advance to the divisional round of the NFL play-offs with a 31-23 victory.
Brady joined the Bucs this season after ending his long association with the New England Patriots, which saw him win a record-breaking six Super Bowl rings, and responded by leading Tampa Bay to the first play-off win of franchise since winning the Super Bowl in 2002. season.
Brady, 43, who threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns, was made to sweat before claiming victory in this NFC wildcard contest, as Heinicke – starting in front of injured Alex Smith – kept the Bucs honest by throwing 306 yards with a touchdown as well as a dive for a superb score after a hectic run.
That reduced the Bucs’ lead to two points late in the third quarter, but Leonard Fournette’s touchdown and Ryan Succop’s basket gave Tampa Bay a 12-point cushion.
There was still time for a late rally in Washington as Heinicke produced a superb downhill walk before finding Steven Sims in the end zone, but Tampa Bay held their own, hitting another basket to add late brilliance.
It was nonetheless a fairy tale for Heinicke, 27, who was completing an engineering degree when he was signed by Washington to their training squad on December 8, and was only on the active list. December 19.
But it wasn’t enough to deny Brady a 31st career play-off triumph and a meeting with the Los Angeles Rams or New Orleans Saints in the next round.
The game was the final part of a triple header from Saturday’s wildcard contest, which also garnered victories for the Rams and Buffalo Bills.
“If you could win 100-0, it will be the same result at the end,” Brady said. “It’s good to win and move on. “
Sixth-seeded Rams shocked Seahawks
The Rams upset the Seattle Seahawks, third seed in the NFC conference, with a 30-20 victory despite an early quarterback change.
Substitute John Wolford started again after making his NFL debut in the final game of the regular season, but was injured in the Rams’ second practice.
Jared Goff arrived, just two weeks after sustaining a broken thumb that required surgery, and the first-choice QB, who led the Rams to Super Bowl 53, took them to a 20-10 lead. at the half.
Cam Akers rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown, while Darious Williams returned an interception for a score, before Goff threw a 15-yard TD pass to Robert Woods to put LA 30-13 with 4:46 to to play.
Russell Wilson of Seattle had 11 of 27 assists and was sacked five times as the Seahawks suffered their first home playoff loss since 2004.
“I don’t have room in my brain for that result,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “The pressure was high, the coverage was good – he (Wilson) was against that all day. “
Bills end 25-year wait for play-off victory
The Bills had their first play-off victory since 1995 as they hung on for a 27-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
The Bills recovered from 10-7 to take a 24-10 lead early in the fourth quarter after a 35-yard touchdown by Stefon Diggs, who finished with six passes for 128 yards.
And despite a retaliation from the Colts, quarterback Philip Rivers was unable to put them within shooting range on the last disc of what could be the 39-year-old’s final NFL game.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen had 324 yards and two touchdowns while running for another as Buffalo, who will play at home in next week’s division round, claimed their seventh straight victory.
“It doesn’t matter what it looks like,” Allen said. “It’s the play-offs, it’s winning or coming home, and we did it. Now we need to focus on the one we have next week.
“It’s been a long time since Bills Mafia (Bills fans) have been able to celebrate like this, but it’s a game. I’m just happy to have the chance to play next week. “