In what sometimes felt like a Week 3 game, Tom Brady got his first career playoff win outside of New England.
Tampa Bay defeated the Washington Football Team, 31-23, on the road Saturday night. Washington was short-handed at quarterback as Alex Smith was inactive, which meant former Patriots practice squad QB Taylor Heinicke got the start.
The 27-year-old was actually pretty impressive, but it wasn’t enough to overtake Brady and the Bucs. Heinicke threw for 306 yards and made a number of plays that could get him some contract offers this offseason when he's a free agent.
Brady was good, but he's had better postseason games, as he finished 22-for-40 with 381 yards and two touchdowns. His receivers let him down on several occasions with a number of dropped passes.
Antonio Brown scored the first Bucs touchdown of the game and finished with two catches for 49 yards. Meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski was very quiet, not registering a catch on just one target, although he was used a lot as a blocker.
Tampa Bay jumped out to a 9-0 lead, but allowed Washington to make it a two-point game at the end of the third quarter. And then after increasing the lead to 28-16, it allowed Washington to get back into it and the game came down to the final Washington possession when it turned the ball over on downs.
With the win, the Buccaneers will either play New Orleans or Green Bay next week. If the Saints beat the Bears Sunday, the Bucs will travel to New Orleans, but if the Bears win they would host the Rams.