In a wild first half of the NFC Championship Game, Tampa Bay led 14-10 over Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
That lead didn’t look very safe with Aaron Rodgers nearing midfield. Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks ever, and he especially excels at quick scoring drives to nab points and maximize a possession before halftime.
So you can’t fault the Packers for being aggressive with the ball, though for once it didn’t work out, as Rodgers threw an interception (which arguably should have been a defensive penalty, though Green Bay had also gotten away with a false start on a key third down earlier in the drive.)
This probably should've been a penalty, but instead it's an interception for the Bucs on Aaron Rodgers. pic.twitter.com/m8W3Nt7DTU
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) January 24, 2021
That gave the ball back to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers near midfield, with a few timeouts and some time left on the clock. Brady is one of the best quarterbacks ever, and he especially excels at quick scoring drives to nab points and maximize a possession before halftime. So you can’t fault the Bucs for being aggressive, and facing 4th and 3, Bruce Arians called timeout and elected to send Brady back out to go for it.
After converting on that play, they were sort of in field goal range, but Arians sent Brady out again with eight seconds left and no timeouts remaining. Most people watching probably expected Tampa to try and work the sidelines to set up a field goal try. That’s certainly what Green Bay’s secondary seemed to expect.
Instead, this happened:
Tom Brady to Scotty Miller for a buzzer-beating 💣 pic.twitter.com/y3zfPjf483
— The Comeback NFL (@TheComebackNFL) January 24, 2021
And, just like that, Tampa Bay extended their lead to 21-10 heading into halftime. That’s a huge sequence, too, for more than just the touchdown. Green Bay is set to get the ball to start the second half, and rather than a vintage Aaron Rodgers double-up of possessions, we got a vintage Tom Brady stolen score. Credit Brady and also credit Bruce Arians, who could have very easily and defensibly punted on that drive.
Andy Reid isn’t the only coach making gutsy choices and seeing them pay off in the postseason.