The third time was the charm for the Buccaneers.
The Bucs lost both of their regular season matchups to the Saints and they got blown out in the second one, but Sunday’s game in the Superdome went their way. Drew Brees threw three interceptions while Tom Brady threw two touchdowns and ran for another in a 30-20 win that sends the Buccaneers to the NFC Championship Game.
Green Bay will host that game, which means Brady’s first season with the Bucs will include his first postseason matchup with Aaron Rodgers. He’ll need to be sharper to make it to his 10th Super Bowl as he was just 18-of-33 for 199 yards in Sunday’s win, but he can feel good about the defense that he’ll have supporting the effort.
They also forced a fumble to win the turnover battle 4-0 and held the Saints to 294 yards to help send Brady to his 14th conference title. Devin White had a crucial interception of Brees, recovered a fumble, and led the team in tackles to spearhead the defensive effort.
A report from Jay Glazer of FOX Sports before the game indicated Brees will retire once the Saints are eliminated from the playoffs. Brees will surely be asked about that when he meets with reporters after a game that provided evidence that the end may well be at hand. He was 19-of-34 for 134 yards and could not threaten the Bucs defense down the field.
If Brees is done, it will touch off an interesting offseason in New Orleans as they decide how to move forward without the franchise’s longtime icon. The Bucs will have at least one more game to play before their offseason and a win next week would mean they’re playing at home in the Super Bowl.