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Bucs clinch first playoff berth since 2007

Tampa Bay bulldozed the Detroit Lions for their place in the playoffs.

DETROIT — Your Tampa Bay Buccaneers are headed to the playoffs after beating the Detroit Lions 47-7. 

The Saturday match-up in Michigan was the first of two options the Bucs had to secure their first playoff berth in 13 years. 

In 2007, the Buccaneers fell to the New York Giants 24-14 in their wild-card game. Ever since the team has been chasing its next playoff berth-- until now.

This year, the Bucs hope to put out a different showing. And today's record-breaking game likely raised the spirits of Bucs fans alike. 

Tom Brady set a new record when he threw his 34th touchdown pass as a Buccaneer, beating the team's single-season record previously held by Jameis Winston's 33 passes in 2019.

Then there is wide receiver Mike Evans who broke his own team record Saturday with his 13th touchdown reception of the season. It's something he says he is grateful for.

“Getting records [is] great. That’s why we work hard as players. If we’re in position to get those records, then we definitely want them. It just means a lot that I’ve been able to be healthy and make plays when the ball comes my way,” Evans explained.

And if that was not enough, the team put up the most first-half points in franchise history against the Lions with 34.

The Bucs put out an impressive showing across all four quarters Saturday with seven touchdowns in week 16.

Brady was looking to spread the wealth by throwing four touchdown passes in the first half before Tampa Bay rested the quarterback. 

Brady hit wide receivers Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin and tight end Rob Gronkowski to round out the team's passing touchdowns. Leonard Fournette also ran the ball into the end zone on a handoff from Brady. 

The Bucs built enough of a lead that Blaine Gabbert was given the chance to step in at quarterback. His first play? Connecting with Gronkowski for the team's sixth touchdown. Gabbert was also able to find Mike Evans just outside the end zone for the final touchdown of the game.

Head Coach Bruce Arians was proud of his team's performance but noted this is only the beginning as the Bucs continue to push towards their goals.

“It’s just the beginning. Our goal when we started out – especially in this year – was just to get in the dance. Now it’s to win 11 games, see where we stand, where we’re going and know who we’re playing," Arians shared. "I’m really, really proud of our guys. Our guys did a great job of preparing this week. You could feel this was a playoff practice week – even with the holidays they handled their business well.”

The Lions were without interim coach Darrell Bevell because of COVID-19 contact tracing, according to the Associated Press. The team's quarterback Matthew Stafford also went out early in the first quarter with an ankle injury. 

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