The Bucs traveled to Green Bay on Sunday and beat the Packers in the NFC Championship, clinching Tampa Bay’s second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history and becoming the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl that’s being hosted in their own home stadium.
Tom Brady led the Bucs to a 28-10 lead in the third quarter and the defense stood strong as the Packers mounted a late comeback that fell short and Tampa Bay ended up with the 31-26 victory.
Due to the rare circumstance and magnitude of the game, we broke protocol and for the first time ever, we will not have a Most Disappointing feature this week. Instead we will break up the Most Impressive list into two articles.
OLB Shaq Barrett
The duo of Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul had been missing in action for the most part over the last four weeks, but when the defense needed it the most, both came up huge in the win. Barrett finished the game looking much like the 2019 version of himself, totaling three sacks in the game to go along with five tackles, including two for loss.
OLB Jason Pierre-Paul
If it wasn’t Barrett pestering and harassing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it was his teammate Pierre-Paul – and sometimes it was both of them at the same time. At the end of the day the Buccaneers needed every single play they got from their pass rushing stars as the defense was able to do just enough to keep the Packers from tying the game late in the fourth quarter, instead they forced them to kick a field goal with the hopes of getting the ball back. Pierre-Paul ended the evening with two sacks, five tackles and two tackles for loss.
LB Devin White
White may not have been quite as electric on Sunday against Green Bay as he was a week ago at New Orleans, but that didn’t mean his contributions weren’t just as impactful. There was no second-half interception from White, but there was a third quarter fumble recovery and return that led to the Buccaneers scoring a touchdown early in the second half to put Tampa Bay up 28-10. White led all defensive players with 15 tackles and the mentioned fumble recovery.
S Jordan Whitehead
While Whitehead was unable to finish the game due to a shoulder injury, with Antoine Winfield Jr. not even dressing, the task of leading the Bucs safeties group fell on Whitehead who forced two fumbles on the day, including one in the third quarter that led to the Bucs scoring a touchdown to push their lead to 28-10. Whitehead left the game in the third quarter but before being forced to the sideline, he managed five tackles and the two forced fumbles.
CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
After a Jason Pierre-Paul sack of AaronRodgers in the first quarter, Murphy-Bunting completely lost awareness of the chains and receiver, allowing a first down reception on a third-and-15. The Packers ended up scoring on that drive but like he has throughout the playoffs Murphy-Bunting made up for it later in the game – in a big way. With Tampa Bay leading late in the second quarter, Murphy-Bunting’s interception of Rodgers helped the Buccaneers score a late touchdown to push their lead to 11 points at the half. Murphy-Bunting finished the game with six tackles, his interception and one pass breakup. That makes three straight games that Murphy-Bunting has recorded an interception.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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