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Tom Brady saves another one for Bucs with two late touchdowns to beat Saints

Tom Brady connected with a pair of Tampa Bay rookies, Cade Otton (above) and Rachaad White, to get the Buccaneers to 6-6.Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final three minutes Monday night, helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rally from a 13-point deficit to beat the New Orleans Saints, 17-16, and tighten their grip on first place in the weak NFC South.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion tossed a 1-yard TD pass to rookie Cade Otton, finishing a 91-yard drive to pull within 16-10 with exactly three minutes remaining. He got the ball back with 2:29 to go, then won it with a 6-yard throw to another rookie, Rachaad White, with three seconds left.

It was Brady’s 44th victory in a game his team trailed in the fourth quarter, passing Peyton Manning for the most all-time.


Andy Dalton threw for 225 yards and a touchdown without an interception for New Orleans, but the Saints ultimately paid for having to settle for three field goals by Wil Lutz on drives deep into Bucs territory.

The Bucs (6-6) extended their division lead on the Atlanta Falcons to 1½ games. The last-place Saints (4-9) missed out on an opportunity to pull into a tie for second. None of the four teams in the NFC South has a winning record.

Brady, who before the game exchanged greetings with the biggest prize on this winter’s baseball free agent market, AL MVP Aaron Judge, finished 36 of 54 for 281 yards and two touchdowns.

Brady was fired up after Monday's win over the Saints.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Judge was on the sidelines before the game — posing for pictures, signing autographs and wearing a Mike Evans No. 13 Buccaneers jersey. The team also tweeted a short video of Brady greeting the slugger, who has an offseason home in Tampa, where the New York Yankees hold spring training.

A week after being shutout for the first time in 332 games, the Saints built a 10-3 halftime lead on Dalton’s 30-yard scoring pass to Taysom Hill and a 38-yard field goal set up by just the third interception Brady has thrown all season.


Demario Davis’ pick was also only the eighth takeaway by the New Orleans defense — by far a league-low — in 13 games. Defensive end Cameron Jordan later forced a fumble that the Saints turned into a 12-play, 7-minute, 20-second drive that Lutz finished with a 21-yard field goal, making it 13-3 late in the third quarter.

Tampa travels to San Francisco next Sunday.