After their game last week, New York Jets rookie cornerback Brandin Echols asked Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady to sign the football he intercepted just before halftime. Echols drew flak from some Jets fans, calling his move "unnecessary" since they suffered a heartbreaking 28-24 loss to the Buccaneers following Brady's 9-play, 93-yard drive that he capped with a 33-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Cyril Grayson.

Echols defended his action during an interview, saying he was just excited to pick off Brady. "I've been watching him since I started realizing what football was," Echols explained, calling the chance to meet Brady after the game was a big moment for him.

"I was just caught up in the moment. I just felt like I needed to do it right there," said Echols, who was just two years old when the New England Patriots selected Brady 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. Echols, who appreciated Brady for signing the ball and talking to him for a while, said his decision to ask for an autograph is akin to a jersey swap, so controversy should not get into the mix. "It's good to just relax and live your childhood dream for once," said Echols. Earlier, Jets head coach Robert Saleh said that he had no issue with Echols asking Brady for an autograph.

Brady sees different formulas for success

The Buccaneers have clinched a playoff berth after winning the NFC South following their 32-6 win over the Carolina Panthers two weeks ago.

But they will enter the playoffs without a key cog in their offense as wide receiver Chris Godwin is out for the season with an ACL injury.

They also won't have wide receiver Antonio Brown in the postseason after the Buccaneers cut him following the incident in their win over the Jets. Top receiver Mike Evans is not in top form as he just returned from a hamstring injury.

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The Buccaneers have signed running back Le'Veon Bell and elevated Grayson from the practice squad to help their depth chart at wide receiver. But Brady believes that there are different ways to get the job done, whether on defense, offense, run game, or pass game. "The goal is to get the job done and win the game," said Brady, who currently leads the league in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completions.

Despite the absence of some key players, Brady is confident that other players will step up for the Buccaneers.

Bucs place emergency kicker on COVID list

Ahead of their regular-season finale against the Panthers, the Buccaneers have placed kicker Jose Borregales on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Borregales has spent most of his time on the practice squad as an emergency kicker. Several times, the Buccaneers put Borregales on the list of protected practice squad players as insurance if something happens to veteran kicker Ryan Succop.