TAMPA, Fla. -- In what Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady called the Buccaneers' "biggest game of the year" against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the seven-time Super Bowl winner overtook Drew Brees for the most pass completions in NFL history and threw his 700th touchdown pass (including playoffs) for a 33-27 walk-off overtime win.
"I can't keep up with him," coach Bruce Arians said jokingly. "I don't think there will be any records left when he's done."
In the midst of all the pandemonium, Brady couldn't seem to remember where the ball went after wide receiver Breshad Perriman hauled in the winning 58-yard touchdown -- just the second overtime touchdown pass of Brady's career -- nor was he sure what the procedure was for possibly keeping multiple balls from the same game for multiple milestones.
"I don't know, man. I'm not sure," Brady said with a smile. "I don't think about those things. People kinda tell me they happen. That's pretty cool. I keep some jerseys and stuff like that. ... It's just amazing to have people share in all those great accomplishments, but obviously to me, I feel like they're all team awards anyway.
"Anyone that ever caught a touchdown pass, they're part of something pretty cool in NFL history, anyone that had a completion for that matter; and obviously the guys that came before me -- Dan Marino, Peyton [Manning] and Drew, some other incredible players that I always looked up to. So it was a great moment."
Video footage did show a Bucs staff member racing into the end zone for the ball and picking it up after Perriman tossed it to the ground, indicating it is in the team's possession.
Perriman, the son of NFL legend Brett Perriman, had been cut by the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears earlier this year, hadn't caught a pass all game and wasn't even supposed to be the receiver on that play. He'd just been signed off the Bucs' practice squad two weeks ago.
But as Perriman crossed Mike Evans utilizing a mesh concept -- where both players cross each other as they move across the formation -- it was Perriman, and not Evans, who wound up underneath and got the ball. Fitting for a player who wore to the stadium and to his postgame news conference a shirt that read, "Beyond your wildest dreams."
"He made a huge, huge, huge play for us," said Brady, who passed for 363 yards and threw two touchdowns, rushing for a third on the ground.
"It's been amazing. He's been teaching me a lot, about how he wants routes ran and just his thought process," Perriman said of playing with Brady. "It's really been a dream come true for a receiver."
Brady's record-breaking pass for most completions in NFL history did go to Evans, though. Just before halftime, Brady heaved a 20-yard pass to Evans at the Buffalo 3-yard line to secure the record.
That set up a 1-yard Brady touchdown run to give the Buccaneers a 24-3 lead. The record was then announced at Raymond James Stadium, drawing a standing ovation and applause from teammates.
Heading into Sunday, Brady needed 18 completions to pass Brees (who held the NFL record with 7,142) and add to his list of career milestones. He finished with 31, giving him 7,156 for his career.
Earlier this season, in an emotional return to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to play the New England Patriots, whom the Bucs defeated 19-17, Brady overtook Brees' NFL record for career passing yards (80,358). He also already holds the NFL record of 617 regular-season touchdown passes.
Brady also bested his personal season record of 21 touchdowns at home with a 13-yard pass to the corner of the end zone to a leaping Evans, who was also on the receiving end of Brady's record-setting pass at New England and his 600th career regular-season touchdown pass.
"He's cementing his legacy as the greatest quarterback ever," outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett said. "Even without that record, there's just no debate, I think. Like his work, day in, day out -- it's just like immaculate to be able to do that. ... If there's any debate, it's just, like, you hatin'. He's the best."
While Brady was able to cross multiple achievements off the list, the Bucs' NFC South title crowning will have to wait at least another week. They needed the New Orleans Saints to lose to the New York Jets on Sunday in addition to the Atlanta Falcons defeating the Carolina Panthers, but the Saints won. That's who the Bucs will meet next week at Raymond James Stadium for a rematch of their 36-27 Week 8 loss.