LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tom Brady dropped back and lofted a pass that just got over the defender’s arms and fell into Scotty Miller’s hands right before he reached the sideline for a 33-yard TD pass.
The 43-year-old Brady is getting back to his Super Bowl-winning form following an early season adjustment to his new team in Tampa Bay.
Brady threw four touchdown passesto move past Drew Brees for the most in NFL history and ran for another to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 45-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
“We’re 5-2, in a decent place, not quite at the halfway point in the year,” Brady said. “We’ve got a lot of football left. We’re going to need everybody, and we’re going to need everybody’s best. And we’re going to expect everybody’s best and we’re going to try to meet the challenge every week.”
Brady finished 33 for 45 for 369 yards, while also running for Tampa Bay’s first score on a 1-yard sneak in the first quarter.
He now has 15 TD passes and one interception the past four games as he has found his rhythm with his new team.
“I think it’s knowing the guys better, knowing the system better, everything that we change each week,” coach Bruce Arians said. “There’s such good communication of what we’re trying to get done, where the ball should be going versus each coverage. It’s just total growth in the offense.”
Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter and then delivered his best pass of the day to Miller in the final minute of the first half. He then helped seal the game with the throw to Chris Godwin that put the Bucs up 31-20 over the Raiders (3-3) midway through the fourth quarter.
Brady added a fourth to rookie Tyler Johnson with 3:08 to play to give him 559 in his career, passing Brees for the most ever. Brees threw two earlier in the day for New Orleans.
Now Brady could be getting even more help when Antonio Brown joins the team following next week’s game.
“He’s a tremendous football player,” Brady said. “I played with him for a brief period of time. I’m looking forward to working with him again and see what role he can come in (and play).”
The 4-yard pass to Godwin was part of a key stretch when it appeared the Raiders were in position for a comeback after cutting the deficit to 24-17 on Derek Carr’s second TD pass of the game.
The Raiders then got a stop and were driving for the potential tying score before coming up 1 yard short of a first down on a third-and-4 pass to Darren Waller. Coach Jon Gruden opted for a field goal to make it 24-20.
Brady then engineered another TD drive to make it an 11-point game and the Bucs (5-2) put it away when Carr threw an interception on Las Vegas’ next play to set up Ronald Jones’ 1-yard run.
Carr went 24 for 36 for 284 yards, two TDs and one interception as the Raiders were unable to build on a big win at Kansas City before the bye after being without their starting offensive line all week in practice.
Starting right tackle Trent Brown tested positive for COVID-19 and four other starting linemen were sent home Wednesday because they had “high-risk” contact with Brown and didn’t rejoin the team until Sunday morning.
“I’m not going to use any excuses, we can’t,” Carr said. “We’re in a production-oriented business. The miscommunication, absolutely, it took place. It’s a game of practice, it really is. You got to be available, not just for Sundays, you got to be available all throughout the week cause there’s so much information that goes into it.”
The Raiders lost guard Gabe Jackson to an ejection in the third quarter after Carr’s 1-yard TD pass to Wallerthat cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 24-17. The officials determined that Jackson stepped on an opponent’s shoulder during a scrum after the play and he was ejected.
FAVORITE TARGET I
Carr looked for his favorite target on the opening drive, connecting on a 28-yard pass to Agholor and then a 21-yard TD. That made Carr 12 for 13 for 234 yards and four TDs with a perfect 158.3 passer rating when throwing to Agholor. It also gave the Raiders their first opening drive TD since Week 16 of last season vs. the Chargers.
FAVORITE TARGET II
Brady connected with Gronkowski for the second straight week with a 5-yard TD pass in the second quarter. That’s the 92nd time those two teamed up on a TD pass in the regular season or playoffs, tying the duo of Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the second most ever. Only Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison have more with 114.
Buccaneers: CB Carlton Davis left in the second half with a chest injury, but returned to the game.
Raiders: T Sam Young left with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn’t return.
Buccaneers: Visit the Giants on Monday, Nov. 2
Raiders: Visit Cleveland on Sunday.
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