Final, Patriots 19-14: Jameis Winston’s pass into the end zone fell incomplete as time expired, and that will do it. The Patriots improve to 3-2 on the season after prevailing in an ugly, penalty-filled contest on “Thursday Night Football.”
Next up for the Patriots is a road date with the New York Jets next Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Fourth quarter, 1:10, Patriots 19-14: Stephen Gostkowski padded the Patriots’ lead with a 48-yard field goal. The Buccaneers will get the ball back down five with no timeouts remaining.
Fourth quarter, 2:09, Patriots 16-14: And just like that, the Patriots’ lead is down to two.
Jameis Winston marched the Bucs on a nine-play, 74-yard scoring drive, capping it off with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Brate.
The Patriots will get the ball back in prime field position, however, after Nate Ebner recovered Nick Folk’s unsuccessful onside kick.
Fourth quarter, 4:26, Patriots 16-7: Oh man, Nick Folk.
Shortly after DeSean Jackson raced down the field on a 41-yard catch-and-run, Folk missed his third (third!) field goal of the night, this one from 31 yards out. A successful kick would have made this a one-possession game.
The Patriots responded by going three-and-out, giving the ball back to the Bucs.
Fourth quarter, 10:40, Patriots 16-7: After picking up two first downs, the Patriots chose not to attempt a 52-yard field goal. Instead, they punted on fourth-and-12, and Ryan Allen pinned the Buccaneers at their own 3-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 14:14, Patriots 16-7: The Buccaneers still have a kicker problem.
Nick Folk missed his second field goal of the night, this one from 49 yards out. Neither kick has been a gimme — his first was from 56 — but Folk hasn’t been close on either.
The Bucs were forced to call on Folk after Devin McCourty make a tackle behind the line of second-and-2 and Elandon Roberts followed suit on third down. Huge plays from a Patriots defense that has looked far better tonight that it did in the first four weeks of the season.
Third quarter, 3:18, Patriots 16-7: Tom Brady continues to take a beating. The latest hit he absorbed resulted in a Patriots turnover.
Adarius Glanton sped around the left edge and buries the 40-year-old quarterback, knocking the ball loose and ending a promising Patriots drive. Will Clarke recovered, and Tampa Bay took over.
New England was called for two more penalties during the seven-play drive, upping their total to 12.
Third quarter, 9:55, Patriots 16-7: The Patriots appeared to have the Buccaneers stopped for yet another three-and-out, but an encroachment penalty on Brandon Bolden on fourth-and-3 gave Tampa Bay new life.
The Bucs ultimately punted four plays later, but Bolden’s miscue was another dumb penalty in a game full of them for the Patriots. Their 10 penalties so far are a season high.
Patrick Chung, who’s having perhaps his best game of the season, broke up a pass intended for Cameron Brate on third down to force a punt.
Third quarter, 9:55, Patriots 16-7: This might have been the best pass Tom Brady has thrown all night:
Brandin Cooks committed an illegal block in the back penalty two plays later, however, and after Brady nearly was picked off on second down and had a pass batted down at the line, the Patriots settled for Stephen Gostkowski’s third field goal of the night.
Brady’s near-pick, which came on a pass intended for fullback James Develin, ended his streak of consecutive completions at 13.
Third quarter, 13:20, Patriots 13-7: The Bucs went three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half. They have yet to convert on third down tonight (0-for-5).
DeSean Jackson had a step on Malcolm Butler on third down, but Jameis Winston overthrew him.
Halftime, Patriots 13-7: The Patriots committed two boneheaded penalties in the final moments of the first half to bring the Bucs into field goal range, but Nick Folk bailed them out by missing a 56-yarder as time expired.
Deatrich Wise and Cassius Marsh were flagged for roughing the passer on back-to-back plays, making the end of the second quarter far more dramatic than it should have been. Expect both to get an earful from Bill Belichick at halftime.
Malcolm Butler and DeSean Jackson also were involved in a post-whistle scrap earlier in the drive — one that stunningly did not result in any penalties on either side.
Tom Brady was perfect in the second quarter, completing all 10 of his passes for 100 yards.
Tampa Bay will get the ball first after halftime.
Second quarter, 0:40, Patriots 13-7: Tom Brady found Danny Amendola for another third-down conversion — a 10-yard pickup on third-and-2 — but the Patriots could not find the end zone despite taking over deep in Bucs territory.
Stephen Gostkowski’s second field goal of the night stretched New England’s lead to six points.
Second quarter, 2:13, Patriots 10-7: Nothing doing for the Bucs on their latest drive, which results in a three-and-out. That gives the Patriots more than enough time to put some more points on the board before halftime.
Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy teamed up to sack Jameis Winston on first down, and Winston threw a wild pass on third down that nearly was intercepted by Duron Harmon.
A 40-yard punt return by Danny Amendola, coupled with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Tampa Bay, gave the Patriots prime field position at the Bucs’ 27-yard line.
Second quarter, 3:42, Patriots 10-7: A strong statement drive by the Patriots ended in Chris Hogan’s team-leading fifth touchdown catch of the season.
The Patriots faced a second-and-24 thanks to an illegal block by Nate Solder, but Tom Brady responded with a 19-yard completion to Brandin Cooks, a 10-yarder to Danny Amendola and a beautiful 24-yarder to James White on the next three plays.
After a 7-yard pass to Amendola and two short Mike Gillislee runs, Brady found Hogan just over the goal line for a 5-yard score that New England back in the lead.
Brady didn’t miss on the drive, going a perfect 7-for 7 for 84 yards. Hogan’s five receiving touchdowns this season are a new career high for the 28-year-old wideout.
Second quarter, 8:27, Buccaneers 7-3: Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but an illegal use of hands penalty by the Patriots on third down extended an opposing drive.
Stephon Gilmore found himself in that situation twice last week against the Panthers. This time, it was Deatrich Wise, whose penalty negated an incompletion on third-and-20.
The Patriots’ penchant for allowing big gains returned on this drive, as the Bucs ripped off four plays of 10 or more yards. Doug Martin, who looks great in his first game back from suspension, did most of the heavy lifting, and he capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
The Bucs also withstood two penalties on rookie tight end O.J. Howard, one for an illegal block and one for a hold.
Martin has 55 yards on seven carries thus far, and the Patriots trail for the first time tonight.
Second quarter, 13:38, Patriots 3-0: The teams traded three-and-outs, with Tom Brady being sacked on third down to end New England’s series.
Mike Gillislee failed to pick up a first down on second-and-1, and Bucs star defensive lineman Gerald McCoy got to Brady the following play.
First quarter, 1:21, Patriots 3-0: A season-long 31-yard run by Dion Lewis set the Patriots up in the red zone, but New England was forced to settle for a field goal.
A 12-yard pass to Brandin Cooks on third-and-7 extended the drive, which began on the Patriots’ own 2-yard line, and Jacob Hollister drew a defensive holding call on another third down to move the chains again.
Though they only got three points out of it, this easily was the Patriots’ most productive possession of the evening.
First quarter, 8:31, 0-0: Another strong effort by the Patriots’ defense, which forced another Bucs punt.
After Jameis Winston hit Mike Evans for 10 yards on first down and Doug Martin slashed through the line for 8 yards on the following play, Adam Butler marauded into the backfield to drop Martin 1 yard deep, and Winston missed Martin with a pass on third down.
It’ll be Patriots ball at their own 2-yard line after an excellent punt by Bryan Anger.
First quarter, 10:32, 0-0: The ball is changing hands quickly so far tonight.
The Patriots went three-and-out on their second possession, with Tom Brady completing just one of three passes. Brandin Cooks had a bad drop on third down to bring the punting unit out.
Patriots play distribution thus far: eight passes, zero runs.
First quarter, 11:28, 0-0: Tom Brady’s miscue did not end up costing the Patriots, who held the Buccaneers to one first down and nothing more the ensuing drive.
Trey Flowers stuffed running back Jacquizz Rodgers on Tampa Bay’s second play, and Stephon Gilmore had tight coverage on Mike Evans on third down, helping force an incompletion.
One personnel note: Dont’a Hightower lined up both at linebacker and on the edge during that series, something we didn’t see from the Patriots co-captain last week.
First quarter, 12:57, 0-0: Man, that was ugly. And no, we’re not talking about these Color Rush uniforms.
After completing passes on the Patriots’ first four snaps, Tom Brady sailed a throw well over the head of a wide-open Chris Hogan. The ball ended up in the hands of Buccaneers safety Justin Evans — Brady’s first interception of the season.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Buccaneers won the opening coin toss and elected to defer. It’ll be Patriots ball as we get underway at Raymond James Stadium.
7:35 p.m.: Miss our NESN.com Patriots pregame show? Don’t fret. You can catch the full replay right here:
7:17 p.m.: Here’s a look at the Patriots’ Color Rush uniforms in action. They are … very white.
6:57 p.m.: Rob Gronkowski officially will be inactive tonight, as will Rex Burkhead, Eric Rowe, Alan Branch, Cole Corston, Harvey Langi and LaAdrian Waddle.
Notable active Patriots include special teams captain Matthew Slater, who is making his regular-season debut, and linebacker David Harris, who was a healthy scratch last week. Stephon Gilmore and Elandon Roberts both are active, as well.
Tampa Bay’s inactives include starting linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David, safety T.J. Ward and former Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga.
6:47 p.m.: It sounds like Gilmore and Roberts both will play tonight.
6:20 p.m.: Cornerback Stephon Gilmore and linebacker Elandon Roberts warmed up with trainers after arriving at Raymond James Stadium, according to reporters on the scene. That likely means both are game-time decisions tonight.
Both are listed as questionable with ankle injuries.
5:33 p.m.: The Rob Gronkowski situation devolved quickly. He now is not expected to play tonight, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Time to step up, Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister.
5:20 p.m.: A troubling update on tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is listed as questionable for tonight’s game with a thigh injury:
Gronkowski has been one of the Patriots’ top receiving threats this season. Despite leaving New England’s Week 2 win over the New Orleans Saints with a groin injury, he ranks second on the team with 20 catches and leads all Patriots pass-catchers with 318 receiving yards this season.
If Gronkowski cannot go, expect to see more of Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister tonight. Hollister, an undrafted rookie, has just two catches on three targets this season, and Allen has yet to catch his first pass in a Patriots uniform.
4:19 p.m.: The Patriots aren’t playing up to their potential this season, but they will have history on their side tonight.
Will Brinson of CBS Sports earlier today shared some very interesting stats regarding how the Patriots fare in road games that follow a home loss:
“Now let’s look at just road games following a loss at home. Since Brady took over in 2001, the Patriots are an astounding 15-0 in games on the road following a home loss. They’ve never lost! They are 13-2 against the spread on the road following a home loss, which might be even more impressive.
“And one of the times they didn’t cover was in 2008, when Matt Cassel was the quarterback, after Brady blew out his ACL in the Week 1 game against the Chiefs. With Tom Brady at quarterback, the Patriots are 12-0 straight up on the road after a home loss and a stunning 11-1 against the spread on the road following a home loss.”
Yeah, that’s pretty good.
11:36 a.m.: Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch did not make the trip to Tampa and will be a healthy scratch tonight, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss.
Branch’s regression has been one of the biggest surprises of this Patriots season. After being one of New England’s best defensive players in 2016, the 32-year-old hardly has played through four games, logging just six snaps in Week 2 and 12 in Week 4. That drop in playing time came after he struggled mightily against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1.
We now know three of tonight’s Patriots inactives: Branch, Eric Rowe and Rex Burkhead. We’ll find out who the other four are around 7 p.m. ET.
10 a.m. ET: The New England Patriots didn’t have much time to dwell on their last-second loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. They’re back in action tonight, visiting the 2-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on “Thursday Night Football.”
The Patriots, who currently sit at 2-2, have not lost a non-Week 1 Thursday night game since 2008. They also have not visited Tampa Bay during the regular season since quarterback Tom Brady entered the league in 2000, as their last “road” game against the Bucs was played in London in 2009.
New England will be without running back Rex Burkhead (ribs) and cornerback Eric Rowe (groin), both of whom have been ruled out for this contest. Losing Rowe is a tough blow to the Patriots’ already-struggling secondary, which experienced numerous communication breakdowns against the Panthers.
Seven other Patriots players are listed as questionable, including tight end Rob Gronkowski (thigh) and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (ankle). Gronkowski, who was added to the injury report Wednesday, is expected to play but could be limited, according to a report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Both teams will wear “Color Rush” uniforms, with the Patriots suiting up in all white and the Bucs donning all red.
Pats-Bucs, which is set to kick off at 8:25 p.m. ET, will cap a highly eventful day in Boston sports. The Red Sox and Houston Astros will play Game 1 of the American League Division Series at 4:08 p.m., and the Bruins will open their regular season against the Nashville Predators at 7 p.m.
NESN.com will have full pregame coverage of all three games, and be sure to check back here throughout the day for up-to-the-minute Patriots updates.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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