Veteran quarterback Tom Brady stepped up when the team needed him the most. He threw five touchdown passes, including three in the second half. His contribution helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers erase a 17-point deficit en route to a 38-31 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Entering the week as a 7.5-point favorite, the Buccaneers found themselves in a 24-7 hole after two touchdown passes by rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and a pick six by Michael Davis in the first half.

Brady sparks comeback win

But the 43-year-old Brady engineered the Buccaneers' comeback with a six-yard touchdown pass to Pro Bowl wideout Mike Evans to cut the deficit to 10 at the break.

Brady carried the momentum in the third period as he connected with tight end OJ Howard for a 28-yard scoring strike and with Scotty Miller on a 19-yard touchdown pass to put the Buccaneers ahead, 28-24. Herbert answered with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Guyton to put the Chargers ahead for the last time before the Buccaneers wrapped up the win with a touchdown pass by Brady to Ke' Shawn Vaughn, a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Succop, and an interception by Carlton Davis in the dying minutes. Brady completed 30 of 46 passes for 369 yards and five touchdowns with an interception as the Buccaneers strengthened their hold on the NFC South lead with a 3-1 mark, ahead of the 2-2 New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers.

Teammates praise Brady

After the game, Brady drew praise from his teammates for his outstanding performance that earned him two more NFL records. "He's the GOAT. That's as simple as I can put it. The GOAT. Tom Brady. You know," Davis said after the win. Davis called Brady a great player, saying he provided the whole sideline with the energy for the comeback win, the second biggest in the Buccaneers' history.

Miller, who finished with five catches for 83 yards and a score, said the team relied on Brady, adding that "he's the greatest ever to do it." Miller said the team just followed his lead as they are confident that Brady will do his job of leading his team back into the game. "We know he's going to do his job, so we've just got to do what we do and help him out a little bit," Miller said.

For his part, Evans said he never had any doubts about Brady's ability to lead the comeback, based on his track record and his resume as a six-time Super Bowl champion. "We have the utmost confidence in Tom, and he had a hell of a game today," said Evans, who led the receiving corps with seven catches for 122 yards and a score. Despite their three-game winning run, the Buccaneers will have a short turnaround as they will take on the Chicago Bears in Week 5 on Thursday at Soldier Field.