Bucs launch Antonio Brown from team, rally Jets

Antonio Brown of Tampa Bay is tackled by Jets cornerback Bryce Hall during Sunday’s game in East Rutherford, NJ. . Adam Hunger / Associated press

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Antonio Brown was sent off from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a bizarre, shirtless exit from the field before Tom Brady coolly led the Bucs on a 93-yard drive in the dying minutes for a 28-24 victory on New York Jets on Sundays.

Coach Bruce Arians said after the game Brown was out of the squad.

“It’s not a Buc anymore,” Arians said.

Brown’s mid-game collapse came late in the third quarter as Tampa Bay led 24-10. He appeared animated while talking to teammate Mike Evans when he stripped off his towels, jersey, gloves, and t-shirt – tossing the gloves and t-shirt into the stands – then walked shirtless along from the touchline and in the end zone. He then motioned for fans to run into the end zone and the tunnel at MetLife Stadium.

It seemed like a display of frustration from Brown, who made three catches for 26 yards.

Brown was suspended for three games last month for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols. He also has a history of personal conduct issues and bizarre behavior.

Brady connected with Cameron Brate on a 4-yard touchdown pass shortly after Brown’s exit, and the QB ended the Bucs rally with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Cyril Grayson with 15 seconds left. .

The Bucs stuffed Jets QB Zach Wilson on the winless fourth and 2-7 with New York trying to seal the win, giving Brady and the Bucs the ball with 2:12 left.

It was more than enough time.

Brady walked the Buccaneers (12-4) onto the field in nine games, passing Grayson – who was high on the practice squad – for the go-ahead score. It was Brady’s third TD assist of the game and 40th of the season as he joined Drew Brees as the only players to have 40 touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

He finished 34 of 50 for 410 yards with an interception.

Le’Veon Bell ran in the 2-point conversion against his former team, forcing New York to need a touchdown. But the Jets (4-12) ran out of time.

The game featured the biggest age gap between starting quarterbacks since at least 1950, with Wilson, 22, taking on Brady, 44.

The Jets took a two touchdown lead on Ty Johnson’s 1-yard run that capped their first practice of the second half.

Following Brown’s exit and Brady’s TD to Brate, Ryan Succop kicked a 27-yard field goal to reduce New York’s lead to 24-20 with 7:36 to go.

New York took a dazzling 7-0 lead to cap off an impressive first drive. Wildcat running back Michael Carter – with Wilson behind the right guard – took the direct snap and returned it to wide receiver Braxton Berrios, who came in intact at the right end.

Carter ran for 55 yards early in practice to take the Jets to Buccaneers 12.

Brady and the Bucs walked the field for their first possession with Evans – back after missing last week’s game with a hamstring problem and spending time on the COVID-19 roster this week – catching a 4 yard touchdown pass on a fade to tie it to 7.

It was the seventh touchdown in opening practice this season for Tampa Bay.

Wilson, who was 19 of 33 for 234 yards and a touchdown, responded right away with Berrios capturing a short pass then diving into the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

It was an expensive 13-play, 74-yard run for the Jets as Carter (concussion) and left tackle George Fant (left knee) were injured and did not return.

Brady quickly brought the Buccaneers to the Jets 23 on 31-yard passes to Evans and 21 to Brown, but the New York defense stiffened and got the first save in the game’s third base. Tampa Bay was satisfied with a 39 yards from Succop to bring the score to 14-10.

Brandin Echols intercepted Brady in Tampa Bay’s last possession in the first half and returned him 30 yards to the Jets 48. New York turned him into points on Eddy Pineiro’s 51-yard basket with 1 second to play.


Brady, who improved to 31-8 against the Jets, tied Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers as the only player with three seasons of 40 or more touchdowns.

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