Aaron Rodgers with a searing start to the NFC Championship game

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Mark Schofield
·2 min read
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The NFC Championship game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers has lived up to the hype early, as the two teams are tied at seven in the second quarter. Both of the veteran quarterbacks have touchdown passes in the early going and are very hot, but it is hard to have a better start than Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers has put together a searing start to the NFC Championship game, beginning the day seven of seven passing for 107 yards an a touchdown to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

The first big play from the Packers offense in this game came with Green Bay backed up deep in their own territory. Facing a 3rd-and-14 in the shadow of their own goalposts, the Packers were able to convert. Head coach Matt LaFleur called for a designed rollout, moving the pocket to buy some time for Rodgers. That allowed the QB to find Allen Lazard in the downfield passing game:

Then there was the deep shot to Valdes-Scantling, which is a great example of “picking your poison” against Rodgers. Earlier this week Doug Farrar and I highlighted how playing two-high coverage might be the way to slow down talented receiver Davante Adams. But with the Packers facing a 3rd-and-3 early in the second quarter, the Buccaneers expected a run, sliding a safety down into the box and playing man coverage on the outside. Cornerback Carlton Davis was matched up with Valdes-Scantling, who took off vertically.

Rodgers saw this, and took his shot deep:

While the throw is good, the adjustment is better. Valdes-Scantling slides to the inside to make the reception, and takes it all the way to the end zone for the score.

In the early going, both Rodgers and Brady are hot. This might shape up to be a game for the ages.