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FINAL: Buccaneers beat Packers 31-26, advance to Super Bowl

The Packers lost to the Buccaneers 31-26 Sunday, and their season ends one game short of the Super Bowl.

The Packers defense picked off Tom Brady three times, but were only able to score seven points off those turnovers. The Buccaneers forced two Packers turnovers, and scored on both of them.

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers started the game with the ball, and moved quickly down the field. They hit three straight third down conversions, including a 15-yard touchdown to Mike Evans to take an early 7-0 lead.

The Packers first possession came up empty, which has only happened three times this entire season.

Green Bay's defense finally got to Tom Brady on the ensuing possession, sacking him on third down and forcing a punt.

A sack of Rodgers backed the Packers all the way to their own five, but the veteran quarterback engineered a 95-yard drive that ended with a 50-yard scoring strike to Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

That touchdown tied the game at seven early in the second quarter.

Brady and the Bucs responded in kind. Brady hit Godwin for a 52-yard strike, then Leonard Fournette rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown to give Tampa a 14-7 lead.

The Packers offense found a rhythm on their next possession, driving to the six yard line of the Bucs. But three straight incompletions forced Mason Crosby to hit a field goal to bring the Packers within four points. That made the score 14-10 in favor of Tampa Bay.

Then, with just eight second left in the first half, Tom Brady hit Scotty Miller for a 39-yard touchdown to push the lead to 21-10.

The second half started as badly for the Packers as the first half ended.

Aaron Jones fumbled on third down, and Brady hit Cameron Brate on the very next play for an 8-yard touchdown to push the Bucs lead to 28-10.

The Packers offense responded with an eight play, 75 yard drive, capped off by an 8-yard strike from Rodgers to Tonyan. That made the score 28-17.

Adrian Amos picked off Brady on the Bucs next possession, giving Rodgers and co. the ball right back.

They proceeded to drive 68 yards in 13 plays, and Rodgers hit Davante Adams for the short touchdown to pull them within five points. The two-point conversion was no good.

After that touchdown, Jaire Alexander picked off Tom Brady twice, but the Packers couldn't capitalize, punting on both possessions.

A 46-yard field goal from Ryan Succop made it 31-23 Buccaneers with less than five minutes left in the game.

Crosby would hit a field goal with a little more than two minutes to play, after the Packers failed to get into the endzone.

Brady and the Bucs were able to get two first downs and run out the clock, and advance to the Super Bowl.

It's the Packers second straight loss in the NFC Championship.

Brad Hanson

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