By Alasdair Howorth, CNN
In the post-match press conference, the quarterback responded sharply to a question about his arm saying, “I’ll be alright. It’s football.“
Despite a strong performance from the seven-time Super Bowl winner, it was his opposite number, Patrick Mahomes, who came away with the win after another dazzling performance. The Chiefs quarterback went 23-for-37 for 249 yards and three touchdowns against one of the league’s best defenses.
The game was played in front of a sold out Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, just four days after Hurricane Ian devastated Florida, and the fans were treated to a thrilling encounter.
Following a Bucs’ fumble on the opening kickoff, Mahomes threw his first touchdown in the second play of the game, finding tight end Travis Kelce who hurdled a tackle to cross the goal line.
The Chiefs didn’t let up, going 79 yards in 12 plays before Clyde Edwards-Helaire made a three-yard run to put the away team 14-3 up.
On the next drive, Mahomes showcased his superstar status with a highlight-reel touchdown. The 27-year-old evaded a couple of tackles before flicking the ball into the endzone for Edwards-Helaire to score his second touchdown of the evening.
“I was able to use my speed, my little bit of speed, to get around the edge there. I was gonna run for it, but they kind of flew around me,” Mahomes said. “I realized I wasn’t going to make it and I saw Clyde, so I kind of flicked it up to him.”
Brady hit back in the second quarter with his own touchdown, finding Mike Evans on a 13-yard pass, but it was a play late in the half which had the Bucs faithful worried about their QB.
Tampa Bay had a 1st-and-10 play at its own 34 with 5:09 on the clock in the second quarter when Brady was strip-sacked by Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.
Brady immediately grabbed his upper arm after being hit by Sneed and was visibly struggling. After sitting on the bench, he went to the sideline to throw some passes alongside backup Blaine Gabbert, but no injury designation was announced and Brady returned to play following another Chiefs touchdown.
The 45-year-old didn’t seem fazed once he returned to action and threw another touchdown pass to Evans with just 10 seconds left on the clock to close the halftime deficit, 28-17.
Brady and Mahomes traded second-half touchdown throws, but the Bucs were unable to mount a comeback despite the defense limiting the Chiefs to 13 second-half points as the game finished 41-31.
Despite Mahomes earning the post-game plaudits, it was Brady who had the better statline, going 39-for-52 for three touchdowns and a season-high 385 yards. Despite his superb game, Brady is now 1-2 against his quarterback rival since moving down to Florida in 2020.
The loss didn’t stop the seven-time Super Bowl winner from praising his rival in the post-game, “I love seeing Patrick play. Unfortunately, we’re on the wrong end of it tonight.”
Despite the arm injury scare, Brady will be hoping to start against the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday, continuing a remarkable run of appearances.
The quarterback has started 37 in a row for his current team and 97 consecutive games in total, a run extending back to 2016 when he was with the New England Patriots.
The defeat at the hands of the Chiefs leaves the Bucs with a 2-2 record, but still on top of the NFC South thanks to their 1-0 record in divisional games.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs, who are now 3-1 and lead the AFC West, will take on the Las Vegas Raiders back in Kansas City.
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