Just three games are remaining in the 2021 NFL season. Many teams are beginning their offseason preparation after missing the postseason or being eliminated during the first two rounds of the playoffs. The news cycle has remained fast and furious. Coaching vacancies all over the league are beginning to get filled, with assistants also getting promoted to new roles. However, no piece of news was more significant than the story dropped by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday afternoon. The longtime insider reported that his sources tell him Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will walk away from football after 22 seasons.
This report has not been confirmed by anyone inside the camp of the legendary signal-caller. However, to pay tribute to the game’s greatest player, let’s take a look at his top five moments versus the Green Bay Packers.
5. His 55-Yard Touchdown Pass to Josh Gordon in 2018
The Packers drew the New England Patriots at the wrong time in their 2018 schedule. Mike McCarthy’s team was in the midst of a stretch that would see them lose five of six games. It was a back-and-forth contest all night long. A 15-yard touchdown strike from Aaron Rodgers to Jimmy Graham had the game all knotted up at 17 points apiece heading into the final quarter. However, the tide would turn after an Aaron Jones fumble early on in the match-up’s final 15 minutes. Knocking on the door of the red zone, the running back put the ball on the ground, allowing New England to get it back.
The Patriots made quick work on the ensuing drive. They cashed in on ten plays, including a 37-yard catch and run by running back James White and a pass from wide receiver Julian Edelman. However, after Green Bay went three-and-out on their next possession, Brady would uncork a signature moment. He found a way to bury his opponent in crunch time like so many times before. The star signal-caller found Josh Gordon just three plays into the series on a 55-yard touchdown strike to put the game out of reach.
4. Hitting Reche Caldwell on a 54-Yard Touchdown Strike in 2006
This was Brady’s best game of his seven career matchups against Green Bay. He helped lead New England to a 35-0 blowout victory in 2006. The Packers lost two quarterbacks throughout the afternoon. Brett Favre left the contest with an injury after landing funny on his arm in the second quarter. Rodgers also suffered a serious foot injury, limping out of the locker room after the game.
This one was never competitive over the course of four quarters. The Patriots jumped out to a 14-0 lead early on after a one-yard touchdown plunge by running back Corey Dillon. Adding on before halftime, Brady found Reche Caldwell on a 54-yard touchdown strike for the team’s longest offensive play of the year to that point.
3. A 10-Yard Pass to Aaron Hernandez to sink the Packers in 2010
A late meeting during Green Bay’s super bowl season, Rodgers missed the game with a concussion. This would force the Packers to turn to back-up QB Matt Flynn, who nearly pulled off the upset victory. A back-and-forth first-half affair would see the Patriots hold a three-point lead at the break. Making the first start of his NFL career, Flynn tossed a pick-six on the opening series of the second half after cornerback Kyle Arrington returned the ball for a touchdown.
Battling back, a 19-yard field goal by kicker Mason Crosby gave his team a six-point advantage with 13:52 remaining in regulation. However, after pulling within three on their next possession, Brady would stave off the upset attempt late. He won the game by throwing a ten-yard touchdown pass to Hernandez, leading a six-play 63-yard drive. This helped send New England to 12-2.
2. Finding Brandon Lafell in the end zone late in the game in 2014
In a true clash of two star quarterbacks in 2014, both Rodgers and Brady were enjoying MVP caliber campaigns. The Patriots entered this game atop the AFC East with a 9-2 record, while the Packers were at 8-3 and atop the NFC North. Locked in during the first half, Rodgers found tight end Richard Rodgers on a 32-yard touchdown pass to give his team a quick 13-0 lead.
He also found Jordy Nelson on a 45-yard touchdown throw as time expired in the first half to give Green Bay a 23-14 advantage. Refusing to go away, Brady responded quickly to open up the penultimate quarter. Needing just nine plays to put the ball over the goal line, he found Lafell in the end zone. The wideout beat cornerback Davon House to pull the game to within two.
1. The Scottie Miller Play in the NFC Championship Game in 2020
Looking to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly a decade, the Packers earned the number one seed and hosted the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game at Lambeau. Tampa Bay, the fifth seed in the conference, won two straight road playoff games by knocking off the Washington Football Team and their division rival, the New Orleans Saints.
Jumping on Green Bay quickly after a nightmare start for Matt LaFleur’s group, Brady found Mike Evans in the end zone to open the scoring. The turning point of the contest would come at the end of the first half. Tampa Bay added to their lead after Rodgers tossed an interception with 28 seconds left. Trying to prevent a field goal attempt, Miller slipped by cornerback Kevin King and caught a 39-yard pass to score with one second remaining. A backbreaking play; the Packers could never overcome this error in the second half. They would go on to lose 31-26, while Brady marched on to win his seventh Super Bowl ring.
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