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And Your NFC Champions Are…

This year has been up and down altogether, with the arrival of Tom Brady and friends in Tampa, to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. This has been one of the weirdest seasons I think humanity will ever witness. The only thing that stays consistent throughout it all is that Tom Brady is back in the Super Bowl. After a down to the wire victory against the NFC’s number one seed Packers, they again find themselves victorious. It was not as bad as the week six beatdown, which was 38-10 but it was a wire to wire win in which the Packers never led or had a chance to take the lead in the game. The headlines will read ‘Brady to his 10th Super Bowl’, and rightfully so. However, I would like to shed some light on the others who helped get this team to where it needed to be.

First off, this defense played amazing all year long, aside from a few bad games. They not only showed up in the clutch, but seemingly every time the Packers were driving down the field, they made a big stop for the offense. The pass rush was flying off the screen and Rodgers did not have many of his signature roll out downfield bombs. He had one early in the game for a third down conversion, however, they were few and far between. Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett were in Rodgers’ lap almost every single time he dropped back. The defense ended up with five total sacks for the game.

Secondly, this secondary played their tail off. They were matched up against the guy who has dominated every top corner in the midst of an All Pro season, even though he missed a couple of games. Davante Adams flashed here and there, but for the most part he was held in check. He had 15 targets, which is normal for him, but only caught nine balls for a total of 67 yards and a touchdown. Holding him to less than 100 yards is something to hang your hat on even though he scored and dropped another touchdown pass. Rodgers is going to force his guy the ball as much as he can because he knows more times than not, he will make the play. However the downfall to this was that Rodgers missed an open Allen Lazard right in front of him late in the game when he threw it to Davante Adams three straight times during a goal-to-go situation.

I cannot mention the defense without giving credit to Sean Murphy-Bunting who has had a pick in every single Bucs playoff game so far. That is HUGE. Being able to count on a guy to get you a turnover every game is something that not many secondaries have. Starting safety Jordan Whitehead was able to make a huge hit on Aaron Jones and got the ball loose, however, he knocked himself out of the game with that hit. Not to mention, another playmaking defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. did not play this game, and he was ruled out just hours before kickoff.

Now we shift to the offensive end of the ball and we can go straight to Tom. He was really good early on, hitting Scotty Miller for a late TD to end the half, which really sucked the life out of Green Bay. He also started off the game converting the first six third down opportunities, with one being a touchdown to Mike Evans in the back of the endzone. He was locked in early and this offense followed.

The team was rallying around them and they had a nice run from Playoff Lenny as well that resulted in a bruising touchdown. The cold weather didn’t seem to affect them so much, until we started to see a few drops from Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. The sun was in their eyes early on, so it can be excused, but we know they cannot miss those big plays against the Chiefs.

The second half offense was more stagnant and it included three picks from Tom Brady. The Packers were unable to capitalize off of them with a lot of points, as they only scored six total points off of turnovers. That essentially negated any turnovers they had, because the defense was lights out. They were able to end the game with a drive that wasted the last two and a half minutes of clock, and Rodgers wasn’t able to complete the comeback.

The Bucs did everything that they did the first time around, just better and they won a complete, well coached game. Plenty of credit to go around for the entire team.

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