Welcome to a NEW post-game column, where I’ll take a look at the moment(s) the game turned either in favor or against the Buccaneers. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at all the reasons the Bucs won or lost, but instead the key moment or two where things went north or south for the team.
It was a rough start for the Bucs defense, as they surrendered 10 points on the Packers first two drives of the game, blowing a couple coverages and struggling to put any pressure on Aaron Rodgers. Given how few mistakes the Packers offense had made all season long, it felt like it was gonna be a long day for the Bucs defense. If you were betting on sports you would have picked the Packers to win easily after watching the first quarter.
That couldn’t have been less true however, as the Bucs third defensive drive of the game swung the whole contest. After incompletions by Rodgers on first and second down, the Packers faced 3rd-and-10 from their own 22-yard line.
Rodgers dropped back to pass in a clean pocket, but stared down wide receiver Davante Adams the whole way while never really setting his feet. The result was a back-foot throw without much heat on it. Playing in off-coverage, Bucs second year CB Jamel Dean read and broke on the throw, snagging his first interception of the season and racing 32 yards to the end zone for Tampa Bay’s first points of the game.
On the Rodger’s pick-6, Dean stays square at the top of Adams’ route despite the receiver faking an inside move. He doesn’t allow any space for Adams to make an uncontested underneath catch, crowding the receiver at the top of the route to force a tight window throw even on a perfect pass.
Dean is playing with so much confidence in his technique and route recognition right now, with five pass breakups and an interception over the past two games. Dean’s growth as a cerebral corner has allowed his ball skills and elite physical traits (length, strength, speed) to shine, from the second half of his rookie season through the first six weeks of the 2020 campaign.
Dean’s huge play began the turning of the tide for the Bucs defense, who would go on to allow just 52 yards to the Packers offense throughout the rest of the game! The Bucs forced two turnovers, had chances for a few others and sacked Rodgers five times after their dismal first quarter.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft