By: Robert L. Porter Jr.

Thursday night football puts one of the NFL greats against one of the NFL’s brightest young stars. Tom Brady and the 2-2 New England Patriots head into Tampa to face Jameis Winston and his 2-1 Bucs. Both teams are coming off bad defensive performances and are looking to right the ship on the back end.


The Patriots receive the opening kickoff and Brady hits a few short passes to get into Bucs territory but a high throw to Chris Hogan is intercepted ending the drive. After the turnover, Tampa could only muster 1 first down and they are forced to punt. A quick 3 & out due to a Brandin Cooks drop on 3rd down sends the ball back to Winston and his offense. The Buccaneers 2nd drive was exactly like the first, a first down pass to Mike Evans on the first play then 3 plays and a punt. The punt pins New England inside the 5. Brady and the Patriots looked much better getting out of the shadow of the goal post. Nice passes to Cooks and Amendola takes the Pats back into Tampa territory. the Patriots showed a good running game on this drive, the best play was a 31 yard run by Dion Lewis. The 89 yard drive stalled inside the 10 and Stephen Gostowski banged home a field goal making it 3-0 Patriots. The Patriots defense forces a 3 & out and the New England takes the field with 21 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter. A 9 yard run by Mike Gillislee sends us to the 2nd quarter.


The quarter starts with another Gillislee run but for no gain then a Gerald McCoy sack of Brady forces them to punt it back to Tampa. Jameis and his guys finally looks to have some rhythm behind RB Doug Martin who is playing his first game after his suspension. A couple O.J. Howard penalties ultimately didn’t hurt them as Martin pounded the Patriots defense for 48 yards and a TD making it 7-3 Tampa. The Patriots come back out using the short passing game, James White hauled in 3 quick passes to start the drive the third was a 24 yard catch on a wheel route that put New England at the 18 yard line. After a few Gillislee runs, Brady finds Chris Hogan for a 5 yard TD giving New England the lead 10-7.

A quick Winston 3 & out sends the ball back to Brady with 2:13 before halftime. A great return by Amendola and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty puts New England at the Bucs 27 yard line. A couple more short passes by Brady sets up another Gostowski field goal with 40 seconds left in the first half, 13-7 Patriots. After the kickoff a scrum then 2 roughing the passer calls gave Tampa a chance at a long 56 yard field goal but Nick Folk pushed it wide right. We go into the Half with New England holding a 6 point lead.


The Bucs gets the ball to start the 2nd half. After 2 Doug Martin runs, Winston missed a wide open DeSean Jackson running free down field on a 3rd down and just like that they are punting the ball back the New England. the New England drive start with 2 nice plays to Brandin Cooks that looks to have the Patriots in business. After the drive stopped making progress another field goal makes it a 16-7 game. Other than the touchdown drive that featured the running of Doug Martin, Tampa Bay hasn’t been able to get their footing in this game. As we see the 3rd quarter start to wind down, Tom Brady drops back and is hit from the blind side and lost the ball. The Bucs recovered it and are in business at their own 47 yard line. A few plays take Tampa into New England territory as the the 3rd quarter ticks down and comes to an end.


We start the quarter with a 3rd & 2 and Doug Martin is stopped for no gain and Nick Folk missed another field goal so the score remains 16-7. The Patriots get the ball on a short field and work their way into field goal range but elect to kung on 4th down and play the field position game. Pinned back in their own territory, Tampa Starts to make things happen. Winston hits DeSean Jackson on a slant that went for 41 yards. The Bucs had a very good drive but a penalty hauled the drive and Folk missed another field goal, this one from 31 yards out. New England still leads 16-7.

Its a for gone conclusion that Tampa will be in the market for a kicker in the coming days. A quick 3 & out by Brady sends the ball back to Tampa who needs some kind of points on this drive if they hope for any chance of winning this one. A late drive by Winston is capped off with a TD to Cameron Brate from Winston making it 16-14 with 2:09 remaining. After a failed onside kick attempt, the Patriots have the ball looking to salt this one away. They weren’t able to close it out, after Gostowski made the 48 yard field goal. Tampa gets the ball back with 1:10 remaining and Winston moves his team down the field and they are at the 19 yard line with 3 seconds remaining. Winston receives the snap and fires it in the area of O.J. Howard but it falls incomplete and the Patriots win 19-14.


Tom Brady – 30/40 303 yards 1 TD 1 INT

Chris Hogan – 8 rec 74 yards 1 TD

Jameis Winston – 26/46 334 yards 1 TD

Danny Amendolas – 8 rec 77 yards

Doug Martin – 82 total yards 1 TD

DeSean Jackson – 5 rec 106 yards

Cameron Brate – 5 rec 68 yards 1 TD