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Brady and Evans set franchise single-season records as Bucs end 12-season playoff drought

Brady threw for four TDs to different receivers, bringing his season total to a record 36, and was then rested for the second half.

The 43-year-old Tom Brady is heading back to the playoffs.
The 43-year-old Tom Brady is heading back to the playoffs.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

THE TAMPA BAY Buccaneers ended their 12-year absence from the NFL post-season as they battered the Detroit Lions 47-7 to move to 10-5 and seal their playoff spot.

The game at Ford Field was ostensibly over within two Tampa possesions, after which they led 13-0 and between which Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford left the game with a sprained ankle.

Tom Brady played just the opening half but still threw four touchdowns to different receivers, the 43-year-old finishing 22 of 27 for 348 yards.

With 36 touchdown passes this season, Brady broke the Bucs’ single-season record of 33 — which was set just last season by Jameis Winston.

Wide receiver Mike Evans re-set his franchise single-season record for touchdown receptions, his two on the day bringing him to 13 on the season.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski also caught two TDs while wide-outs Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown grabbed one apiece.

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Brady’s backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw two scoring passes upon his introduction, linking up with Gronkowski for a 25-yard TD on his very first attempt.

Running back Leonard Fournette, who split the rushing load with rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn, added a six-pointer on the ground.

The Lions’ sole response came via Jamal Agnew’s 74-yard punt return and the point after, meaning the Bus’ defence didn’t concede a single score — albeit Stafford’s absence was a major caveat.

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