Tom Brady and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have eliminated the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional round. The six-time Super Bowl champ and his team defeated the favorites, 30-20, rolling in the NFC Championship Game, and being one step away from playing the Super Bowl, who, by the way, takes place in Tampa Bay.
After two losses against the Saints during the regular part of the season, the last one 38-3 at home, the Buccaneers responded in the best possible way when it mattered the most. It appears that those defeats were a big motive for Bruce Arians’ side.
“It was always in the back of my mind how they embarrassed us,” Leonard Fournette said following the match.
Fournette, who came at the start of the season and had a pale regular campaign, woke up in the last few weeks. After a rushing TD against Washington last week, he had a receiving score tonight, posting 107 yards from the scrimmage. Fournette and Ronald Jones had a huge impact on the game, helping Brady establish a balanced attack. Fournette had 63 yards on the ground, and Jones one fewer.
Though, the only one who carried the football into the end zone was Brady himself, in the defining moments, with 4:57 to go, and with the game on the line. He ended the night with 18 competitions in 33 pass attempts, two touchdowns, one to Mike Evans and the other to Fournette, and 199 yards.
“We worked hard to get to this point. Two road playoff wins is pretty sweet,” Brady said.
The Bucs were mostly behind until the final period. That was when their defense stopped Drew Brees, who didn’t have his night at all. The guests took the lead following
Ryan Succop’s field goal, 23-20, and on the very next drive, the Saints’ QB threw an interception.
Tampa utilized this situation in the best possible way, with Brady scoring a TD, and then once again picking Brees’ pass and putting an end to this game. The Buccs would keep the football in the last 4:17. In those moments, Fournette did all the dirty work with running and winning precious yards.
In the end, Brees was 19-for-34 with one TD pass and three picks, failing to show up in the situations when his team struggled. After the match, the reporters wanted to know what is his stance on retirement.
“I’m gonna give myself an opportunity to think about the season, think about a lot of things, just like I did last year, and make a decision,” the legendary QB told.
As Tom Brady and Drew Brees hug and say goodbye after a long talk on the field, Brady throws a touchdown pass to Brees’ son. One walks off to play in the NFC championship, the other stays to play with his kids. pic.twitter.com/wdWDro9YD4
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 18, 2021
According to various insiders, the chances of Brees retiring are very high, meaning that this game could mark the end of an era in the Saints’ and the league’s history.
Jameis Winston threw a 56-yard TD pass against his former team, hitting Tre’Quan Smith on one trick action. Smith caught one more scoring pass from Brees, a 16-yarder in the third period.
Alvin Kamara ran 18 times for 85 yards, while Smith had the same number of receiving yards. Emmanuel Sanders had 48, while Michael Thomas didn’t have a single catch in four attempts, finishing the game without a single yard from the scrimmage.
On the other side, Cameron Brate had four receptions for 50 yards, Chris Godwin 34, while both Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown added one catch each, for 14 and 10 yards, respectively.
The Buccaneers meet Green Bay Packers at a cold and windy Lambeau next Sunday. The game is scheduled for 3:05 PM ET, with FOX being the broadcaster.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.