Tampa Bay Buccaneers Clinch NFC South

Despite a frustrating season, despite offensive struggles, despite endless mistakes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to the playoffs. With their 30-24 win over the Carolina Panthers, the Bucs have clinched the NFC South, guaranteeing them the number four seed and a home playoff game. It wasn't easy. The Bucs trailed 14-0 early in the game and 21-10 in the fourth quarter. They shot themselves in the foot repeatedly, missing two field goals and fumbling away a promising drive on a third down conversion deep in Panthers territory. For three quarters, it was the same bumbling Bucs team fans have endured for much of the 2022 season.

But then there was Tom Brady. The GOAT had his best game of the season today, relentlessly dissecting the Panthers with pinpoint passes and downfield bombs for a colossal 432 passing yards. He routinely punished defensive backs for underestimating wide receiver Mike Evans, completing 10 passes to the four-time Pro Bowler for 207 yards, including touchdown bombs of 63, 57, and 30 yards. It was a banner day for the Bucs' biggest stars.

Much to the chagrin of the rest of the NFL, the Bucs offense may have finally broken through and reestablished the potency that led them to the most points in the league from 2020 to 2021 and made them Super Bowl LV champions. Mediocre division winners have done plenty of damage in the postseason before. The 9-7 2011 New York Giants won the Super Bowl. The 9-7 2008 Arizona Cardinals won the NFC.

With the win, Brady finds himself in the postseason for an astonishing 20th time, five more times than any other quarterback in NFL history. Time will tell if he can find some other way to add to his legacy in the coming weeks.
Photo Credit: © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports