Tom Brady Credit: Bill Moore photo

For much of last Sunday’s game, the New York Jets played the way the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were expected to play. The Jets were 4-11 coming into the early afternoon matchup while the Buccaneers were 11-4 and had already clinched the NFC South division.

It was the first meeting between Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and Tom Brady. Wilson and Brady were both born on Aug. 3. Brady in 1977 and Wilson 1999, a difference of 22 years, 21 seasons, 7 Super Bowls, and 4 points. The 4 points being Tampa Bay’s 28-24 win.

But there was a role reversal for the teams for nearly four full quarters. The Jets led 17-10 at halftime and 24-17 going into the fourth quarter. Then Brady did what Brady does. Up 24-21, the Jets attempted a quarterback sneak with Wilson late in the final quarter on fourth-and-2 for no gain on the Buccaneers’ 7-yard line giving the ball back to Brady.

He then took his team on a 9-play, 93-yard drive, ending with a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Cyril Grayson. Wilson battled Tampa’s defense, led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, going 19-of-33 for 234 yards and a touchdown. Brady went 34-50 for 410 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Brady’s third touchdown pass on Sunday was his 40th of the season, the second consecutive regular season he has reached that mark. He finished with exactly 40 a year ago. It came on a day when Tampa Bay’s ultra talented but troubled wide receiver, Antonio
Brown, shockingly took off his jersey and shoulder pads late in the third quarter while standing on the Buccaneers sideline, threw parts of his uniform into the MetLife Stadium stands, and inexplicably jogged off of the field into the tunnel waving his arms to the crowd.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re going to be talking about the last sequence of events there,” said Jet head coach Robert Saleh, back on the sidelines this week after sitting out last week’s game due to COVID protocols. “I thought our guys were outstanding today. They deserved better.”

The Jets play their final game of the season on the road Sunday afternoon versus the AFC East leading Buffalo Bills, concluding the league’s first 17-game season.

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