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Conference Championship Game Discussion

Tom Brady
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Here is the open thread for in-game discussion on both of Sunday's conference championship games: Tampa Bay at Green Bay at 3:05pm Eastern and Buffalo at Kansas City at 6:40pm Eastern.

Comments

324 comments, Last at 25 Jan 2021, 11:52am

2 It’s an hour from kickoff…

It’s an hour from kickoff and I’m already anxious-pacing. Rodgers needs a strong NFCCG performance. As much as the D/ST has shit the bed, he hasn’t always been great in them either.  

4 Agreed 100%

Brady's legacy isn't going to take a hit if he loses this game, but Rodgers—in my mind, he's still the quarterback that threw frozen ropes against everybody on the way to a title in 2011, but if he loses this game at home to a team from Tampa Bay ... yikes.

260 It’s a good thing Rodgers…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

It’s a good thing Rodgers got that SB out of the way early, because he’s been McNabb for the rest of his career.

5 The Trophyette ... hilarious…

The Trophyette ... hilarious.

 

Two of the most impressive quarterback performances I ever saw were in right here in this round. Justin Smith and Von Miller were dominant, but the QB's kept coming back. Phenomenal, even if one of those ended in a loss.

 

And now on to the business.

 

TB @ GB -3 / 53

    An early high-leverage 4th down choice is made correctly by MLF, and the Packers start out strong. But between Brady's relentless efficiency and a lot of linebacker speed, TB slowly gains ground, completing the comeback late. 31-28.

 

Buf @ KC -3 / 54.5

   A very volatile 1st quarter sees KC holding onto a small lead. Buffalo keeps the pressure but never gains the lead, and the 4th quarter mostly drains away before one last drive that just can't quite come through. 22-30.

 

What robotic contraption is it that Bruce Arians wears over his shoulder on the sideline?

 

6 Packers CBs

Josh Jackson and Kadar Hollman are healthy scratches again? Not a good look for the future when banged up expiring King and old, just joined the team Tramon are over them. 

And King on the coverage for that TD. 

7 My head says the Packers are…

My head says the Packers are much better now than they were in the previous game, with homefield advantage to boot. My gut says the Bucs romp again. Gonna split the difference: TB 35 GB 24

The AFCCG I thought might be close even if Mahomes were healthy, and he does not seem to be: BUF 34 KC 28

9 First drive: Six plays to…

First drive:

Six plays to Fournette for ten yards.

Three throws to other players for fifty-six and a TD.

Tampa should just call every play like it's 3rd and long.

11 Kevin King

Kevin King showed on the first drive why he will be a free agent this winter 

69 King redux

In reply to by justanothersteve

And doubles down on his ability to blow coverage right before the half 

19 5 quarters of poop so far

Zpackers need to gget going here.  More poopy poops from tjem. Picking up where theu left off in regular season game vs  Tampa Bay

28 Yep

TB’s receivers scare me more than GB’s because Adams is great but the other two are just as likely to drop a big pass as they are to get open for said pass in the first place. 

22 I wonder what the ROI on a…

I wonder what the ROI on a play like the one that led to teh TD is. The ball hung in the air and its really just a jump ball between the DB and Receiver. 

 

I guess its worth it if your receiver is Chris Godwin. 

25 Good job by Godwin

By never taking his eye off the ball, he was able to unintentionally initiate contact with the safety and not get flagged for it even though he clearly (again, unintentionally) prevented the safety from jumping for the ball. 

23 Wow

Brady threw a ball that should have been picked off. Instead, it was completed to Godwin, and Fournette somehow scored from 25 yards out on the next play. 

24 I don't know what else…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

I don't know what else Savage could have done on that play; it looked on replay like he even hit the ball. Just incredible luck for Godwin that it ended up in his arms.

The Packers defense in general could have done quite a bit else on that Fournette run, however.

27 I dont know why more kickers…

I dont know why more kickers dont try to kick the ball at the 10 or something. I guess the danger is that it goes out of bounds but...I think it could be very useful technique. 

29 Kenny Clark has been a force…

Kenny Clark has been a force in the early going. Unfortunately for the Packers, it ended up being counter-productive on that Fournette run as he forced him to bounce it outside, but in general he's been eating up space and getting penetration up the middle. He was limited in the first game but has been playing really well lately.

31 Welllll he is capable of…

Welllll he is capable of being really good, but is inconsistent. Someone on these boards put it well, something like "he will either run a lazy route and make a great catch, or run a great route then drop the catch". Although he did both on that play...

41 That's been me most of the…

That's been me most of the early season. Bug in his code that says run great route OR make great catch when it should be an AND. I've rewatched a bit more of his play though and it really does come down to be is tall and light and is very easy to divert from his route.

35 MVS is built a bit like…

MVS is built a bit like Usain Bolt (a few inches shorter and he's heavier because he plays football, weight he wouldn't carry if he was focusing on sprinting). He is faster than his 4.37 40 time and can get a very quick first step. If he gets a clean release he can cause problems for defenses. They have been using him in the slot a bit more at the end of the season and when he doesn't get touched he will beat coverage to the spot every time.

32 I think this is a mistake by…

I think this is a mistake by the Packers. You have Aaron Rodgers. You have been the top red zone offense all year. And you are at home! A FG really isn't going to change much IMO

33 They also had a guy open for…

They also had a guy open for the TD on 3 plays in a row, but bungled them all (credit to Davis on the pass breakup though). I like their odds of scoring on the next play - moreso than I like their odds of holding Tampa Bay scoreless til the half, even if they did give them the ball at the 6.

34 Aikman is criticizing the wrong dude

Too much talk about how Adams need to magically teleport his feet to a certain position, not enough criticism about how Rodgers not only had him open and threw an iffy ball, but also didn’t see a wide-open Lazard for what would have been an easy score. 

37 I swear Aikman got to be…

I swear Aikman got to be kind of good in 2019... but he's been just awful every time I've heard him this year. The failure to score on those 3 plays was 100% on Rodgers - threw to wrong shoulder, threw too low and got batted, threw too late/missed the more-open guy - but he also said Fournette had "speed and agility" earlier, amongst other strange and incorrect things.

38 Brady was mad at the…

Brady was mad at the official after the 3rd down incompletion - looked like Z Smith could have been flagged for kind of throwing him down long after the pass was thrown. Might've been a bit ticky-tack, but I've seen that called before.

44 I gotta give Bowles credit…

I gotta give Bowles credit. Blitzing Rodgers has been usually a suicide tactic but Bowles has continued with it. Even in a 2 min drill where giving up a huge play is a disaster

46 Rodgers picked

Clear hold, but the guy was covered the whole way. Ball never should have been thrown. 

47 Clock management

I don’t like either teams approach to this 2 minute period. It’s like Reid v Tomlin..

52 Punt

I was expecting Mark Kelso and his oversized helmet to show up and call fair catch before picking it off. 

49 Good first half so far

But Tampa Bay’s offense has seemed more creative, and their defense has definitely played more inspired. Packer fans should definitely be worried. We’ve all seen plenty of games where a team like the Bucs beat a team like the Packers in this spot. 
 

edit: Well, Packer fans can now start worrying before halftime. 

61 King and Sullivan are…

King and Sullivan are responsible for giving up like 6 first downs on 3rd down plays and at least 2 of the touchdowns. Brady picked Josh Jackson apart in week 6, I thought the slight upgrade that King and Sullivan are over him might matter, clearly it doesn't when you are as good at reading the defense as Brady is.

 

78 To be fair to King

He is a bit banged up. But that's probably the problem. Jackson/Hollman still cant beat him out. Still. That's concerning because King has always been meh and now he's injured. And expiring. 

57 We live in a world where…

We live in a world where offenses that feel compelled to go for kill shots at the end of halves get met with defenses that are happy to give them up. This is like the 5th time I've seen it this year. Just mind boggling. 

59 Good job, Mike Pettine!

By calling press coverage and single-high safety, you avoided giving up a short field-goal attempt. 

63 I cannot believe they called…

I cannot believe they called single high man on that coverage. Just ridiculous.

That they didn’t call a hold or DPI on the Rodgers interception was ridiculous too though. Clear and obvious and no flag.

67 I know I've complained about…

I know I've complained about this before, but given how many early picks the Packers have spent on the secondary recently, it's amazing that they only have one good cover corner to show for it (albeit a very good one). And Savage seems pretty good at safety. But King, Jackson, Rollins, Randall... Clinton-Dix had his moments, but he might be the third-best of the bunch, and that's pretty grim.

72 It's literally SF all over again

IDK why I expected different.

Jones and King are getting their extension offers ripped off the table as we speak. 

76 On a serious note, this is…

On a serious note, this is why I have never been a fan of the Packers defense - I believe their numbers are a result of the fact that their offense puts them in favorable situations. Its a lot like the Colts defenses in the Manning era heyday. By numbers, its not that bad but put it in a bad context and its awful

77 Alright clearly I…

Alright clearly I underestimated the speed of the TB defense. I discounted what I saw in week 6, and the other games I saw them play they just didn't look consistent and I thought they were overrated. I've mentioned it a few times that I clearly wasn't seeing what DVOA was. I see it now. I knew they were fast, but didn't give it enough credit for how it can help create turnovers.

82 Nope

Just wondering if my memory serves correctly the biggest deficit Lafluer has overcome is 11 vs the Lions this year.

86 Comebacks

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The reason they don’t have any is in part because they’re rarely down by that much. 

81 The Packers basically have…

The Packers basically have to throw every down at this point - but it just struck me that I don't think AJ Dillon has been on the field today. He was great last week against a team whose star DT was limited by injury; they should have more seriously considered getting some touches for him today against a team whose star DT is limited by injury.

83 Dillon

Unless he plays defense or makes calls as the defensive coordinator, he wasn’t going to change anything we’ve seen so far. 

85 Dillon has been on the…

Dillon has been on the injury report all week and while he's active he's not 100%

Also it was Williams who had the really good game with the inside running last week. He was also on the injury report all week.

96 "Great" was too strong a…

"Great" was too strong a word, but Dillon also had 4.5 Y/C on runs almost all right up the middle.

And here he is on the field now, doing AJ Dillon things. Maybe they were keeping him fresh to match up against the defense when it got tired?

84 Huge drive by the Packers

There is still a LOT of time left in this game: 24:28, to be precise. I mean, I don’t think they can afford to give up 7 or more points for the rest of the game, but at least they can get themselves right back into the game over the course of the next two drives. 

89 Looks like some of the fifty…

Looks like some of the fifty fifty plays are swinging the other way. This time the Packers get away with slight interference and a Brady duck ends up caught instead of dropped or fumbled to the offense.

90 Turns out you can’t throw moon shots all day ...

... and not pay a price for it. Brady finally gets picked off on what seems like the fourth or fifth time he’s thrown an iffy rainbow like that, and now Green Bay has a chance to get back within one score with another good drive. 

91 Bruce Arians is a good coach…

Bruce Arians is a good coach, but you get the sense that situational play calling is a definite blindspot for him. His offense is going to keep firing down the field no matter what the circumstances. 

121 Yep

The David strategy is a pretty good one, but it really only works if you're an actual underdog and/or trailing. Arian's love of high variance strategy is exciting to watch, no doubt, but he seems oblivious to the reality that leaning into variance has limited usefulness.

94 Sure did

I credit Dean for holding up before the ball got there and the refs for picking up the flag. (The camera angle from behind the play clearly showed that Dean played the ball.)

99 It’s too late for the Browns

But the officials finally remembered that players aren’t allowed to lower their helmets and initiate contact against an opponent. 

(Sorry, Browns! We’d have loved to have you here in Buffalo today.)

101 Another blitz, another…

Another blitz, another Packers first down (or touchdown).  Is Bowles going to adjust at some point?

102 Equanimius

Which is Latin, of course, for “conversion dropper.”

105 I'm almost glad they missed…

I'm almost glad they missed the 2pt conversion, so they won't be tempted to kick a tying FG instead of playing for the win.

108 GB Special teams

Have given up good field position multiple times this game. Giving up a 40yard kickoff return after getting the game to a one score lead is just the latest in the season long failures

112 King

Tampa Bay is not going to stop targeting him. Nor should they. 

114 Not sure if that's on…

Not sure if that's on LaFleur or Pettine, but making subs that late at this juncture is inexcusable. They're lucky they didn't give up something big on the "free play".

118 Trying to see through my…

Trying to see through my anti-Brady bias, but I've felt all year that his arm strength has declined, but he's been able to disguise it by throwing full-force bullets basically every play and trusting his superhero-esque receivers to make the high catches. But he has quite a few bounce high off their hands, because he's throwing nothing but bullets, and it just bit him bad at a crucial time.

122 He’s now in Ryan Fitzpatrick mode

Fitz was hilarious because he looked as if he had to put everything he had into a fifteen-yard out. Brady’s arm strength has been declining for years, but he makes up for that with his ability to diagnose the defense. (Being able to draw more flags than anyone doesn’t hurt, either.)

126 Brady

It does seem like he doesn't use/have as much touch. Of course, Arians probably isn't the type of coach to emphasize that.

120 This has not been a well…

This has not been a well played game on offense or defense at all. Yes its high scoring but its featuring a ton of terrible coaching decisions, bad receiver hands, and some inexplicable coverage busts down the field. 

136 I did

Lots of us here in Buffalo wanted him to stay in New England. He threw balls like that against the Bills last year. The end ain’t here yet, but it’s getting close. 

130 I thought Green Bay was…

I thought Green Bay was doomed.  Now due to three second half INTs by Brady they're back in the game haha

131 If they lose this game, we…

If they lose this game, we should blame GBs offense. That's been two gift Ints and the Packers have failed to take any advantage of. How long can you keep asking your defense to stall the Bucs offense. Brady isn't going to throw ints on every subsequent possessions.

134 Absolutely, the defense has…

Absolutely, the defense has done just about everything they could (recalling that one TD they gave up was a one-play, 10-yard "drive"). The offense has had a lot of missed opportunities.

Although on that one, that was at least the second blatant hold over the middle that the refs let the TB DB get away with (pretty sure it was Murphy-Bunting both times, too).

137 When TB eventually wins this…

When TB eventually wins this, which they will because GB failed too do anything with 2 turnovers, the credit goes to the TB defensive front. 

138 The Packers cant afford to…

The Packers cant afford to give up more than 2 first downs and a field goal. If any time Arians should be aggressive, its now.

139 Is there any other QB in NFL…

Is there any other QB in NFL history that can throw three ints(not all his fault) and his team isn't buried in a huge deficit?