Tom Brady did it again to the Atlanta Falcons.
This time, he didn’t even need overtime.
Rallying Tampa Bay from a pair of 17-point deficits, Brady recreated his Super Bowl miracle by leading the Buccaneers on five straight scoring drives in the second half Sunday for a 31-27 victory over the stunned Falcons.
The stakes weren’t nearly as high and the deficit wasn’t quite as daunting, but Brady’s latest blow to Atlanta took the Bucs (9-5) to the brink of their first playoff berth since 2007.
It sure didn’t look that way when Atlanta raced to 17-0 by halftime, or when the Falcons (4-10) restored their margin to 24-7 after Brady finally guided the Bucs to a touchdown on the first possession of the second half.
Turns out, the 43-year-old was just getting warmed up.
He certainly had plenty of experience to fall back on when it came to breaking Atlanta’s heart.
In the 2017 Super Bowl, Brady famously led the greatest comeback in championship game history, rallying New England from a 28-3 deficit late in the third quarter to a 34-28 overtime victory that secured his fifth of six titles with the Patriots.
Now, it looks like he’ll get a shot at another with his new team. The Bucs are on the cusp of wrapping up a wild-card berth, which is just what Brady had in mind when he left snowy Massachusetts for sunny Florida.
Brady capped his latest rally with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown with 6:19 remaining. The league’s oldest player finished 31 of 45 for 390 yards and two TDs.
Tampa Bay scored on five straight possessions after halftime four touchdowns and a field goal.
Seattle Seahawks 20-15 Washington Football Team
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks built a big lead, and Seattle’s suddenly opportunistic defense held on Sunday to beat Washington 20-15 and clinch a playoff spot.
Wilson threw for a touchdown, Carlos Hyde ran 50 yards for a score, and the Seahawks (10-4) picked off Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins twice. Shaquill Griffin and DJ Reed each had an interception as the league’s worst passing defense played strong until the fourth quarter.
After a Haskins-led comeback from a 20-3 deficit fell short, Washington (6-8) had their winning streak snapped at four with Alex Smith out because of a calf injury. Haskins finished 38 of 55 for 295 yards, a TD pass and the two interceptions.
Wilson threw for 121 yards and a 10-yard TD pass to Jacob Hollister and ran for 52 on six carries. Hyde’s 50-yard TD run was Seattle’s longest rushing play of the season.
New England Patriots 12-22 Miami Dolphins
Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa ran for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns as the host Miami Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots 22-12 on Sunday.
Tagovailoa passed for 145 yards (one interception), keeping Miami (9-5) on track for its first playoff berth since 2016. The Dolphins are guaranteed to make the playoffs with wins in their final two regular-season games.
New England (6-8) was led by Nick Folk, who made four field goals. Quarterback Cam Newton passed for 209 yards.
However, the Patriots had their streak of 19 consecutive winning seasons snapped.
In addition, the Patriots lost cornerback Stephon Gilmore – the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year -to a knee injury in the second quarter; he did not return.
New York Jets 23-20 Los Angeles Rams
Sam Darnold threw for 207 yards in his homecoming and the New York Jets pulled off their first victory of the season defeating the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 on Sunday at Inglewood, California.
The Jets’ defense held the Rams to just three points and 97 total yards in the first half, and 303 yards in the game, to avoid becoming the first team to go winless in a season since the Cleveland Browns in 2017.
The Rams (9-5) were more than two-touchdown favorites and needed a victory to become playoff eligible. Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw for 209 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while rookie Cam Akers overcame a first-half ankle injury to rush for 63 yards on 15 carries.
Houston Texans 20-27 Indianapolis Colts
Zach Pascal scored his second touchdown with less than two minutes to play and the Indianapolis Colts kept pace atop the AFC South with a 27-20 win over the visiting Houston Texans on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts (10-4) stayed tied atop the division with the Tennessee Titans by delivering in the clutch after the Texans (4-10) knotted the score at 20-all with Keke Coutee’s nine-yard touchdown reception with 7:25 to play.
Pascal capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive with his five-yard scoring grab with 1:47 left, but the critical play came when Philip Rivers found TY Hilton for a 41-yard gain to the Houston three-yard line.
Pascal totaled five receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Rivers passed for 228 yards.
Detroit Lions 25-46 Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two more and the Tennessee Titans overwhelmed the Detroit Lions 46-25 in Nashville on Sunday.
Tannehill completed 21 of 27 passes for 273 yards and rushed for 21 yards on three carries. Derrick Henry rushed for 147 yards and one score on 24 carries as the Titans (10-4) remained tied for first in the AFC South Division with Indianapolis. Corey Davis caught four passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.
D’Andre Swift rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, and Matthew Stafford passed for 252 yards and a touchdown for the Lions (5-9). Marvin Jones III caught 10 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.
Jacksonville Jaguars 14-40 Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens had little trouble moving one step closer to earning their third straight trip to the playoffs with a dominating 40-14 home victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.
The Ravens (9-5) never trailed against the Jaguars (1-13), whose longest losing streak in franchise history continued against Baltimore, which won its third straight game.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 243 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 35 yards and another score. JK Dobbins finished with 14 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown, which marked his franchise-record fourth straight game in which he found the end zone.
Chicago Bears 33-27 Minnesota Vikings
David Montgomery rushed for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns and Mitchell Trubisky had a passing touchdown and 236 yards of offense as the visiting Chicago Bears kept their NFC playoff hopes alive with a 33-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings 33-27 on Sunday afternoon.
Chicago (7-7) won for the second straight week on the heels of a six-game skid to pull within one half-game of the Arizona Cardinals for the final NFC wild card spot. The Vikings, who rallied after starting the season 1-5, fell to 6-8 as their playoff aspirations took a sizable hit with two weeks left in the regular season.
Minnesota, trailing 30-27, had an opportunity to capitalize on Cameron Dantzler’s interception of Trubisky in the end zone with 2:57 to go but turned the ball over on downs.
San Francisco 49ers 33-41 Dallas Cowboys
Andy Dalton passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns and the Dallas Cowboys scored 24 points off turnovers in a 41-33 victory Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in Arlington, Texas.
The Cowboys (5-9) won back-to-back games for the first time this year. The 49ers (5-9) committed four turnovers and have lost three straight games and six of their last seven.
Nick Mullens completed 21 of 36 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns for San Francisco but threw two costly interceptions in the fourth quarter.
Donovan Wilson intercepted the first one, setting up a 46-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal that put Dallas up 27-24 with 10:12 to play.
Two plays after Anthony Brown registered the second pick, Tony Pollard broke off a 40-yard touchdown run for a 34-24 lead with 2:27 remaining.
Philadelphia Eagles 26-33 Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray threw for a career-high 406 yards, DeAndre Hopkins had 169 yards receiving and a stellar touchdown catch, and the Arizona Cardinals improved their position in the playoff race by beating the Philadelphia Eagles 33-26 on Sunday.
Arizona (8-6) won its second straight game as it tries to make the postseason for the first time since 2015. The Cardinals are in third place in their division behind the Rams and Seahawks and would currently be the No. 7 and final seed in the NFC playoffs.
The Eagles (4-9-1) trailed 16-0 in the first quarter but rallied to tie the game at 26 in the third quarter after quarterback Jalen Hurts ran for a seven-yard touchdown.
Arizona responded with its go-ahead touchdown drive capped by Hopkins’ spectacular 20-yard grab. Cornerback Michael Jacquet was playing tight defense on the play, but Hopkins wrestled the ball away and held on with one hand as he fell past the pylon into the end zone.
Murray completed 27 of 36 passes, with three touchdowns and one interception.
Kansas City Chiefs 32-29 New Orleans Saints
Patrick Mahomes threw three touchdown passes and the visiting Kansas City Chiefs won their ninth consecutive game by defeating the New Orleans Saints 32-29 on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Mahomes completed 26 of 47 for 254 yards as the Chiefs improved their NFL-best record to 13-1.
Drew Brees returned from a four-game absence due to rib and lung injuries to complete 15 of 34 passes for 234 yards with three touchdowns and an interception as the Saints (10-4) lost their second straight after a nine-game winning streak.
The Chiefs led at halftime, but Brees threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Latavius Murray on the first possession of the third quarter to give the Saints their only lead at 15-14.
Cleveland Browns 20-6 New York Giants
Baker Mayfield led two 95-yard touchdown drives and the Cleveland Browns moved closer to ending their 17-year playoff drought with a 20-6 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night.
Mayfield was sharp all night, helping the Browns (10-4) bounce back from a 47-42 loss to Baltimore last Monday night. The Cleveland quarterback has been terrific lately, and it was more of the same in this one as he finished 27 of 32 for 297 yards with scoring passes to Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper.
Nick Chubb had a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that put it out of reach for the sluggish Giants and made the Browns the first team this season to have two 95-yard TD drives in a game.
The win got the Browns closer to clinching their first playoff spot since 2002, the NFL’s longest drought. They also matched their highest win total (10-6 in 2007) since their 1999 expansion rebirth.
Cleveland also dealt a serious blow to the the playoff hopes of the Giants (5-9), who were without injured quarterback Daniel Jones. Colt McCoy, who started 21 games for the Browns from 2010-13, couldn’t get much going against his former team.