LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Tom Brady threw two interceptions in the first quarter as part of an implosion by the reigning Super Bowl champions, contributing to Washington upsetting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29-19 Sunday while losing Chase Young to injury.
Tampa Bay lost a second consecutive game on either side of its bye week and was dealt an extra blow in the last minute when nose tackle Vita Vea was carted off with an injury on the final play of a 19-play, 80-yard drive over 10:26 that sealed the victory for Washington (3-6).
Brady threw two picks just like the loss to New Orleans two weeks ago and finished 23 of 34 for 220 yards and two touchdown passes.
The Buccaneers (6-3) couldn’t find much of a rhythm on either side of the ball in a rematch of their wild-card victory at Washington from January. Brady’s interceptions on two of his first six throws — one off the hands of rookie Jaelon Darden and another inexplicable toss that was caught by Washington safety Bobby McCain — disjointed the NFL’s best scoring and passing offense, which did not have a first-half touchdown for just the fifth time in the past two seasons.
Brady bounced back in the second half, throwing TD passes to Cameron Brate and Mike Evans. The 40-yard connection with Evans cut the Buccaneers’ deficit to 23-19.
That’s where the comeback bid faltered, when Tampa Bay’s defense could not stop Washington’s offense on the final, clock-draining drive. Coach Ron Rivera lived up to his “Riverboat Ron” nickname by going for it on fourth-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 1-yard line with 31 seconds to go, and Antonio Gibson’s second touchdown run of the day put the game away and caused Vea’s injury, which could linger for the Buccaneers.
Washington QB Taylor Heinicke put his stamp on the improbable result much earlier, hooking up with DeAndre Carter for a 20-yard TD pass and leading a 71-yard drive in the third quarter. A pass interference penalty on the Buccaneers set up Gibson’s first TD run — one of several self-inflicted mistakes made by Tampa Bay, which was flagged six times for 43 yards.
Heinicke, who earned his contract by impressing in a surprise start against the Buccaneers in the playoffs, was 26 of 32 for 256 yards and also rushed for 15 yards.
The potentially serious right knee injury to Young put a serious damper on Washington’s victory.
The reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year crumpled to the ground with what appeared to be a non-contact injury after trying to get past left tackle Donovan Smith on a pass rush in the second quarter. Young pulled off and threw his helmet while down on the field before he was checked on by team trainers.
A cart was driven out onto the grass, but Young did not get on it. Instead, he motioned for right guard Brandon Scherff to give him a hand to help stand up.
A wincing Young then headed toward the locker room, draping his arms on the shoulders of two people while walking with a hitch. He returned to the sideline in the second half on crutches.
SLYE COMES UP BIG
New kicker Joey Slye was perfect in his Washington debut, making field goals from 46, 28 and 29 yards and going 2 for 2 on extra points. Slye also took a perfect angle to run a kick returner out of bounds in the second half.
A moment of silence was held for former Washington linebacker and broadcaster Sam Huff, who died Saturday at age 87. Huff went to one Pro Bowl with Washington and was a fixture in the team’s broadcast booth for decades after his playing days were over.
Buccaneers: CB Richard Sherman suffered a calf injury during pregame warmups and did not play. ... WR Antonio Brown (ankle) and TE Rob Gronkowski (ribs) were inactive.
Washington: TE Logan Thomas missed a fifth consecutive game with a hamstring injury. ... CB Benjamin St-Juste was ruled out earlier in the week with a concussion. ... Rookie RT Sam Cosmi was back in uniform after missing time with an ankle injury, but Cornelius Lucas got the start.
Buccaneers: Look to avoid a three-game skid when they host the New York Giants on Monday, Nov. 22.
Washington: Visit the Carolina Panthers in Ron Rivera’s return and what could be Cam Newton’s first game back with the team that drafted him.