BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady may have left New England last year, but he’s still good to help out his old Patriots pals when needed.

Brady needed a little extra time but nevertheless did exactly that on Sunday by helping to lead the Buccaneers over the Bills, 33-27, in Tampa.

Though the game went to overtime after a blown Tampa lead, it ended in the usual fashion: Tom Brady beating the Buffalo Bills in a football game. It’s a tale as old as time itself.

The win improved Brady to a ridiculous 33-3 in his career when facing the Bills. Brady already owned the record for most wins by a quarterback against any one opponent, but he now has his first vs. Buffalo as a member of the Buccaneers. The first 32 wins vs. Buffalo obviously came during his two decades with the Patriots. (Brady also owns the No. 2 spot on that list with his 29 wins vs. the Jets.)

The Bucs improved to 10-3 on the season, as they are in the midst of a three-team race (with Arizona and Green Bay) for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

For the Bills, this one hurt doubly. For one, they dropped to 7-6 on the season. That gives the first-place Patriots a clean two-game lead in the AFC East, with New England almost certain to own the tiebreaker, too.

Making matters worse, the Bills battled back from a 24-3 and 27-10 deficit in this one to force overtime, only to have Brady end the game with a 58-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman.

Brady finished the game 31-for-46 for 363 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 16 yards and a touchdown, while Leonard Fournette rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown.

The Bills were, of course, coming off a demoralizing loss at home against the Patriots on Monday night, a game in which Mac Jones threw just three passes as the Patriots rushed for 222 yards on an exceptionally windy evening in Orchard Park. On a short week, the Bills were extra motivated to get back on the winning track and climb back into the AFC East competition.

Instead, they ran into the franchise’s worst villain, who seemingly had them beaten by halftime.

The Bucs led 24-3 at the game’s midway point, with Brady beating Buffalo with his arm and his legs in the first half,  as Brady had both a passing and a rushing touchdown in the first half.

The Bills made things very interesting, though, with a Josh Allen touchdown run midway through the third quarter to cut Tampa’s lead to 24-10. After a Bucs field goal, Allen led another touchdown drive — with a 23-yard QB run followed by a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox — to cut the Bucs’ lead to 27-17.

The Bills then closed the gap even tighter, taking advantage of a short field and a roughing the passer penalty en route to a touchdown that cut Tampa’s lead to 27-24 with 4:53 left in regulation.

Brady appeared to have converted a huge third down with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter, but holding penalties on both teams negated the play and forced a replay of the down. Brady was sacked on that play, and the Bills got the ball at their own 23-yard line, trailing by three points, with 3:05 left in the game.

The Bucs were able to keep the Bills out of the end zone, but Buffalo drove all the way to the 7-yard line to set up the game-tying field goal with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

Allen was 36-for-54 for 308 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Before halftime, Brady set the NFL’s all-time record for most career completions, passing Drew Brees. The game-winning touchdown also gave him 700 touchdown passes in the regular season and playoffs combined.

Brady’s rushing touchdown also tied him with Jerry Rice for most rushing/receiving touchdowns scored after turning 40 years old.

The Bills led the AFC East in late November, but they’ve now lost three of their last four games. As a result, they’ve fallen to the final position in the AFC playoff picture. The idle Colts slid up into the second wild card spot, and the Bills now hold the third and final wild card spot, owning the tiebreaker over the Browns, Bengals and Broncos.

The Patriots also left their bye week with the No. 1 seed in the AFC, though they’ve got company. The Titans and Chiefs both won on Sunday, making it a three-team tie atop the conference at 9-4. But the Patriots’ 7-1 record vs. AFC teams gives them the upper hand at the moment. Clearly, though, the fight for the top seed is far from won, and every remaining game will be significant.

The Patriots and Bills will meet again in Foxboro in Week 16. That game now looks like an absolute must-win for Buffalo in order to have a shot at the AFC East and in order to stay alive in a crowded playoff field.

CBSBoston.com Staff