Each week I’ll be taking a closer look at the snap count distribution for the Bucs offense and defense, assessing what we can learn from who played the most and who played the least on Sunday.

Here’s a look at which Buccaneers played the most and the least in the team’s 31-26 upset victory over the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday night.

The Bucs didn’t play quite as much 12 personnel (two tight ends, two receivers, one back) as I expected, but there were still plenty of snaps for Cam Brate and Joe Haeg at the end of the day. It wasn’t a super impactful game for either player, as Tampa Bay’s run game struggled mightily even with Haeg on the field as an extra blocker, and Brate grabbed three passes for 19 yards, although he did have the Bucs’ final touchdown of the game when the Packers defense left him wide open on a play-action pass in the end zone.

As expected, Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson combined to share Antonio Brown’s workload, with Miller leading the way on 28 snaps, collecting two catches for 36 yards and a critical 39-yard touchdown. Johnson dropped a gorgeous back shoulder throw down the seam early in the game, but made a terrific 16-yard catch over the middle of the field to convert a big third down in the second half. Based on what we know of his injury, Brown should be back for the Super Bowl.

At running back Leonard Fournette continues to lead the way with almost 70 percent of the workload, ironically because he’s the better passing downs option for Tampa Bay’s offense than Ronald Jones III, despite dropping two passes and blowing a protection that resulted in Tom Brady’s third interception of the game.

The Bucs stayed consistent with their five-man defensive tackle rotation, with Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Steve McLendon losing a handful of snaps to the return of Vita Vea. Vea played more than the expected 20-25 snaps a game, but was still at a pretty reasonable 33 reps in his return to the lineup. His presence was one of the most impactful of any player in the lineup.

At safety, Mike Edwards stepped in for Antoine Winfield, Jr. and played terrific football, never coming off the field. When Jordan Whitehead went down with a shoulder injury in the second half, Andrew Adams had to come off the bench and out-snap him while trying to stave off a Packers comeback. His third down pass breakup on the goal line was the forgotten play of the game that forced Matt LaFleur to kick a field goal, after which the Packers never saw the ball again.

Will Whitehead and Winfield be back against Kansas City in the Super Bowl? It seems likely that Winfield will be, given that he was a game-time decision against Green Bay. Whitehead insisted to the media on Sunday night that he will be ready for Super Bowl LV, but that remains to be seen after he was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game following his third quarter injury.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

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
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Spitfire
4 months ago

So proud of every single one of those guys. Come Super Bowl, everyone will be on the field. Love that Vea was able to play half the game, it means he should be 100% for the Super Bowl. If those drops go away in the Super Bowl and our Defense is able to blowup KCs injured Oline and our secondary continues to play hard with White and David covering the run and short passing game and they manage to another Hill like the last 3 quarters of our last meeting, it’s gonna be a fun night!

drdneast
4 months ago

The Bucs were sure up to something with the DL rotation. Did anyone notice when the Bucs practically had Suh in the MLB position rushing the passer. It worked once and after that the Packers got two big third down conversions. Was I ever glad I didn’t see that formation for the rest of the game. What the heck was that all about. Hope Ledyard dissects that on film study for the rest of us ignoramuses. Way to many drops in that game, especially in the first half. Playing against the Cover 2 that the Packers were in for most… Read more »

eaustinyoung
4 months ago

Would ya look at that

PewterPose
4 months ago

Just unbelievable preparedness up and down this whole roster. Let’s give all these positional and assistant coaches some credit for having everyone ready to ball out.

Spitfire
4 months ago

One of my favorite moments of the game was a blip, but the first time I saw Vea line up, Rodgers starting straight at home knew he’d been out for 5 months, tried to hard count him twice to try to get him to jump and Vea didn’t even almost bite and as soon as that ball was snapped Vea pushed through and ran right to him flushing Rodgers out. Right then I knew Vea was gonna make the difference in that game.

Lawdy
4 months ago

if whitehead said he’ll be ready, than i have to believe the man. he knows his body better than anyone

sherb
Reply to  Lawdy
4 months ago

to be fair, players will always say they will be “ready to play”. lots of players on this roster play through injuries but time will tell if it’s serious.

PatrioticChief
Reply to  Lawdy
4 months ago

Winfield said he’d be ready too. Having two weeks helps but it is what it is. We can’t control nature. Winfield + Edwards is a good combination but I don’t like having Adams in their if the Bucs want to do a 3 safety look.