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Buccaneers vs. Washington live score, updates, highlights from NFL wild-card playoff game

Taylor Heinicke filled in spectacularly at quarterback for the Washington Football Team in Saturday’s NFC wild-card matchup with the Buccaneers, starting on short notice with Alex Smith ruled out because of a calf injury.

Tampa Bay escaped with a 31-23 win, but he left the field as the primary talking point.

Heinicke had thrown just 77 career NFL passes entering the contest. He opposed perhaps the greatest passer of all time in Tom Brady. He stayed sharp, though, throwing for 306 yards and accounting for two total touchdowns. He had a chance to lead the type of late game-tying drive Brady is famous for but couldn’t complete a fourth-and-21 heave intended for tight end Logan Thomas.

MORE: Who is Taylor Heinicke?

The Buccaneers likely expected an easier outcome given Washington’s 7-9 regular-season record and uncertainty under center. Still, a winning performance in Brady’s first playoff appearance since leaving New England is cause for celebration, particularly when Tampa Bay hadn’t won a postseason contest since 2002.

Brady completed 22 of 40 passes for 381 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Leonard Fournette, taking on an increased role following an injury to Ronald Jones Jr., added a score on the ground.

Sporting News tracked live scoring updates and highlights from the Buccaneers vs. Washington wild-card matchup. Follow for complete results from the 2021 NFL playoff game.

MORE: Watch NFL playoff games live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Buccaneers vs. Washington final score

 Q1Q2Q3Q4Final 
Buccaneers9901331
Washington079723

Buccaneers vs. Washington live updates, highlights

Final: Buccaneers 31, Washington Football Team 23

11:32 p.m. Heinicke evades pressure and targets Thomas with a jump ball throw, but it’s batted away. That’s game over, as the Buccaneers can kneel now.

11:31 p.m.: Tampa Bay forces a fourth-and-21. With no timeouts left, Washington needs this one.

11:28 p.m.: And another first! 

11:27 p.m.: Quick 17-yard first down for Washington.

11:24 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Buccaneers. Washington holds Tampa Bay to a field goal, giving Heinicke a chance to lead a game-tying drive with 2:49 left. 31-23, Tampa Bay.

11:23 p.m.: Chase Young is on the sideline for third-and-18 with an apparent leg injury.

11:21 p.m.: Washington takes its second timeout with 3:46 remaining. Tampa Bay has second down upcoming.

11:12 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Washington. Steven Sims hauls in a TD with 4:51 remaining. 28-23, Tampa Bay.

11:06 p.m.: Diversion! Heinicke comes in after all. It had looked as if he would remain on the bench.

11:02 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Buccaneers. Fournette gives his team breathing room. Heinicke, meanwhile, will be sidelined the next drive for Washington after taking a hit on his previous possession. 28-16, Tampa Bay.

10:55 p.m.: Three-and-out for Washington.

10:47 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Buccaneers. That’s the first points of the half for an offense that had looked fairly comfortable earlier. 21-16, Tampa Bay.

End of third quarter: Buccaneers 18, Washington Football Team 16

10:43 p.m.: Wheels.

10:34 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Washington. Heinicke magic! He’s shown the elusiveness of Russell Wilson. Two-point attempt is unsuccessful. 18-16, Tampa Bay.

10:32 p.m.: A surprise scramble from Heinicke and personal foul against the Buccaneers puts Washington in the red zone.

10:28 p.m.: Fumble! Ke’Shawn Vaughn coughs up the ball. Washington jumps on it.

10:26 p.m.: Brady finds Mike Evans to avoid another three-and-out. He’s 13-of-28 passing for 222 yards and two touchdowns.

10:20 p.m.: A long third-down scramble from Heinicke is negated by a holding call. He throws a check down pass on the next play, and Washington is forced to kick the ball deep.

10:14 p.m.: Godwin can’t hang onto a low throw. Tampa Bay will punt following a three-and-out.

10:09 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Washington. Dustin Hopkins converts a 36-yard attempt to make it a one-score game. 18-10, Tampa Bay.

10:05 p.m.: Tight end Logan Thomas lumbers downfield for a 29-yard catch.

10:01 p.m.: Washington starts the third quarter with the ball.

Halftime: Buccaneers 18, Washington Football Team 7

9:48 p.m.: Washington goes nowhere on first down and changes to a conservative approach, letting the rest of the clock run out.

9:45 p.m.: Sweat sacks Brady to force fourth down. Washington calls timeout with 42 seconds left in hopes of putting together a quick scoring drive.

9:44 p.m.: A pass deflected off Godwin’s hands is nearly intercepted.

9:43 p.m.: Washington punts with 1:22 remaining in the half. There’s ample time for Brady to drive for a killer blow here.

9:34 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Buccaneers. More potential points squandered from Brady’s offense, but a 23-yard field goal still extends the lead less than two minutes before halftime. 18-7, Tampa Bay.

9:29 p.m.: Two-minute warning.

9:27 p.m.: On the next snap, Brady goes play-action pass and hits Cameron Brate for 19 yards.

9:26 p.m.: Leonard Fournette takes a screen pass for 22 yards.

9:23 p.m.: Washington punts after a promising drive stalls on Tampa Bay’s 43-yard line.

9:17 p.m.: Antonio Gibson finally finds room on the ground, picking up 12 yards and a first down. Washington is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.

9:10 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Buccaneers. Brady drives down the field with ease and finds Godwin for the TD. Two-point attempt is no good. 15-7, Tampa Bay.

9:03 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Washington. J.D. McKissic finishes off a great drive with a score. 9-7, Tampa Bay.

9 p.m.: Heinicke has Washington in the red zone.

End of first quarter: Buccaneers 9, Washington Football Team 0

8:55 p.m.: Washington isn’t limiting the playbook for Heinicke. If anything, he’s throwing deep more often than Alex Smith had been late in the year. With the Buccaneers bringing constant blitzes, there is room to find receivers in the secondary if he makes correct reads.

8:48 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Buccaneers. Brady and Antonio Brown have the first NFC playoff touchdowns of their careers. Extra-point is no good. 9-0, Tampa Bay.

8:42 p.m.: Interception. Heinicke’s pass is tipped at the line and picked by Sean Murphy-Bunting.

8:40 p.m.: Sims makes amends for the earlier mistake with a 36-yard catch-and-run.

8:36 p.m.: Brady takes delay of game, turning third-and-4 into a third-and-9, and he can’t fit his ensuing pass through tight coverage. Tampa Bay punts.

8:28 p.m.: Cam Sims doesn’t help out Taylor Heinicke there, dropping a long pass over the middle that could have allowed his quarterback to settle in had it been caught. Washington punts.

8:21 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Buccaneers. Washington finally applies pressure to Brady, and its rush on third down puts the quarterback on the turf as his pass attempt flies incomplete through the back of the end zone. The Buccaneers settle for a short kick. 3-0, Tampa Bay.

8:19 p.m.: Tampa Bay is past midfield in the blink of an eye. A completion from Tom Brady to Chris Godwin puts the Buccaneers on the 17.

8:15 p.m.: The Buccaneers start Saturday night’s wild-card game with the ball.

Buccaneers vs. Washington start time

  • Start time: 8:15 p.m. ET
  • TV channel (national): NBC
  • Live stream: NBC Sports App, fuboTV 

This kickoff time is the same as the usual Monday night kickoff time during the regular season. Washington is coming off a Sunday night game in Week 17, which will have its body clocks lined up to start at this time again in the first round of the playoffs.

Buccaneers vs. Washington marks the third of three wild-card games on the opening Saturday of the playoffs, with three more scheduled for Sunday. 

NFL playoff schedule 2021

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 9

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Bills 27, Colts 241:05 p.m. ETCBSCBS All Access, fuboTV
Rams 30, Seahawks 204:40 p.m. ETFoxFox Sports Go, fuboTV
Buccaneers at Washington8:15 p.m. ETNBCNBC Sports App, fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 10

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Ravens at Titans1:05 p.m. ETESPN/ABCESPN App, fuboTV
Bears at Saints4:40 p.m. ETCBS/Nickelodeon/Amazon PrimeCBS All Access, Amazon Prime Video, fuboTV
Browns at Steelers8:15 p.m. ETNBCNBC Sports App, fuboTV

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 16

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
AFC Divisional Round (TBD at TBD)TBDTBDfuboTV
NFC Divisional Round (TBD at TBD)TBDTBDfuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 17

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
AFC Divisional Round (TBD at TBD)TBDTBDfuboTV
NFC Divisional Round (TBD at TBD)TBDTBDfuboTV

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 24

MatchupAway teamStart timeTV channelLive stream
NFC vs. NFCNFC TBD3:05 p.m. ETFoxfuboTV
AFC vs. AFCAFC TBD6:40 p.m. ETCBSfuboTV

Super Bowl 55

Sunday, Feb. 7

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
AFC champion vs. NFC champion6:30 p.m. ETCBSfuboTV

Source: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/buccaneers-washington-live-score-updates-highlights/doogx5a3jgiv17glb4tp8pzce

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