Until wide receiver Antonio Brown returns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, head coach Bruce Arians knows his third wide receiver.
Breshad Perriman did more than execute an epic, game-winning touchdown catch in Arians’ mind when the Bucs prevailed over Buffalo 33-27 in overtime on Sunday, Dec. 12. Perriman caught a short throw and took it to the house 58 yards for the walk off win.
“We know what he can do,” Arians told the media on Sunday, Dec. 12. “He’s got great speed. He’s big … Active. He can get into blocking. So he’s the best third option we have right now.”
Finding that third option at receiver haunted the Bucs all season in Brown’s absence. Tyler Johnson has 23 receptions on 35 targets for 247 yards and no touchdowns in 13 games. Rookie Jaelon Darden has six catches for 43 yards and no scores. Scotty Miller hasn’t returned to 2020 form amid injury with just two catches for 11 yards and no touchdowns. Cyril Grayson shined once with a 50-yard touchdown catch but only played two games.
Perriman may fill the third spot better than any of them. He has four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, bolstered mostly from the 58-yard score. Brady targeted Perriman at least twice in three of the last four games.
Perriman also has a good history with the Bucs beside his walk off touchdown. He posted 36 receptions for 645 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 with the Bucs before spending 2020 with the New York Jets.
“He had a great year here three years ago, and he was our No. 1 at the end of the year,” Arians said.
Brady Originally Looked for Mike Evans on the Final Play
Brady had Mike Evans in mind at first with the pass play that led to the game-winning score, but the Bills sealed their fate elsewhere on the field.
“We had a crosser called, and they kind of jumped Mike (Evans) going across the field and let B.P. back there,” Brady told the media on Sunday. “I kind of picked him up out of the corner of my eye and got it to him, and he made a great catch and run. He’s got great speed, and once I saw him in the open field, I was going ‘B.P. run’ and he did.”
Brady threw his 700th career touchdown, postseason included with the throw to Perriman. While Brady didn’t get the ball at the time of the press conference, he said he has something in mind for Perriman.
“I haven’t seen it. B.P. will get something nice too,” Brady said. “I don’t know where it went. I’ve got to look for it.”
Perriman wasn’t carrying the ball as he walked into the locker room amid teammates’ high fives and hugs.
Perriman: ‘It’s Crazy How it Worked Out’
Perriman saw his lone opportunity for a catch come on a play that developed differently than planned.
“It’s crazy how it worked out like I was supposed to be picking for Mike but just so happened, I went underneath and Mike went over the top and basically picked for me, and Tom threw an amazing ball and the rest was history,” Perriman said on Sunday.
He also shared the initial thought that went through his head once he caught that third down pass from Brady.
“Go,” Perriman said with a chuckle. “Go man. Don’t get caught …(Tremaine Edmunds), he was running pretty, too. I was like ‘man, I got, I got to pick it up and you know, get going.”
Perriman also confirmed that the Bucs staff obtained Brady’s 700th touchdown ball.