Tom Brady has reached his tenth Super Bowl. Only the New England Patriots have appeared in more.
The 43-year-old quarterback led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a compelling 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers. In doing so, the Bucs will next month be the first team to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium.
‘It’s great to get another road win, and now we got a home game,’ said Brady, who went 20 of 36 for 280 yards with three touchdowns. ‘Who’d ever thought a home Super Bowl for us? But we did it.’
Tom Brady will play in his tenth Super Bowl and his first since joining Tampa Bay Bucaneers
The Bucaneers will be the first team to play the Super Bowl in their own stadium next month
Green Bay Packers fought hard but were always behind the Bucaneers in a compelling game
‘We’re coming home,’ Bucs coach Bruce Arians added. ‘We’re coming home to win.’
The Bucs were never behind in a compelling match, a classic game of two halves.
They held what appeared a commanding half-time lead after Arians was rewarded for a brave call. With 13 seconds on the clock they converted on fourth and four. The next play, Brady exposed terrible coverage, throwing to Scotty Miller for a breathtaking 39-yard touchdown pass. It turned a four-point game into a 21-10 advantage.
Brady extended the lead to 18 points shortly after the break, with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Brate.
With Tampa Bay’s defense stifling Green Bay’s ground game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers took his team on his back.
The MVP-elect threw for two touchdowns in the third quarter and suddenly the Packers were within five points. Rodgers, who is now 1-4 in conference title games, was superb, completing 33 of 48 passes for 346 yards.
The Tampa Bay Bucaneers celebrate after recovering a fumble by Packers’ Aaron Jones
And with Brady and his offense spluttering — he threw interceptions on three straight drives for the first time in his career — Green Bay seemed to have the game in their grasp.
Down 31-23 after a Ryan Succop field goal, they were perched deep in Tampa territory. But on fourth and one from the eight yard line, head coach Matt LaFleur made the baffling decision to go for a field goal with just over two minutes remaining.
Led by Brady, a master at draining the clock, the Bucs did just that. They will face the winners of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills on February 7.
That leaves Brady to compete for his seventh Super Bowl title. Should he win, it will be one more than New England’s haul.
Packers’ Jaire Alexander reacts after being called for pass interference against Tampa Bay
Brady throws an interception under pressure from Darnell Savage of the Green Bay Packers