The Patriots nearly spoiled Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro on Sunday Night Football, figuratively with the whole country watching. But, the Buccaneers were able to hang on, and beat New England.
It wasn’t a great start for the Patriots. A pair of punts from New England opened the night, leading to a Tampa Bay field goal before Mac Jones was intercepted by Anton Winfield.
The Pats would get their first share of luck, with a missed field goal from Tampa before Jones found Hunter Henry in the end-zone for an 11-yard touchdown after a successful play-action play, that even fooled the cameraman to take the lead. To close out the half, the Bucs picked up a 44-yard field goal.
Tampa would open the second half with a three-and-out, but they’d get the ball right back as J.J. Taylor fumbled. Both teams would see three-and-outs after that.
The Bucs would regain the lead, with an eight-play drive that resulted in a rushing touchdown from Ronald Jones. It was the passing game that helped the Pats get into the end-zone next, as Jones found Smith for a one-yard touchdown pass after an array of completed passes, which put the Pats back on top, 14-13.
A trio of field goals was hit, two from the Bucs, setting up a game-winning drive for New England. New England failed to convert on third-and-3, setting up a 56-yarder for Nick Folk. The kick looked good, but it doinked hard off the left post, giving Tampa the 19-17 win.
STATS AND NOTES:
- N’Keal Harry led the Patriots out onto the field
- Jakobi Meyers completed two passes for 45 yards
- Meyers was also the Patriots’ best receiver of the night, catching eight passes for 70 yards
- The Patriots had -1 rushing yards, as Damien Harris had four carries for -4 yards
- Jones was 31-for-40, throwing for 275 yards
- Kendrick Bourne had five catches for 58 yards
- Nelson Agholor had three catches for 55 yards
- Brandon Bolden had five catches for 61 yards
- Henry had four catches for 32 yards, including a touchdown
- Smith had three catches for 14 yards
- Jonathan Jones led the team in tackles, with nine
- Matt Judon had the only sack
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)