When his team falls behind in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady is almost inevitable.
Brady had lost 13 points to the New Orleans Saints in the closing minutes and led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an unlikely 17-16 Monday Night Football win.
In doing so, he overtook Peyton Manning for the most fourth-quarter comebacks (44) in NFL history.
The win was exceptional even by Brady’s standards and reportedly marked the biggest regular-season comeback in the fourth quarter of his career ESPN.
“Just like we thought it would be,” was the 45-year-old’s response when he arrived at the post-game press conference, causing a roar of laughter from those present.
The comeback started with 5:21 left as Brady led the Bucs on a 10-play drive that ended when he found Cade Otton on a one-yard touchdown pass.
That put Tampa Bay within six points before Brady orchestrated an 11-play win that won the game and found Rachaad White for the touchdown with three seconds left.
Ryan Succop’s extra point made the difference between the two teams, taking the Bucs 6-6 at the top of the NFC South for the season while the Saints fell to 4-9.
Brady finished night 36 of 54 with a 281-yard pass and later dedicated the win to his daughter Vivian, who celebrated her 10th birthday on Monday.
After announcing his retirement earlier this year only to have the decision reversed, the win was proof the seven-time Super Bowl champion isn’t done on the football field.
“We’ve got a lot of games to the end, some we’ve won, some we’ve lost, that’s why we’re 6-6,” Brady told reporters. “It’s not where we want to be, but we will keep fighting.”
It was a frustrating night for the Saints against their divisional rivals at Raymond James Stadium.
Quarterback Andy Dalton was 20 of 28 for 229 yards and a touchdown, which came when he connected with Taysom Hill in the second quarter. Otherwise they were limited to three field goals by Wil Lutz.
“I feel like a broken record that keeps saying the same thing,” Dalton said. “We simply missed opportunities.”
Coach Dennis Allen shared Dalton’s frustration: “We gave ourselves every chance and didn’t make it… I felt like we had a chance to win that game and we didn’t make it,” he said.
New Orleans bids farewell this weekend and meets the Atlanta Falcons on December 18, while Tampa Bay plays the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.