Bucs to be the first team to play Super Bowl at home

Tampa Bay Bucs win 31-26 at Green Bay Packers

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Photo Jennifer Le

Illustration of Packers QB Aaron Rogers and Bucs linebacker Lavonte David.

Jennifer Le, Online Managing Editor

Tom Brady, since joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, will be the first quarterback to play a Super Bowl on his team’s home field. This will be his 10th Super Bowl, whereas no other quarterback has started more than five.

The football team played Green Bay this past weekend for the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship and scored a ticket to play at home in the Super Bowl LV. This broke the Packers’ 7-win streak. Before this game, the Bucs had already beat the Packers back in October in a home game 38-10. The Bucs won 31-26 and will play the Kansas City Chiefs in two weeks.

The Packers won the toss and deferred, giving the ball to the Bucs to start the game. Running back Leonard Fournette picked up three yards on both of his first two carries to set up a 3rd and 4, which Brady converted with a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Mike Evans down to the Packers’ 33-yard line. The drive nearly diverted there, with Fournette getting one yard on first down before dropping a second-down pass to bring up 3rd and 9. But Brady connected with wide receiver Chris Godwin for 14 yards and another first down, getting inside the red zone to the 18. Brady found Evans for a 15-yard touchdown, leading them 7-0 in favor of the Bucs.

After the kickoff, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense took the field hoping to match against the Bucs’ early leading score. Running back Jamaal Williams got the first carry of the drive, getting three yards before getting popped by linebacker Lavonte David. Rodgers then connected with Marcedes Lewis for 14 yards and a first down on the next play, getting to the 42-yard line.

On the ensuing kickoff, Williams got a great return, picking up 30 yards to the 34. The Packers went from there with 4:33 to go, needing a touchdown and a two-point conversion to bring up the possibility of overtime. With nearly two minutes to go, Green Bay had the two-minute warning and three timeouts to use as the Bucs needed to simply kill the clock in order to get to the Super Bowl.

The Bucs decided to throw on first down, with Evans coming up with a nine-yard catch to bring up the two-minute warning. Fournette got four more yards on second down, getting the clock to 1:46 and bringing up a 3rd and 4 as the Packers called timeout. On third down, Tyler Johnson drew a defensive pass interference call on Packers cornerback Kevin King, giving Tampa Bay a huge first down.

Barrett (Left) and Jason Pierre-Paul celebrating the success of the Bucs. (Photo Matt Ludtke/Associated Press)

To cap off the game and clinch their spot in the Super Bowl, the Bucs called an end-around to Godwin, who picked up the first down.

Godwin was the key for Tampa Bay, catching five passes for 110 yards to lead the way. Other receivers stepped up as well, with Evans catching three passes for 51 yards and a touchdown, wide receiver Scotty Miller bringing in two passes for 36 yards and a score and tight end Cameron Brate hauling in three catches for 19 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Shaquil Barrett definitely saved his best game of the season for the NFC Championship Game, as he sacked Aaron Rodgers three times and totaled four quarterback hits.

Now, the Bucs are bound for the Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium, where they will play against the Chiefs for the Lombardi Trophy.