Tom Brady ended the half leading the Patriots on scoring drives of 75 and 22 yards, giving them a 13-7 halftime lead.
Brady went 10-for-10 for 100 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter after a rough start. His 5-yard pass to Chris Hogan with 3:42 remaining until halftime gave back the lead to the Patriots.
The Patriots drove to the Tampa Bay 5 but had to settle for a 23-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski with 40 seconds left in the half.
New England held the Bucs to 123 total yards as Jameis Winston went 8-of-16 for 71 yards. But the Patriots had back-to-back penalties before the end of the half that gave Tampa Bay an untimed field-goal try.
The teams got into before the late hits, with officials separating several players, including DeSean Jackson.