Tom Brady and Bucs win the NFC South title, the team’s first since 2007
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Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the first NFC South Division title since 2007 on Sunday.
The Buccaneers routed the Carolina Panthers, 32-6, for their third straight victory over Carolina.
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Brady bounced back from a horrific game last week. He finished 18 for 30 with 232 passing yards and a touchdown pass to Cameron Brate with 1:22 remaining in the second quarter. Brady found Brate for a 4-yard touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Ronald Jones II each scored a touchdown.
Vaughn scored on a 55-yard rush in the first quarter. It was the first score of the Tampa Bay game, and the Bucs never gave up on the lead. The second-year running back finished with 70 yards on seven carries.
Jones, who carried 20 times for 65 yards, scored on a 7-yard rush with 2:08 left in the third.
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Antonio Brown was playing his first game since being suspended for using a fake vaccine card to circumvent NFL health and safety protocols and had 10 catches for 101 yards.
Sam Darnold made his return to the Panthers but didn’t provide many sparks for the offense. He finished 15-for-32 with 190 yards. Cam Newton played a bit too, finishing with 61 passing yards and an interception. He also led the team in rushing yards with 42 yards.
Panthers wide receiver Shi Smith had three catches for 86 yards.
The Buccaneers improved to 11-4 and the Panthers fell to 5-9.
Tampa Bay and Carolina will meet again on January 9 to conclude the 2021 regular season.
Tampa Bay is now chasing the No.1 seed. The team won a wild card offer last season and didn’t play a home game in the playoffs – until the Super Bowl. With the divisional victory, the team will have at least one home playoff game in the coming weeks.
Last season, the Buccaneers lost a division title to the New Orleans Saints, but ended up winning the Super Bowl.
In 2007, the team won the division title with a 9-7 behind head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Jeff Garcia.
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The 2007 team lost in the wildcard playoff round.
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