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Bucs defense dominates against Saints, Tampa Bay headed to NFC title game

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are headed to the NFC Championship Game following a win over the New Orleans Saints.

Devin White #45 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with his teammates after intercepting a pass thrown by Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 17, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were swept by the New Orleans Saints in the regular season but won the third matchup against their NFC South rival in the Divisional Round on Sunday to advance to the NFC Championship. The game was close through the first three quarters but the visiting team pulled away with an impressive final frame and won 30-20.

Tom Brady didn’t get much from his star-studded receiving corps and tallied threw for 199 yards and two scores to go along with a rushing touchdown. Cameron Brate unexpectedly led the Buccaneers in receiving yards with 50 while Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown were relatively quiet. Tampa Bay’s carries were split between Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette. Fournette was the more productive of the two with 63 rushing yards on 17 carries and five catches for 44 yards and a score.

Drew Brees did not have a great showing in what was likely his last game. The Saints signal-caller threw for a score but also threw three picks to three different players. Alvin Kamara was his usual versatile self and eclipsed 100 yards from scrimmage and Michael Thomas took a back seat to Tre’Quan Smith, who caught three passes for 85 yards and two scores.

Tampa Bay will have its hands full against the Green Bay Packers’ explosive offense next weekend and will look to replicate its blowout victory from the regular season against the NFC’s top-ranked team.