After a weird, shirtless escape off the field, Antonio Brown was thrown off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Tom Brady calmly guided the Bucs on a 93-yard drive in the dying minutes for a 28-24 win against the New York Jets on Sunday.
After the game, coach Bruce Arians announced that Brown had been released from the club.
“He’s no longer a Buc,” Arians said emphatically.
With Tampa Bay behind 24-10 late in the third quarter, Brown had a mid-game meltdown. When he took off his pads, jersey, gloves, and T-shirt — threw the gloves and T-shirt into the seats — and strolled bare-chested down the sideline and into the end zone, he seemed enthused while chatting to teammate Mike Evans. He then ran into the end zone and into the tunnel at MetLife Stadium, waving to supporters.
Brown, who had three receptions for 26 yards, looked to be frustrated with the situation.
Brown received a three-game suspension last month for breaching the league’s COVID-19 procedures. He also has a history of strange behavior and personal conduct difficulties.
Soon after Brown’s departure, Brady connected with Cameron Brate for a score on fourth-and-goal from the 4, and the quarterback capped the Bucs’ comeback with a 33-yard touchdown throw to Cyril Grayson with 15 seconds remaining.
With 2:12 remained in the game, the Bucs stuffed Jets QB Josh McCown on fourth-and-2 at the 7 for no gain, giving Brady and the Bucs the ball back.
There was plenty of time.
Brady led the Buccaneers (12-4) down the field in nine plays, including a touchdown throw to Grayson, who was promoted from the practice squad. It was Brady’s third touchdown pass of the game and his 40th of the season, making him the first quarterback to throw for 40 touchdowns in consecutive seasons, along with Drew Brees.
Tampa Bay got Arians back after he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in the week. He completed 34 of 50 for 410 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.
Against his old club, Le’Veon Bell ran in the 2-point conversion, forcing New York to need a touchdown. The Jets (4-12) however, ran out of time.
With the 22-year-old Wilson against the 44-year-old Brady, the game had the widest age disparity between starting quarterbacks since at least 1950.
Ty Johnson’s 1-yard run concluded the Jets’ first possession of the second half, giving them a two-touchdown lead.
With 7:36 remaining, Ryan Succop made a 27-yard field goal to trim New York’s lead to 24-20 after Brown’s departure and Brady’s touchdown pass to Brate.
On a razzle-dazzle play, New York seized a 7-0 lead to finish an excellent first drive. With Wilson behind the right guard, running back Michael Carter lined up in the wildcat and took the direct snap, flipping it to wide receiver Braxton Berrios, who ran in untouched around the right end.
Carter got the Jets to the Buccaneers’ 12 yard line early in the drive with a 55-yard run.
Brady and the Bucs drove down the field on their first drive, with Evans collecting a 4-yard touchdown throw on a fade to tie the game at 7. Evans was back after missing last week’s game with a hamstring ailment and spending time on the COVID-19 list this week.
It was Tampa Bay’s fifth opening-drive touchdown this season.
Berrios caught a short ball and then dived into the end zone for a 9-yard score and a 14-7 lead. Wilson was 19 of 33 for 234 yards and a touchdown.
Carter (concussion) and left tackle George Fant (left knee) were both hurt and did not return during the Jets’ 13-play, 74-yard drive.
Brady swiftly moved the Buccaneers to the Jets’ 23-yard line with 31-yard throws to Evans and 21-yard passes to Brown, but New York’s defense stiffened and forced the game’s first third-down stop. Succop’s 39-yard field goal made it 14-10 for Tampa Bay.
On Tampa Bay’s last drive of the first half, Brandin Echols intercepted Brady and returned it 30 yards to the Jets’ 48. With 1 second remaining, Eddy Pineiro’s 51-yard field goal gave New York the lead.
Brady’s record versus the Jets increased to 31-8, and he joined Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers as the only players with three seasons of 40 or more touchdown passes.
After exiting in the second half, running back Ronald Jones (ankle) and defensive back Rashard Robinson (groin) did not return.
In addition to Carter and Fant, TE Dan Brown exited with a hip injury in the second quarter and did not return.
Antonio Brown’s shenanigans raised their ugly heads once again on Sunday, costing him his job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In the midst of the third quarter, with his team behind the New York Jets, the Buccaneers wide receiver removed his jersey, pads, and more before exiting the field of play topless, less than two weeks after the completion of his three-game ban for using a counterfeit COVID-19 immunization card.
Brown will not be a member of the team in the future, according to coach Bruce Arians.
He informed reporters after the game, “He is no longer a Buc.” “And with that, the narrative comes to a close.”
When asked for further details regarding the event, Arians refused to discuss Brown and said that he was no longer a member of the Buccaneers.
Before removing his jersey, Brown chatted with wide receiver Mike Evans. As Brown stripped, Buccaneers employees and others on the sideline looked perplexed. Brown then performed jumping jacks and hurled his undershirt into the MetLife Stadium crowd before pointing to the end zone supporters on his way to the tunnel.
Brown’s availability for the remainder of the game was not immediately confirmed by the Buccaneers.
Brown has a lengthy history of feuds with his former teams, having resolved a sexual harassment allegation. Arians said when he signed the troublesome wideout last season that Brown would be on a limited leash.
Following Brown’s suspension, Arians and the Buccaneers welcomed him back to help a hurt receiving corps.
Last week, Arians told NBC Sports, “We were talking about prior experiences with Antonio.” “He was a model citizen when he returned to us. There was a new chapter in history. I admired how he attempted to fit in, fought his way in, and gave us all he had in order for us to attend the Super Bowl. My whole perspective on him shifted. I watched him attempting to be a better person.”
Brown was not benched, according to Arians, and the receiver did not join the game when he was ordered to.
“In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Arians, 69, remarked.
Tom Brady, who has been a vocal supporter of Brown in the past, targeted him five times on Sunday. Brown had three receptions for 26 yards after catching 10 passes for 101 yards the week before.
“That is, without a doubt, a challenging scenario. I believe we all want him to – and I believe everyone should seek out – and hopefully do what they can to assist him in the areas where he is most in need “After the game, Brady stated. “We all adore him and are very concerned about his well-being. We want to see him perform at his highest level. Unfortunately, it will not be a member of our team. We have a lot of long-lasting friendships… I believe that everyone should be sensitive and empathetic in the face of some really painful events.”
Brown’s teammate with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the start of their careers, Le’Veon Bell, claimed after the game that he contacted Brown.
The running back told reporters, “Obviously, some horrible decision-making at times.”
Brady led the Buccaneers on a last-minute drive with no timeouts to grab the lead and seal a memorable comeback win, 28-24, without Brown.
Read of other such sports happenings in American Football at Sports Here