Buccaneers vs. Washington live score, updates, highlights from NFL wild-card playoff game

With Alex Smith ruled out because of a calf injury, Taylor Heinicke is the quarterback of choice for the Washington Football Team in Saturday's NFC wild-card matchup with the Buccaneers.

Heinicke, who has thrown just 77 career NFL passes, goes up against perhaps the greatest passer of all-time in Tom Brady. It's a seemingly lopsided meeting, even though Brady is 43 years old and the game is being played in Landover, Md. Washington (7-9) is here only because of the ineptitude of the NFC East; Tampa Bay (11-5) enters the postseason believing it can make a deep run.

For Washington to be competitive, it will likely need edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat to get in Brady's face. The emerging duo combined for 16.5 sacks during the regular season.

Brady, though, has a number of receivers adept at finding almost immediate space after the snap. The quickness of wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown off the line of scrimmage make it difficult to reach Brady before the ball leaves his hand.

Sporting News is tracking live scoring updates and highlights from Buccaneers vs. Washington wild-card matchup. Follow for complete results from the 2021 NFL playoff game.

MORE: Watch Buccaneers vs. Washington live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Buccaneers vs. Washington score

  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total 
Buccaneers 9 9 0 - 18
Washington 0 7 3 - 10

Buccaneers vs. Washington live updates, highlights

10:09 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Washington. Dustin Hopkins converts a 36-yard attempt to make it a one-score game. 18-10, Tampa Bay.

10:05 p.m.: Tight end Logan Thomas lumbers downfield for a 29-yard catch.

10:01 p.m.: Washington starts the third quarter with the ball.

Halftime: Buccaneers 18, Washington Football Team 7

9:48 p.m.: Washington goes nowhere on first down and changes to a conservative approach, letting the rest of the clock run out.

9:45 p.m.: Sweat sacks Brady to force fourth down. Washington calls timeout with 42 seconds left in hopes of putting together a quick scoring drive.

9:44 p.m.: A pass deflected off Godwin's hands is nearly intercepted.

9:43 p.m.: Washington punts with 1:22 remaining in the half. There's ample time for Brady to drive for a killer blow here.

9:34 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Buccaneers. More potential points squandered from Brady's offense, but a 23-yard field goal still extends the lead less than two minutes before halftime. 18-7, Tampa Bay.

9:29 p.m.: Two-minute warning.

9:27 p.m.: On the next snap, Brady goes play-action pass and hits Cameron Brate for 19 yards.

9:26 p.m.: Leonard Fournette takes a screen pass for 22 yards.

9:23 p.m.: Washington punts after a promising drive stalls on Tampa Bay's 43-yard line.

9:17 p.m.: Antonio Gibson finally finds room on the ground, picking up 12 yards and a first down. Washington is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.

9:10 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Buccaneers. Brady drives down the field with ease and finds Godwin for the TD. Two-point attempt is no good. 15-7, Tampa Bay.

9:03 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Washington. J.D. McKissic finishes off a great drive with a score. 9-7, Tampa Bay.

9 p.m.: Heinicke has Washington in the red zone.

End of first quarter: Buccaneers 9, Washington Football Team 0

8:55 p.m.: Washington isn't limiting the playbook for Heinicke. If anything, he's throwing deep more often than Alex Smith had been late in the year. With the Buccaneers bringing constant blitzes, there is room to find receivers in the secondary if he makes correct reads.

8:48 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Buccaneers. Brady and Antonio Brown have the first NFC playoff touchdowns of their careers. Extra-point is no good. 9-0, Tampa Bay.

8:42 p.m.: Interception. Heinicke's pass is tipped at the line and picked by Sean Murphy-Bunting.

8:40 p.m.: Sims makes amends for the earlier mistake with a 36-yard catch-and-run.

8:36 p.m.: Brady takes delay of game, turning third-and-4 into a third-and-9, and he can't fit his ensuing pass through tight coverage. Tampa Bay punts.

8:28 p.m.: Cam Sims doesn't help out Taylor Heinicke there, dropping a long pass over the middle that could have allowed his quarterback to settle in had it been caught. Washington punts.

8:21 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, Buccaneers. Washington finally applies pressure to Brady, and its rush on third down puts the quarterback on the turf as his pass attempt flies incomplete through the back of the end zone. The Buccaneers settle for a short kick. 3-0, Tampa Bay.

8:19 p.m.: Tampa Bay is past midfield in the blink of an eye. A completion from Tom Brady to Chris Godwin puts the Buccaneers on the 17.

8:15 p.m.: The Buccaneers start Saturday night's wild-card game with the ball.

Buccaneers vs. Washington start time

  • Start time: 8:15 p.m. ET
  • TV channel (national): NBC
  • Live stream: NBC Sports App, fuboTV 

This kickoff time is the same as the usual Monday night kickoff time during the regular season. Washington is coming off a Sunday night game in Week 17, which will have its body clocks lined up to start at this time again in the first round of the playoffs.

Buccaneers vs. Washington marks the third of three wild-card games on the opening Saturday of the playoffs, with three more scheduled for Sunday. 

NFL playoff schedule 2021

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 9

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
Bills 27, Colts 24 1:05 p.m. ET CBS CBS All Access, fuboTV
Rams 30, Seahawks 20 4:40 p.m. ET Fox Fox Sports Go, fuboTV
Buccaneers at Washington 8:15 p.m. ET NBC NBC Sports App, fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 10

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
Ravens at Titans 1:05 p.m. ET ESPN/ABC ESPN App, fuboTV
Bears at Saints 4:40 p.m. ET CBS/Nickelodeon/Amazon Prime CBS All Access, Amazon Prime Video, fuboTV
Browns at Steelers 8:15 p.m. ET NBC NBC Sports App, fuboTV

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 16

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC Divisional Round (TBD at TBD) TBD TBD fuboTV
NFC Divisional Round (TBD at TBD) TBD TBD fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 17

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC Divisional Round (TBD at TBD) TBD TBD fuboTV
NFC Divisional Round (TBD at TBD) TBD TBD fuboTV

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 24

Matchup Away team Start time TV channel Live stream
NFC vs. NFC NFC TBD 3:05 p.m. ET Fox fuboTV
AFC vs. AFC AFC TBD 6:40 p.m. ET CBS fuboTV

Super Bowl 55

Sunday, Feb. 7

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC champion vs. NFC champion 6:30 p.m. ET CBS fuboTV

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