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NFL conference championship winners and losers: Bucs defense stifles Pack, baffling coaching by Green Bay

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NFL conference championship winners and losers: Bucs defense stifles Pack, baffling coaching by Green Bay

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SportsPulse: Whereas this can preserve awhile for people in Green Bay to digest their disappointing exit, the comfort of the nation wants to be contented with this year’s Grand Bowl matchup. Mackenzie Salmon reacts to the finest storylines from championship Sunday.

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USA TODAY

The matchup, lastly, is assign.

Grand Bowl 55 in Tampa will showcase the homeland Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the defending Grand Bowl champs, the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. That manner the 2020 season ends on a bitter point to for the Buffalo Funds and Green Bay Packers, who will lament finishing apt one game some distance from a shot at the title.

And it also manner that the quarterback matchup for the mountainous game is one which’s certain to construct up soccer followers puffed up: the Bucs’ broken-down gun, Tom Brady, against the Chiefs’ younger valuable individual, Patrick Mahomes.

But sooner than we delve into Grand Bowl 55, listed below are the winners and losers from the conference championship round.

WINNERS

Tom Brady and Todd Bowles

This is able to well well well be a story that stands eternally. Tom Brady, in his first season as the starter for the Buccaneers, will play in his 10th occupation Grand Bowl after Tampa Bay toppled Green Bay, 31-26, in the NFC championship game. Even supposing he is for sure the beneficiary of all over again being on an extremely talented team, Brady also confirmed why he’s the finest quarterback of all-time, dissecting the Packers on third downs in the first half of. Tampa went nine for 14 on third down tries in the sport. Of direction, after he started the sport a finest six for six on third downs, 141 of Brady’s first 151 passing yards in the sport came on third downs.

When Tom Brady performed–and received–his first Grand Bowl in 2002, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen were each and every in kindergarten. Crazy.

— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 24, 2021

Flipping facets to Tampa’s defense, coordinator Todd Bowles build forth a masterful performance. That it took house with each and every starting up safeties (Antoine Winfield Jr. and Jordan Whitehead) out for the majority of the sport due to the injuries is way extra significant. Bowles used to be aggressive, dialing up pressures to exhaust the absence of starting up Packers left style out David Bakhtiari. It paid off. Backup style out Rick Wagner struggled and Tampa sacked Aaron Rodgers five times. Bowles didn’t accumulate any take care of in the head coaching hiring cycle. A performance admire this reveals or now not it is time he will get yet every other serious ogle.

Patrick Mahomes against stress

Section of what makes Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes a magician is his capacity to fetch mountainous plays when it appears admire nothing is there. In Kansas Metropolis’s 38-24 victory against Buffalo, Mahomes dazzled, even in the times when Buffalo’s defense bought in Mahomes’ face. The Funds bought eight pressures on Mahomes’ 38 makes an try. His response: 29 completions for 325 yards and three touchdowns.

— Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 25, 2021

It helps to hang a pair of all-skilled targets in tight discontinue Travis Kelce (who assign the NFL story for a great deal of receptions in a conference championship game with 13) and receiver Tyreek Hill, but this offense is as shut to unstoppable because it will get. The Chiefs clean haven’t punted in a postseason force when Mahomes used to be taking snaps. Smooth, ogle for the health of the offensive line, which would possibly well well well hang lost style out Eric Fisher to an Achilles injury. Against a potent Tampa pass high-tail, that would possibly well well well be a topic.

Steve Spagnuolo and the Chiefs secondary

All people is conscious of how explosive the Kansas Metropolis offense is. However the job defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo did to plot up tight coverages against the Funds used to be masterful. Kansas Metropolis’s cornerbacks and fetch-it-all security Tyrann Mathieu stayed tight on the Buffalo receivers, whereas Kansas Metropolis’s front continually brought stress in Josh Allen’s face.

The result helped elevate the Chiefs to the Grand Bowl. Funds receiver Stefon Diggs, an all-skilled who led the NFL in targets, catches and yards in the conventional season, caught apt six of his 11 targets for 77 yards, even supposing the majority of that came in garbage time. He used to be a non-ingredient. Allen, who’s known for having a convincing arm and for turning in deep throws, averaged 5.98 yards per strive, after averaging 7.94. If Kansas Metropolis can replicate this performance against a talented Tampa Bay team, consecutive Lombardi Trophies would possibly well well well furthermore be theirs to lose.

MORE THAN SIZZLE: Patrick Mahomes reveals he’s extra than apt a mountainous arm

WHAT WE LEARNED: Championship games taughts us loads to prepare for Grand Bowl

LOSERS

Packers’ coaching at the discontinue of the halves

This wasn’t a crisp performance for the Packers, but two baffling choices from the coaching group overwhelmed Green Bay’s potentialities. The first came sooner than intermission, after the Buccaneers had converted a mountainous fourth down that gave the Buccaneers one extra shot from 39 yards out with eight seconds. The total Packers needed to fetch used to be now not accumulate beat deep. As yet every other, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine called what regarded admire a individual coverage ogle with a single-excessive security that allowed receiver Scott Miller to creep past cornerback Kevin King for a touchdown. It used to be an inexplicable name that build quite loads of stress on a participant who has struggled all year lengthy. And it used to be a pivotal swing.

Smooth, no name used to be worse than coach Matt LaFleur’s resolution to recede for a 26-yard field aim unhurried in the fourth quarter to style it a five-point deficit with 2: 09 left in the sport. Whereas the choice used to be trying to establish a victory, the Packers would’ve wanted a touchdown, anyway. Why now not try for one in the occasion you accumulate within the 10? Acknowledged Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett of the resolution: “I couldn’t deem it, truly.” Acknowledged quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “It wasn’t my resolution.”

It used to be too conservative. It took away yet every other probability for the presumptive NFL MVP in Rodgers to style a play. And it build the ball wait on in Brady’s hands. It’d be the closing time Green Bay would hang the ball in the 2020 season. Worse yet, Rodgers’ cryptic response about his future in Green Bay would possibly well well well furthermore clean alarm all Packers followers.

THE END OF AN ERA?: Is Aaron Rodgers’ time over in Green Bay? QB says his future is unsafe

REGRETFUL: Packers coach expresses feel sorry about over FG resolution

Conservative Funds

Let’s be particular: the Funds had a tidy season and wants to be gamers in the AFC for years to attain. But for Buffalo to tug off the upset in Kansas Metropolis, it used to be going to prefer to play orderly and preserve calculated dangers. Settling for field targets within the 10-yard line used to be never going to defeat the Chiefs.

But, that is exactly what Funds coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll opted to fetch twice when the sport used to be clean shut. With the Chiefs conserving a 12-point lead with seconds left in the first half of, Buffalo marched all the vogue down to the Kansas Metropolis 2-yard line. On a fourth down, kicker Tyler Bass converted on a 20-yard strive. That took a two-bag game and made it a … two-bag game. Then, after the Chiefs answered with their very hang field aim, Buffalo bought to the Chiefs’ 8-yard line and selected a 27-yard field aim on a fourth-and-3. Kansas Metropolis is barely too rapid, too sturdy and too explosive on offense to think that those choices would accumulate Buffalo shut to worthwhile.

Packers now not capitalizing on Bucs’ turnovers

The coaching choices were harmful, certain. But when there would possibly be one thing that undoubtedly prevented the Packers from coming from at the wait on of to defeat the Bucs, it used to be that the defense compelled second half of turnovers but Green Bay failed to construct functions on the board. By the time Tom Brady had thrown his third interception of the sport, it used to be mid-manner thru the fourth quarter and Tampa’s offense had stalled. Of direction, at the time of that closing decide (9: 22 in the fourth quarter), Brady had apt one extra completion in the second half of (four) than he did interceptions.

The Packers did bag a touchdown after Brady’s first decide with a 2-yard touchdown to Davante Adams, even supposing the team overlooked the two-point conversion try. But now not most productive did Green Bay’s following drives off of Brady’s next two interceptions now not fetch any functions, they didn’t even generate a single first down. These two drives, when Green Bay faced a five-point deficit, were the wasted potentialities for the Packers to take reduction watch over of the sport. 

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NFL conference championship winners and losers: Bucs defense stifles Pack, baffling coaching by Green Bay