Mon Jan 4 10:31am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Taylor has huge finish to season
Well, that is another season in the books. It was an interesting one to say the least, but the good news is we got through the season without much issue, considering everything going on in the world. And the season ended with a lot of unexpected big fantasy performances. This wasn’t a huge surprise, though, because some players got chances that normally don’t. Hopefully, you came out on the right side of things in Week 17.
Ravens 38, Bengals 3
Fantasy Stud: J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins had maybe his best game as a pro. He ran wild in this one, rushing 13 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged an impressive 12.3 yards per carry. Dobbins ends his season with scores in six straight games. He is setup to be a huge fantasy factor for years to come in this offense.
Fantasy Dud: Gio Bernard. Bernard had 20-plus fantasy points two straight games, so he got some play this week from fantasy teams. That didn’t pay off, though, as Bernard had an awful game. He didn’t even score a single fantasy points, rushing three times for seven yards. Bernard had a few good games this season but you have to wonder if his time is coming to an end at this stage of his career.
Game Notes: Lamar Jackson continued his red hot ways. He was 10-of-18 for 113 yards and three touchdown with an interception. He also ran 11 times for 97 yards, finishing with 26.4 fantasy points. Jackson has topped 25 fantasy points five straight games.
Browns 24, Steelers 22
Fantasy Stud: Chase Claypool. Claypool had a great end to his season, catching five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. This was his second 100-yard game of the season and ninth score. Claypool finishes with 62 receptions for 873 yards and is looking like a top fantasy receiver for years to come.
Fantasy Dud: Kareem Hunt. Hunt got his work but didn’t produce much with his chances. He ran 10 times for 37 yards and caught a pass for four yards. Hunt scored just 5.1 fantasy points, which was a season low for him. Hunt was a little down to end the season, though, having fewer than double-digit fantasy points five of his last seven games.
Game Notes: Mason Rudolph had a good performance in a starting role. He was 22-of-39 for 315 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
Bucs 44, Falcons 27
Fantasy Stud: Antonio Brown. Brown had his best game as a Buccaneer. He had 11 receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Brown finishes his season with sores three straight games. He showed he can still be a top receiver in this game, having at least five receptions five of eight games. If he can stay out of trouble, he can have a big role on some offense next season.
Fantasy Dud: Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski was one of the few Bucs to do little in this game. He had just two catches for 29 yards. Gronk had fewer than 30 yards three of his last four games. He does have seven touchdowns and 623 yards on the season, though, providing some big games along the way.
Game Notes: Mike Evans injured his knee and had to leave the game. It did not look good, having to be helped off the field. A healthy Evans will be key to any Bucs playoff run. He had three receptions for 46 yards before the injury.
Vikings 37, Lions 35
Fantasy Stud: Kirk Cousins. Cousins continued his hot finish to the season, having one of his best games of the year. He was 28-of-40 for 405 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. He also ran in a score, giving him four total touchdowns. Cousins had a season-high 38.4 fantasy points. Cousins had at least three scores five of his last seven games.
Fantasy Dud: T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson didn’t do much in a game the Lions had a lot of success throwing the ball. He had three catches for 25 yards. Hockenson had a breakout season but didn’t end his season on a high note, having 25 or fewer yards three straight games.
Game Notes: Marvin Jones led the way at receiver for the Lions, catching eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. His yardage total was a season high. Jones finishes 22 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season and nine touchdowns.
Bills 56, Dolphins 26
Fantasy Stud: Isaiah McKenzie. McKenzie scored three touchdowns in the game, two receiving and another on a punt return. He had six receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns. McKenize got more chances in the passing game with Cole Beasley out and took advantage with his best showing of the season.
Fantasy Dud: Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa struggled once again, turning the ball over three times. He did threw for 361 yard but scored once and had three interceptions. Tagovailoa showed down the stretch he has a ways to go to be a top NFL starter in this league. He needs to do a better job of protecting the ball and making plays down the field.
Game Notes: DeVante Parker returned from his hamstring injury and led the Dolphins in receiving. He hit the 100-yard mark for the third time, catching seven passes for 116 yards on 13 targets.
Patriots 28, Jets 14
Fantasy Stud: Cam Newton. Newton had his best game throwing the ball all season, finishing 21-of-30 for 242 yarn and three touchdowns without an interception. He also ran 11 times for 79 yards, leading the Patriots in rushing. Newton topped 40 fantasy points, which was a season high. Newton had an erratic season but still produced some for fantasy teams because of his ability to make plays with his legs.
Fantasy Dud: Sam Darnold. Darnold had another uninspiring game to end his season. He threw for 266 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Darnold had 11 total scores to 11 interceptions on the season. Heh ad more than 20 fantasy points just two times. His career has clearly not progressed as expected.
Game Notes: Sony Michel got a big workload and took advantage with his best game of the season. He ran 16 times for 76 yards and caught three passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. So Michel had 136 total yards and a score.
Giants 23, Cowboys 19
Fantasy Stud: Sterling Shepard. Shepard continued his hot ways, catching eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. He also ran two times for 25 yards and another score, giving him 136 total yards and two scores. Shepard had touchdowns two straight to end his season. He had double-digit fantasy points seven of his last 10 games.
Fantasy Dud: Andy Dalton. Dalton did not have a good showing in a must-win game for the Cowboys. Dalton was 29-of-47 for 243 yards without a touchdown. He also had an interception in the game. Dalton was erratic in a starting role for the Cowboys, showing he is a backup at this stage of his career.
Game Notes: Dalton Schultz led the Cowboys in receiving, having seven receptions for 70 yards. Schultz really played well n a starting role for the Cowboys, catching 63 passes for 615 yards.
Saints 33, Panthers 7
Fantasy Stud: Drew Brees. Brees looked really good to end his season, going 22-of-32 for 201 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. Brees has three-touchdown games two of his last three. He missed some time this year because of injury but still had 26 total scores to just six interceptions. He had his usual solid season despite looking to slow down some.
Fantasy Dud: Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater had a rough game, eventually finding his way to the bench. He was 13-of-23 for 176 yards with two interceptions. Bridgewater had an uneven first season with the Panthers. He threw for nearly 4,000 yards but had just 20 total scores to 11 interceptions. He’ll need to play better next year if he hopes to keep the starting job.
Game Notes: Ty Montgomery got the start at running back and played well, hitting the 100-yard mark. He ran 18 times for 105 yards and caught a pass for two yards.
Packers 35, Bears 16
Fantasy Stud: Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers capped off an MVP season with an MVP performance. He was 19-of-24 for 240 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover. Rodgers had four-touchdowns two straight to end his season and had eight total. He had one of his best seasons ever, which is saying something. Rodgers had 51 total touchdowns to just five interceptions.
Fantasy Dud: Allen Robinson. Robinson struggled to do much for once, catching two passes for 37 yards. This was his worst game of the season, scoring 5.7 fantasy points. He still had a great year, though, topping 100 receptions and 1,000 yards. Robinson is one of the elite receivers in the game despite dealing with quarterback issues.
Game Notes: Darnell Mooney had to leave the game late because of a ankle injury but made his mark before the injury. He got a workout, catching 11 passes for 93 yards.
Chargers 38, Chiefs 21
Fantasy Stud: Darwin Thompson. Thompson got most of the work at running back for the Chiefs and took advantage with a huge game. He had 14 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also had seven receptions for 65 yards and a score, giving him 110 total yards and two touchdowns.
Fantasy Dud: Darrel Williams. Many thought Williams would carry the load for the Chiefs at running back, but that didn’t happen. He didn’t have a carry and caught a pass for two yards. This game just goes to show you that it is hard to figure out a lineup for teams resting starters the last week of the season.
Game Notes: Justin Herbert had a strong finish to his season, going 22-of-31 for 302 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. Herbert had 36 total touchdowns to 10 interceptions his rookie season.
Colts 28, Jaguars 14
Fantasy Stud: Jonathan Taylor. Taylor continued his great finish to his rookie season. He had his best game to date, rushing 30 times for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor had touchdowns five straight games to end his season. He had 19-plus fantasy points all five of those games. He is setup to be a top-10 fantasy pick next season.
Fantasy Dud: Philip Rivers. Rivers was unable to do much at all in a favorable matchup. He threw for just 164 yard with a touchdown and an interception. Rivers had fewer than 20 fantasy points three straight games to end his season. Rivers had a productive first season with the Colts but his fantasy numbers were erratic.
Game Notes: Laviska Shenault had six receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He had scores two straight to end his season and three of his last five.
Rams 18, Cardinals 7
Fantasy Stud: Cam Akers. Akers started and got much of the work at running back despite playing on a sore ankle. He ran 21 times for just 34 yards but had four receptions for 52 yards. He still had a decent fantasy day in a low scoring game because of his reception totals. Akers scored 12.6 fantasy points, giving him at least 12 fantasy points four of five games.
Fantasy Dud: DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had one of his very few down games all season. He caught four passes for just 35 yards. He scored 7.5 fantasy points, which was his second worst total of the year. Hopkins had a great first season with the Cardinals, though. He produced big numbers throughout most of the year.
Game Notes: Kyler Murray hurt his leg and was out much of the game, but came back late in the game. He was 8-of-11 for 87 yards without a touchdown or interception.
Seahawks 26, 49ers 23
Fantasy Stud: Tyler Lockett. After doing little in recent weeks, Lockett returned in a big way in this one. He had 12 receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns. His receptions total was a season high. Lockett finished the year right at 100 receptions and topped the 1,000-yard mark. He also scored 10 touchdowns. His season was uneven but some huge performances padded his overall numbers.
Fantasy Dud: Chris Carson. Carson got some touches but didn’t do a whole lot in the game. He ran 11 times for 44 yards and had two catches for 39 yards. It was a ho-hum 10.3 fantasy point performance. Carson lost out on some carries to Alex Collins and Rashaad Penny, who combined for 11 rush attempts in the game.
Game Notes: Jeff Wilson made his car for a big role going forward once again. He had 20 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. Wilson also had three receptions for 12 yards and a touchdown. Wilson found the end zone four straight games to end the year.
Titans 41, Texans 38
Fantasy Stud: Brandin Cooks. Cooks had his best game of the season, catching 11 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He scored a season best 39.6 fantasy points. Cooks had two straight 100-yard games to end the season. He had a solid first year with the Texans, finishing with more than 1,100 yards. He should be a big part of the offense next year for the Texans.
Fantasy Dud: Jonnu Smith. Smith was one of the few offensive players to do little in this game. He had a catch for just eight yards. Smith didn’t even reach two fantasy points. It was a fitting end to an uneven season for Smith. He was a touchdown dependent player for fantasy teams.
Game Notes: Derrick Henry had his usual monster game, topping the 200-yard mark once again. He ran 34 times for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Henry went over 2,000-rushing yards for the season in the game.
Raiders 32, Broncos 31
Fantasy Stud: Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy finally flashed his huge potential in this game, finishing with five receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. He scored an electrifying 92-yard touchdown. His yardage and fantasy point total (27) were both seasons highs. Jeudy did not have the season most expected but if he can shore up the drops and consistency, he can be a force for the Broncos. He still had 52 catches for 856 yards in a down year.
Fantasy Dud: Nelson Agholor. Agholor was pretty quiet in this game, which was a change from his current play. He had just a catch for 57 yards. Agholor had touchdowns two of three games before this one. And his 6.7 fantasy points was his worst since Week 10, which was against this same Broncos team.
Game Notes: Josh Jacobs had his fourth multiple touchdown game of the season. He ran 15 times for 89 yards and two scores. Jacobs had a 1,000-yard rushing season and scored 12 touchdowns.
Washington 20, Eagles 14
Fantasy Stud: Terry McLaurin. McLaurin returned from his ankle injury and had a big game at receiver. He caught seven passes for 40 wars and a touchdown. He scored 17 fantasy points in the game, capping his big season with another strong performance. It is pretty amazing McLaurin was able to produce so well with all the issues the team had at quarterback. If Washington can ever figure out that position, McLaurin could be a fantasy force.
Fantasy Dud: Jalen Hurts. Hurts did manage two rushing scores but did about nothing besides that. He didn’t even throw for 100 yards, going 7-of-20 for 72 yards. Hurts scored 18 fantasy points, his lowest total in a starting role. He even found his way to the bench late in the game because the Eagles wanted to get a look at third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld, adding insult to injury for all those fantasy teams that used Hurts this week.
Game Notes: As mentioned Nate Sudfeld got a chance to play late in the game with the Eagles still having a chance to win. Sudfeld struggled, going 5-of-12 for 31 yards with an interception.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense was shredded by Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the first quarter of their Week 12 matchup, as Hill went off for 203 yards on seven catches and two touchdowns. Cornerback Carlton Davis was left on an island with Hill, and it didn't yield pretty results. "We'll help a little bit more than we did in that ballgame," Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said. Tampa's D allowed 462 yards passing to quarterback Patrick Mahomes and three touchdowns. Hill finished with 269 yards and three touchdowns on 13 catches (only 59 yards in the second half). Tight end Travis Kelce had eight catches for 82 yards. With offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz out, Bucs pass-rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul must get pressure on Mahomes to have a chance at getting last year's Super Bowl MVP out of his rhythm.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (leg) suffered a broken fibula in the Week 16 game against the New England Patriots. Beasley sat out the regular season finale in Week 17 before catching 14 passes for 145 yards in three postseason games against the Colts, Ravens and Chiefs. "It was bad the first game I played but after that, you take a few meds and suck it up," Beasley said with a chuckle. The injury wasn't a full break, but Beasley said it was painful in the wild-card win over the Colts. The 31-year-old veteran hauled in seven of his nine targets for 88 yards in the AFC Championship loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. Beasley set career-highs in catches (82), targets (107), receiving yards (967) and yards per catch (11.8) while visiting the end zone four times in 15 regular season games in 2020. He'll be back as Josh Allen's most trusted third-down weapon in 2021 and will be more expensive in PPR leagues as a result of his career-best season.
Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said that the team could reach a long-term contract extension with quarterback Lamar Jackson this offseason, and the GM plans to speak to the reigning NFL MVP in the next 10 days. Jackson just finished his third season and will command at least $40 million per season on an extension. He's scheduled to make $1.77 million in 2021 on the final year of his rookie deal, which currently ranks 25th among QBs in base salary. "[He] certainly deserves a contract," DeCosta said. Jackson has won more games (30) than any other QB since he took over as the team's starter in 2018 and became the fastest QB in history to reach 30 regular season wins (37 games). Jackson is also the first in NFL history to produce 5,000 yards passing and 2,500 yards rushing in his first three seasons. The young signal-caller has been more effective with his legs than his arm and has won just one playoff game, but Jackson should be locked up long term in Baltimore and will be a top-five fantasy QB yet again in 2021.
The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to terms with former Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen on Monday as their new offensive coordinator, according to a source. Steichen was key in the development of rookie quarterback Justin Herbert in 2020. New head coach Nick Sirianni and Steichen worked together with the Chargers for four years until Sirianni left for the Colts in 2018. Steichen started coaching in the NFL in Cleveland in 2013 as a quality control coach. He left for San Diego the following season and was their quality control coach for 2014-15. The 35-year-old took over the Chargers offense last season and helped nurture Herbert to a record-setting rookie season. Steichen will try and help Carson Wentz rebuild after the worst season of his career.
New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi is expected to become the new offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers, according to sources. New head coach Brandon Staley played under Lombardi for one year at Mercyhurst University in 2005 when Lombardi was the offensive coordinator. Lombardi is the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi and was the offensive coordinator for the Lions in 2014-15, but he was fired after a 1-6 start in his second year. He started his NFL career as a defensive assistant with the Falcons in 2006 before being hired by the Saints as an offensive assistant in 2007. Lombardi spent 12 seasons working with head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees in New Orleans and has also tutored QBs Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston in recent seasons. He'll be tasked with working with Justin Herbert, who became the youngest QB in history to throw 30 touchdowns in his rookie season.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was uncertain about his future after the team's 31-26 loss to the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship on Sunday. The 37-year-old is expected to win the MVP this year and is under contract through the 2023 season via the $134 million extension he signed in 2018. But the Packers also drafted Jordan Love, Rodgers' possible replacement, in the first round last year. Rodgers threw 48 touchdowns and only five interceptions in the regular season in 2020, but he also became the first QB in NFL history to lose four straight appearances in a conference championship. If Green Bay were to move on from Rodgers this offseason, they'd save just $4.76 million on the salary cap and would have $31.556 million in dead money. Rodgers may be contemplating retirement, but the Packers want him back and he'd be a high-end QB1 if he does return after going 33-for-48 for 346 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the loss to Tampa to end the season.
The Los Angeles Chargers are hiring Denver Broncos defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill as their new defensive coordinator on Monday, according to sources. Hill worked with head coach Brandon Staley in Denver in 2019 and played in the league for a decade. Staley said last week that he will be making the defensive play calls in his first season as head coach in LA. Hill will be replacing Gus Bradley, who left to become the defensive coordinator for the Las Vegas Raiders. Hill will help oversee a defense that ranked 10th in the NFL last year and features three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa, rookie linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. and standout safety Derwin James, who missed all of 2020 with a knee injury.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson could sign an extension this offseason, according to general manager Eric DeCosta, who will begin talks with Jackson in 10 days.
Fantasy Spin: Jackson ended up the QB10 in traditional leagues as he missed a game due to COVID-19. With the emergence of Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and others, the position has become pretty loaded. Dak Prescott (leg) is expected back to join the flux of QB1s. A midrange QB1 is probably where Jackson is supposed to be considering the plights he faces through the air. Don't overdraft him for the rushing numbers next season because the gap has narrowed.
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen completed 28 of his 48 passes for 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and rushed seven times for 88 yards in a 38-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 24. RB Devin Singletary was bottled up, rushing for 17 yards and six carries and gaining nine yards on two catches. WR Cole Beasley had seven grabs for 88 yards, WR Stefon Diggs had six receptions on 11 targets for 77 yards, and TE Dawson Knox caught six balls for 42 yards and a touchdown. WR Isaiah McKenzie caught a six-yard touchdown pass on his only reception, and RB T.J. Yeldon had seven touches for 56 total yards. S Jordan Poyer led the defense with eight tackles, including six solo stops.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill put together another strong performance on Sunday versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Hill caught nine of his 11 targets for a team high 172 yards against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Hill wasn't able to get a touchdown in this contest, but he was dominant nonetheless. Hill has had a phenomenal season and he will look to keep that going versus a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense in Super Bowl 55. He remains one of the best at his position and will be a top option for those participating in DFS.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes completed 29 of his 38 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 24. WR Tyreek Hill had nine catches for 172 yards, and TE Travis Kelce had 13 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. WR Mecole Hardman had two catches for four yards and a score to go along with a 50-yard run and a lost fumble on special teams. RB Darrel Williams rushed 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown and added one catch for nine yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had six carries for seven yards and a score. LB Frank Clark recorded a pair of sacks, and S Juan Thornhill broke up four passes.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored a touchdown in his return to action versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. The rookie player a minor role on Sunday with Darrel Williams being the featured back and Le'Veon Bell (knee) inactive. CEH picked up just seven yards on six carries and caught one of his two targets for zero yards, but it was good to see him return to action for the first time since injuring his ankle and hip in Week 15. Edwards-Helaire will now have two weeks to rest up before facing a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense in the Super Bowl and he should be avoided in DFS for that contest.
Kansas City Chiefs running Darrel Williams rushed the ball 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Williams has performed well with Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined, but the rookie returned on Sunday and figures to play a bigger role in the future. Williams will also have to compete with Le'Veon Bell (knee) who was inactive on Sunday and could return for the Super Bowl. The Chiefs are a pass heavy team and will face a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense Super Bowl 55. That will make Williams a risky option in DFS.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped lead his two to their second consecutive Super Bowl with a victory against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Mahomes was his usual self and completed 29 of his 38 pass attempts for 325 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed the ball five times for five yards. Mahomes is now the only player in NFL history to reach three straight championship games before the age of 26 and will now go to his second straight Super Bowl. Mahomes is putting up legendary numbers in his young career and he will square off against Tom Brady and a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense for the chance to win his second Super Bowl ring in two weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end had a monster night versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Kelce has been setting all kinds of records this season and he has now jumped Rob Gronkowski for the most receiving yards in a season that includes the postseason for a tight end. Kelce had 13 catches on 15 targets for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kelce remains the top option with wide receiver Tyreek Hill for the Chiefs and he should be expected to play a big role in the Super Bowl versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kelce remains the top tight end option in the league and he will be one of the safer options in DFS.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman had himself a day versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Hardman had a rough start to the contest by dropping a punt that would lead to a Bills touchdown, but salvaged his day by catching two of his three targets for a 3-Yard touchdown and four total yards on the evening. He also picked up 50 yards on his lone carry. Hardman is an exciting player, but remains a shaky play for managers with the Chiefs having so many options on offense. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) also sat out this contest and his return would factor into Hardman's snap count. Hardman is always capable of breaking a big play and he will look to do that versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55.
Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce went over 100 receiving yards in the third quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills. He became the first tight end in NFL history with five postseason games of 100 or more receiving yards.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense played another strong game in a 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Tampa Bay sacked Aaron Rodgers five times, forcing one interception and a fumble in the huge win. The Buccaneers' pass rush was fueled by two players- linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who had three sacks and four quarterback hits, and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had two sacks. Rising star Devin White led the team in tackles with 15, as he was a thorn in the side of the Packers' offensive plans all game long. Tampa Bay's defense will have its hands full in the Super Bowl against either Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, though this unit is playing some excellent football at the right time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski caught just one pass for 29 yards in his team's 31-26 win over the Packers. Gronkowski went catch-less through three quarters before picking up 29 yards on a screen pass in the fourth quarter, setting up Tampa Bay for a field goal. The former Patriot has nearly been an every-down player for the Buccaneers in the playoffs but has done little as a pass-catcher, as he's taken a backseat to fellow tight end Cameron Brate. No stranger to the big game, Gronkowski will get a chance to redeem himself in the Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate played a key role in another playoff victory for his team. Brate produced just 19 total yards, though he caught a third-quarter touchdown that helped extend the Buccaneers' lead to 28-10. The Harvard product exceeded 50 yards just once in the regular season but has accomplished the feat twice in Tampa Bay's three playoff wins. Tom Brady clearly has a trust for Brate as a pass-catcher, something that appears likely to continue as Tampa Bay prepares to be the first team to host and play in the Super Bowl.