GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advanced to Super Bowl LV after beating the Green Bay Packers 31-26 in the NFC Championship game.
The Bucs will face the Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.
With Raymond James Stadium hosting the Super Bowl in two weeks, the Bucs will become the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Tampa Bay's Tom Brady and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers had rarely faced each other during their respective Hall of Fame-caliber careers. Never had they met with so much at stake.
The two-star quarterbacks squared off for just the fourth time when the Packers played host to the Buccaneers in what marked the first postseason matchup for Brady and Rodgers.
"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."
The Bucs (14-5) earned their franchise-record eighth consecutive road victory, helped by a strange decision by Packers coach Matt LaFleur with just over two minutes remaining and down by eight points. On fourth-and-goal, he elected to kick a field goal to get within five. Tampa Bay then ran out the clock on the Packers (14-4).
Tampa Bay took command in the middle portion of the game.
Green Bay trailed 14-10 and had the ball just before halftime until Sean Murphy-Bunting picked off Rodgers at the Tampa Bay 49-yard line with 28 seconds remaining. After converting a fourth-and-4, Tampa Bay was at Green Bay's 39 with 8 seconds remaining. The Bucs passed up a long field-goal attempt, and Brady found Scotty Miller down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown catch with just 1 second remaining, bringing the score to 21-10 at the half.
The Packers got the ball to start the second half, and Aaron Jones caught a short third-down pass. He took a huge hit from Jordan Whitehead that knocked the ball loose. Devin White recovered and ran 21 yards to the Green Bay 8.
One play later, Brady found a wide-open Cameron Brate to extend Tampa Bay's lead to 28-10.
The Packers rallied as Brady threw interceptions on three straight drives for just the second time in his career. Green Bay cut the lead to 28-23 late in the third quarter on Rodgers' touchdown passes to Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 24: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws an interception under pressure from Darnell Savage #26 of the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter during the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field on January 24,
Green Bay trailed 31-23 and had first-and-goal from the 8 in the last few minutes. But after Aaron Rodgers threw three straight incompletions, the Packers settled for Mason Crosby's 26-yard field goal with 2:05 left.
The Packers had all three timeouts left and were hoping their defense could force a punt. The Bucs foiled that plan, draining the rest of the clock, helped by a pass interference penalty on Kevin King.
"We're coming home," said Bucs coach Bruce Arians, who began his coaching career in 1975 at Texas Tech and will make his first trip to the Super Bowl as a head coach. "We're coming home to win."
Led by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul combining for five sacks, Tampa Bay snapped Green Bay's seven-game winning streak. The Packers lost in the NFC championship game for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. Green Bay hasn't reached the Super Bowl since its 2010 championship season.
Rodgers went 33 of 48 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception but fell to 1-4 in conference championship games as a starting quarterback.
It's been quite a ride for Brady and the Bucs. Brady moved to Tampa as a free agent and brought star tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement to join him. But with limited practice time with his new teammates because of coronavirus protocols, the Bucs didn't get rolling until after their bye week. Now, look where they are.
Brady will be making his 10th Super Bowl appearance as he leads Tampa Bay to the big game for the first time since its 2002 championship season. This will be the second time the team has played in a Super Bowl; they topped the Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.
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