Zach Wilson, NY Jets, Buccaneers, Highlights
Zach Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images

New hope gave way to familiar heartbreak in the 2021-22 MetLife Stadium finale

  • New York Jets 24 (4-12)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28 (12-4)
  • NFL, Week 17,  Box Score
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

An afternoon full of hope—namely that of a good day from Zach Wilson—gave way to an all-too-familiar, heartbreaking ending.

Tom Brady capped off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ biggest comeback of the 2021-22 NFL season, finding Cyril Grayson for a 33-yard touchdown with 15 seconds remaining, a score that erased a 14-point deficit en route to a 28-24 win over the Jets.

New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2021-22, Week 17 Final
New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2021-22, Week 17 Final, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Brady, making his first appearance in East Rutherford as a member of the Buccaneers, earned his 30th win against the Jets this season. The Jets capped off their MetLife Stadium slate with a 3-6 record.

The Jets opened the game with a touchdown drive for the third consecutive contest and fourth time in the last five games. Mostly anchored by a 57-yard run from Michael Carter (who left after the run with a concussion), the drive ended with Braxton Berrios’ double-reverse score from one yard away.

True to his arguable GOAT form, Tom Brady was able to strike back immediately, going 75 yards in 13 plays, ending things with a four-yard score to Mike Evans.

Wilson kept things rolling on a seven-minute drive the next time around, allowing Berrios to earn the first multi-touchdown game of his career with a nine-yard connection.

Tampa was able to strike back on a Ryan Succop field and seemed poised to have another toward the end of the half, but a Brandin Echols interception (as well as Michael Carter II sack) allowed the Jets to get the ball back.

After a strong set-up between Wilson and Ty Johnson after Echols nearly took the ball to midfield, a 51-yard field goal from Eddy Pineiro gave the Jets a 17-10 lead at the halftime break.

The second half, alas, was defined by further silliness from Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown, who bizarrely removed his upper equipment and ran off to the Tampa locker room while a play was in progress. The embattled receiver was seen arguing with teammates before he excused himself from the affair.

Brown’s departure came shortly after Ty Johnson scored on a one-yard touchdown that extended the Jets’ lead to 24-10.

In what was perhaps no coincidence, the Buccaneers fought their way back into the game after Brown left, as Brady would find Cameron Brate for a four-yard touchdown that narrowed the gap to a single possession.

With the Jets unable to generate much offensive traction over the latter half-hour of game time, another short Succop field goal afforded Brady and friends one last opportunity for a game-winning drive, albeit with no timeouts to work with.

In a harsh kick-back to reality for Jets fans, it took Brady only 117 seconds of game time to waltz 93 yards for the game-winning score, with the nine-play drive capped off by a 33-yard score to Grayson, allowing him to secure his 30th victory over the Jets.

The Jets had a chance to swipe the victory back minutes before but failed to convert a two-yard fourth down deep in Buccaneers territory.

The Jets will wrap up their 2021-22 season next Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email: geoffmags90@gmail.com
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EagleFangFootball
EagleFangFootball
10 months ago

Saleh blew the game today in the end of the day he is the general of the football team they lead by his example and the team was not ready to win the game because they was not prepared that’s HC 101 right there blame OC’s all you want the OC is not the General its Robert Saleh and he himself needs to get better into year 2

Jets71
Jets71
10 months ago

I agree, it was a horrible play call. That’s on Saleh. They may not have made it anyway but Saleh is supposed to put the team in position to win. But…the team was badly out matched and the fact they had the opportunity to win is a credit to Saleh.

Jets71
Jets71
10 months ago

This is as much as can be expected of the group that was out there today. Quite honestly, I’m so tired of the Two Yard Tom Brady love fest. He was terrible today. Yes, one drive against a team with players they just signed a week or two ago. Please. All I heard all day was how Brady needed to work on getting familiar with his group. Who????? Mike Evans? Antonio Brown? Gronk? Cameron Brate? Ronald Jones? WHO????? Those guys have been with him, not to mention we heard how wonderful the entire Tampa OL has been together all year. PLEASE STOP. It’s gone beyond sensationalism now, it’s just obnoxious. Why is it I have to see still shots of Two Yard Tom holding trophies every game? Do we see that with Big Ben? Wilson? I’m watching tonight, I have YET to see a Rogers photo of him holding a trophy. I don’t need to see him warming up or looking at the scoreboard every single time the opposing team scores. The double standard is getting really bad. I heard how “he hates to lose against the clock” when he was crying like the poor sport that he is for getting a delay of game penalty. Everyone else, it’s DIVA behavior.

The Jets were good today, Zach played well, and he was missing all of his OL except one player. His top 3 WR’s were out of the game, he lost his starting RB during the game, and the backup RB is a guy who flips back and forth with the practice squad. The entire TE group is decimated. Why is ESPNquirer not talking at vomit levels how good Zach was without all his guys? The Jets had no pass rush with that group, it was only a matter of time before ANY QB scored today. They gave all they had, they just don’t have much right now. I will say this, they give you what they do have. It wasn’t heartbreaking for me. I’m excited.