The storybook career of Tom Brady added a few more must-read chapters on Sunday night.
In a fashion almost as cool as Brady himself, the Buccaneers quarterback found receiver Breshad Perriman for a game-winning touchdown to notch his 700th career passing TD (regular season and playoffs combined) and a thrilling 33-27 overtime win against the Bills.
It marked just the second time in Brady's career (Week 7, 2003) that he's tossed the deciding score in OT.
"It's pretty rare, you know? But it was very cool," Brady told reporters. "I'd much rather not have it come down to that, but, in the end, they all count the same, you know? And we got to learn from it and we got to move on and, obviously, we're playing for a division championship next week which is pretty exciting for all of us."
For much of Sunday's affair, Brady and the Bucs were in control against one of the league's best defenses, jumping out to a 24-3 lead going into halftime. But a second-half surge by Josh Allen and the Bills' high-powered offense evened things at 27 just as regulation ended.
After Tampa's defense came away with a crucial stop, Brady and Co. took the field once again with 8:48 on the clock. Seven plays into a drive that saw Brady find Chris Godwin for a gain of six and Rob Gronkowski for a big 14-yard chunk play, the veteran calmly stepped into his throw like a closer on the pitcher's mound and connected with Perriman on a five-yard strike. And 53 yards later, the game was over.
The completion was Brady's 31st of the evening, widening the gap he forged earlier in the game when he passed Drew Brees for the most completions in NFL history. He needed 18 to set the new mark; he now has 7,156 completions to his name.
"I don't think about those things," said Brady when asked what he's going to do with his latest record-setting paraphernalia. "People kind of tell me they happen, that's pretty cool. I keep some jerseys and stuff like that but yeah it's pretty neat. It's just amazing to have so many people share in all those great accomplishments that, obviously, to me, I feel like they're all team awards anyway so anyone who ever caught a touchdown pass, they're part of something pretty cool in NFL history, anyone that had a completion for that matter. And, obviously, the guys that came before me doing it like Dan Marino and Peyton [Manning] and Drew and some other incredible players that I always looked up to. So, this is a great moment."
On a night where Brady also broke a tie with Brees for the second-most seasons with 4,000-plus yards passing (12), the 44-year-old enters Week 15 looking as sharp as ever as the leader of a team that can clinch the NFC South title.
No player has ever been as successful at the position as Brady and it'll be a long time before we ever see anything like it again. Young lions still eager to take down the G.O.A.T. will have to keep waiting for a letdown that's yet to materialize.