No one except delusional fans of both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers would have expected a barnburner on Sunday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense has been decimated by injury — especially the offensive line — and the Green Bay Packers are still figuring out how to operate as a run-first team. With Rodgers fast approaching 40 years old, and Brady having long left that milestone in his rearview mirror, it was a good chance that their Week 3 muggy matchup in Florida would play out as heavy as the humidity.
Brady’s Buccaneers lost 14-12 to Rodgers’ Packers. Brady is the gold standard for longevity and winning in the NFL, and Rodgers helped Wisconsin quickly move on from their previous legendary quarterback — Brett Favre who is currently caught up in quite a scandal involving misappropriated funds from the government in Mississippi.
These two quarterbacks are featured faces of the NFL in the new millennium. They’re both underdog stories, with Rodgers having to be that guy in the 2005 NFL Draft who had to wait longer than he expected for his name to be called, and of course, no one expecting Brady to have much of an NFL career when he was drafted in the sixth round in 2000.
It took the Buccaneers nearly the entire game to finally score six points on one play on Sunday. They scored their only touchdown of the game with 18 seconds remaining. And the Packers, they wouldn’t score a touchdown after there were just under nine minutes left in the second quarter.
This game was the featured late afternoon matchup. Brady and Rodgers. They don’t play against each other often, so of course, those two names are a great choice for FOX to have as the network’s featured matchup for the week.
Brady leading the Buccaneers down the field for that final drive was the highlight of the late games on Sunday, but this matchup failed to produce a touchdown for hours. Geno Smith vs. Marcus Mariota was the far more entertaining quarterback duel.
Both the Buccaneers and the Packers are 2-1, but their seasons appear to be headed in opposite directions. Even though the Buccaneers defeated the Saints last week on the road, Brady looked like he was having little to no fun. He was slamming tablets and started an altercation that got one of his best offensive weapons suspended for this week’s game.
The love of the game is supposed to be what brought Brady back to the field after one of the briefest retirements in the history of professional sports. Less than a month into this season, Brady has looked miserable on the field. The Buccaneers will probably win the NFC South, because one team literally has to win the division and the others are quarterbacked by Mariota, Jameis Winston, and Baker Mayfield, but we might finally be witnessing Brady hang on one year too long.
Rodgers and the Packers are in a far better position. With David Bakhtiari finally returning to his spot at left tackle after two seasons dealing with injury, the Packers are at full strength. That offensive line is going to open some massive holes for the Packers’ rushing attack, which might be the best one in the NFL that doesn’t include Lamar Jackson. They also have a defense that hasn’t let an opponent break 25 points yet this season.
While the Packers and Buccaneers have the same record, they appear to be teams headed in different directions. The Packers are embracing a new reality, while the Buccaneers appear to be fighting through theirs. It all came together on Sunday for an ugly game with a dramatic ending.
Brady vs Rodgers, a disappointment. The NFL is truly entering a new age.