The Green Bay Packers had a major defense lapse to close out the first half of Sunday's NFC Championship game. After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers converted a 4th and 3 play, Tom Brady and the offense wound up 39 yards away from the end zone with just eight seconds remaining. What transpired next might live on forever as a heartbreaking moment for Packers fans.
Green Bay dialed up man defense across the board, with a single high safety patrolling down the field. Brady and the Bucs decided to take advantage, flaring out their wide receivers down the field with vertical routes. The 43-year-old quarterback launched the ball down the left sideline, comfortably in the bucket for second-year man Scotty Miller for a touchdown.
Social media erupted in anger over the Packers defensive play call. Even Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy couldn't hold back his feelings and joined the mob critiquing Green Bay for the mistake.
"That may be the worst defensive design I’ve ever seen with 8 seconds and no timeouts left,"
That may be the worst defensive design I’ve ever seen with 8 seconds and no timeouts left. Green Bay—I’m not sure how you play inside technique man to man and nit just play zone and protect the sideline and the end zone? Amazing.
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) January 24, 2021
">Dungy tweeted as the first half came to close. "Green Bay—I’m not sure how you play inside technique man to man and [n0t] just play zone and protect the sideline and the end zone? Amazing."
Dungy remains one of the most respected voices around the NFL, especially given his defensive background. If the former Super Bowl winner was upset, then the play call really might've been that bad.
The play swung the momentum heavily in the Buccaneers favor, giving them an 11-point lead at halftime. Tampa Bay quickly forced a fumble on the first drive of the second half and capitalized one play later. Brady connected with Cameron Brate for his third touchdown of the day, giving the Buccaneers a 28-10 lead. The 9,000 fans present in Lambeau Field sounded deflated as they watched their team's season hang in the balance.
With less than 30 minutes to go, the Packers will have to mount a massive comeback to prevent Brady from making his 10th Super Bowl appearance.