Fleeting as it was, the G.O.A.T. appeared like a likely goat.
Tom Brady (a.k.a. the Best of All Time) threw interceptions on three consecutive belongings in the 2nd 50 % of the NFC championship match Sunday, opening the door for the Inexperienced Bay Packers to rally from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To the rescue came an unheralded group — the Bucs’ defense.
A potent rush and good protection even with the absence of essential players proved important as the Bucs beat the Packers 31-26 at Lambeau Subject in Green Bay.
The defense was at it ideal in the fourth quarter, when it stifled a comeback endeavor by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of Environmentally friendly Bay’s strong offense.
“I can’t say enough about the fourth quarter,’’ Bucs coach Bruce Arians explained. “They’ve been excellent in the fourth quarter all 12 months. And we got some good stops.
“Took a pair of probabilities on offense and attempted to get some additional points and it didn’t perform out. But they arrived back again and bought the ball right again for us.’’
Right after two of Brady’s three interceptions, the Bucs got the ball back without the need of surrendering a first down. With their two beginning safeties out with injuries, for that subject.
“We had equally backup safeties in there just actively playing their asses off,’’ Arians claimed.
The exact same could be claimed for the relaxation of the protection.
Sure, Rodgers handed for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. But the Bucs sacked him five occasions, with Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett top the way with three.
“We understood that Aaron Rodgers was going to give us a possibility to get him and he’s heading to attempt to make the big play,’’ Barrett explained. “So our secondary did a excellent position of holding him up, like getting away his very first, second browse and we in a position to get there.’’
Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting intercepted Rodgers late in the to start with 50 % and Tampa Bay’s offense capitalized. Brady connected with Scotty Miller for a 39-garden landing move with one next left in the 1st half.
On the initial possession of the next 50 %, the Bucs pressured a fumble and returned it to the Environmentally friendly Bay 8-garden line. Brady promptly threw an 8-garden landing move to Cameron Brate.
“Offense did their career, we did our task and we arrived out with a win,’’ Barrett mentioned.
They did it without starting up protection Antoine Winfield Jr., who was out with an ankle injuries, and experienced to finish devoid of starting off security Jordan Whitehead, who in the course of the recreation endured a shoulder injury.
Concerning shoulders, Whitehead might have been speaking for the defense when he explained, “Being underdogs once more just set a chip on our shoulder.’’
This is the very same protection that final week intercepted Drew Brees three occasions and held him to 134 passing yards in a 30-20 upset acquire in New Orleans.
With nine road wins this time, including a few in the playoffs, not a lot looks to trouble this defense.
“It really do not issue how lots of picks Tom throws,” defensive conclusion Jason Pierre-Paul said. “The protection constantly has his back. We’re like brothers.”