Tight end Rob Gronkowski and quarterback Tom Brady celebrate a first-quarter touchdown Saturday against the Lions in Detroit. Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

 

DETROIT — Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes in the only half he needed to play and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on to rout the Detroit Lions 47-7 Saturday, sealing a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

The Bucs (10-5) set a franchise record with 588 yards and snapped the NFL’s second-longest postseason drought behind Cleveland’s 18-year run that can end Sunday.

“When we do play the way we’re capable of playing, we’re pretty tough to beat,” Brady said.

Tampa Bay rested Brady ahead 34-0, its largest halftime lead in franchise history. Blaine Gabbert threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski on his first snap of the second half, one play after Detroit running back D’Andre Swift fumbled, and a 22-yard pass to Mike Evans later in the third quarter.

“We’ve been scratching and clawing every single year to make the tournament,” said receiver Mike Evans, who was drafted by Tampa Bay six years ago. “It’s been a journey and we’re happy that we finally accomplished it.”

Brady was 22 of 27 for 348 yards with a mix of passes deep down the field and darts in traffic. The six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback threw touchdown passes to Gronkowski, Evans, Chris Godwin, who made a one-handed catch, and Antonio Brown from 33, 27, 7 and 12 yards.

“When we can keep Tom standing, he’s going to deliver for us,” Coach Bruce Arians said.

The 43-year-old Brady, who split time with Drew Henson in college at Michigan, started his 298th game to tie Brett Favre’s record for an NFL quarterback and played in his 300th game.

The Lions (5-10) started the game without interim coach Darrell Bevell along with assistants on the defensive staff because of COVID-19 contact tracing. And they played much of the game without Matthew Stafford. He was questionable to play with hip and thumb injuries and then hurt his right ankle on the opening drive and did not return.

Chase Daniel struggled to move the ball much for the Lions, who avoided getting shut out for the second time this season in the third quarter when Jamal Agnew returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown. Daniel was replaced in the fourth quarter by David Blough, an undrafted rookie last year.

Brady has thrown a franchise-record 36 touchdowns and set a personal record with 348 yards passing by halftime. Brady and Gabbert combined to throw a Bucs-record six touchdowns. Tampa Bay set team records in points (34) and yards (410) in the first half. Evans, who had 10 catches for 181 yards, scored twice to set a team record with 13 receiving touchdowns.

49ERS 20, CARDINALS 12: Third-string quarterback C.J. Beathard threw three touchdown passes, Jeff Wilson ran for 183 yards, and San Francisco dealt a brutal blow to Arizona’s playoff hopes by defeating the Cardinals on Saturday.

Beathard was making his first start since 2018 and was 1-9 as a starting quarterback before he was pressed into action against the Cardinals because of injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens. The 27-year-old wasn’t amazing but avoided big mistakes. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 182 yards, Wilson earned hard yards on the ground and the 49ers came up with two big defensive stops late in the fourth quarter, including Ahkello Witherspoon’s interception of Kyler Murray’s pass in the end zone.

The Cardinals (8-7) no longer control their own destiny in the playoff race. If the Chicago Bears win their final two games, they will reach the playoffs because of a tiebreaker over the Cardinals.

Arizona started the day positioned as the No. 7 and final team in the NFC playoff field, but the game was a struggle from the outset. The 49ers (6-9) pulled ahead 14-6 in the third quarter on Beathard’s 9-yard touchdown pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

Arizona scored its first and only touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Kenyan Drake jumped on top of a pile and stretched his arm just far enough for a 1-yard touchdown. Murray couldn’t connect with DeAndre Hopkins on the 2-point conversion and the 49ers still led 14-12.

The Cardinals’ next offensive drive stalled at their 35 when they went for it on fourth-and-2. Another Murray-to-Hopkins attempt couldn’t connect and the 49ers took over on downs.

A couple of plays later, Juszczyk caught his second touchdown of the day, this one on a 1-yard toss from Beathard with 8:36 left in the fourth.

NOTES

BROWNS: The Browns will try to make the playoffs without four wide receivers, including Jarvis Landry, along with their starting middle linebacker and his likely replacement, because of a positive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing.

Cleveland’s game against the New York Jets will be played as scheduled, an NFL spokesman said.

The stunning news for the Browns (10-4) came as the team was preparing to fly to the New York area – the flight was delayed more than four hours – and potentially lock up its first postseason berth since 2002, the league’s longest drought. Starting linebacker B.J. Goodson was the first to be placed on the COVID-19 list after he tested positive. Then, after the team completed contact tracing, Landry and fellow receivers Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge were also placed on the list, knocking them out of the game.

Rookie linebacker Jacob Phillips, who may have started for Goodson, is also out.

The losses leave quarterback Baker Mayfield without most of his top targets. Landry, who has never missed a game in his seven seasons, leads the team with 67 catches for 789 yards in the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 25.

Per league rules, Goodson will miss Sunday’s game and the Jan. 3 matchup against Pittsburgh is also in question. The league says any player testing positive has to stay out at least 10 days before being eligible to return. Of course, that also depends on the player’s health.

BRONCOS: Phillip Lindsay’s season in Denver is over after the Broncos placed him on injured reserve Saturday with hip and knee injuries.

The Broncos (5-9) promoted running back LeVante Bellamy from their practice squad to serve as Melvin Gordon’s backup Sunday against the Chargers (5-9) in Los Angeles. The Broncos also ruled out Pro Bowl pass rusher Bradley Chubb (ankle) on Saturday. A day earlier, the Chargers ruled out star defensive end Joey Bosa (concussion, shin).

The only undrafted player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons to start a career, Lindsay ran for just 502 yards and one touchdown and caught just seven passes for 28 yards in an injury-marred 2020 season.

JAGUARS: Mike Glennon will make his fourth start of the season when the skidding Jacksonville Jaguars host playoff-hopeful Chicago on Sunday.

Coach Doug Marrone made the announcement Saturday following the team’s final practice of the week, choosing Glennon over Gardner Minshew.

JETS: The New York Jets activated running back La’Mical Perine from injured reserve after the rookie missed four games with a high ankle sprain.

Perine is second on the team with 202 yards rushing and rejoins a Jets backfield that includes Frank Gore, Ty Johnson and Josh Adams.

New York also promoted linebackers Sharif Finch and Brady Sheldon from the practice squad and added linebacker Noah Dawkins from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement on Saturday. All three are eligible to play against Cleveland.

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