INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tom Brady led Tampa Bay to a field goal on his first and only series of the preseason and the Indianapolis Colts backups rallied to beat the Buccaneers 27-10 in Saturday’s preseason finale.
Brady looked sharp in the hurry-up offense, going 6 of 8 with 44 yards while converting one fourth down on an 11-play, 66-yard drive.
The seven-time Super Bowl champ, Mike Evans, Julio Jones and most of the Buccaneers’ other starters then watched the rest of the game from the bench. Brady returned to the practice field Monday after missing the previous 11 days of training camp for personal reasons.
Matt Ryan and the Colts starters also played about one quarter.
And after Ryan led Indy to a go-ahead score — Deon Jackson’s 1-yard touchdown run — on his final series, Indy’s backups dominated.
Tampa Bay made it 10-7 on Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s 1-yard scoring plunge, but Phillip Lindsay’s 2-yard scoring run gave Indy the lead late in the first half. And Sam Ehlinger’s nifty 45-yard TD run on the second offensive play of the second half helped Indy pull away.
Tampa Bay’s biggest concern heading into the regular season will be protecting the 45-year-old Brady after the offensive line took two more hits Saturday.
Center Robert Hainsey (left ankle) and guard Nick Leverett (shoulder) left early and did not return.
Hainsey started Saturday in place of injured Pro Bowler Ryan Jensen, who was carted off the practice field on the second day of training camp. The Bucs also need replacements for recently retired Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet and guard Aaron Stinnie, who has a season-ending knee injury.
Backup safety Armani Watts looked as if he might win a spot on the Colts’ 53-man roster — until injuring his right ankle on Saturday’s opening kickoff. Watts was eventually carted off the field and did not return.
Buccaneers: While Evans didn’t catch a pass, Jones had one reception for 20 yards. Leonard Fournette had two carries for 13 yards and one catch for 2 yards. … Vaughn had nine carries for 36 yards. … Blaine Gabbert was 5 of 7 for 46 yards.
Colts: Ryan was 5 of 7 with 59 yards and was sacked once. Backup quarterback Nick Foles finished 3 of 5 with 24 yards. … Michael Pittman Jr. caught three passes for 29 yards. … Indy’s top two running backs, Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, did not play.
Buccaneers: Open the regular season at Dallas on Sept. 11.
Colts: Visit Houston on Sept. 11.