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Missed pass interference call on Aaron Rodgers interception sets up big Tom Brady TD

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The Green Bay Packers were driving late in the second quarter Sunday with a chance to take a lead into halftime of the NFC championship game.

Instead they ended the first half in a 21-10 hole thanks to a huge Tampa Bay Buccaneers touchdown set up by a blatant missed call by the officials. The Bucs then held off a Packers rally in the second half to secure a 31-26 win and a trip to the Super Bowl.

Facing second-and-18 from the Green Bay 33-yard line with 34 seconds remaining, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked deep over the middle to Allen Lazard. Instead he found cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who intercepted the pass near midfield.

Nice interception, but ...

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Murphy-Bunting grabs Lazard’s jersey

It was a great catch by the second-year pro. It was also set up by an obvious penalty when Murphy-Bunting grabbed a handful of Lazard’s jersey before undercutting his route to make the pick. Watch his left hand on the angle below.

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The refs missed it.

Bucs make Packers pay

A correct pass interference call there would have set the Packers up near midfield with a first down and around 30 seconds remaining in the half. Instead the Bucs got the ball. And they made the most of it.

After coming up short on third down on their ensuing possession, the Bucs rolled the dice and converted a fourth-and-4 play with a Tom Brady pass to Leonard Fournette at the Green Bay 39 yard-line with eight seconds remaining.

Instead of trying to set up a field goal on the next play, the Bucs looked to the end zone. Wide receiver Scotty Miller beat cornerback Kevin King on a go route down the left sideline. The Packers didn’t have safety help anywhere near Miller, who ran under a perfectly placed Tom Brady bomb at the goal line with one second remaining.

Tom Brady converted a Packers turnover into points right before halftime of the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Tom Brady converted a Packers turnover into points right before halftime of the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Score: 21-10 Bucs.

The touchdown was a result of the Bucs’ pinpoint execution and aggressive play-calling against an exploitable Packers defense. It would have never had a chance had officials not blown the pass interference call to begin with.

Bucs get call Packers didn’t

The Packers then watched as a similar penalty got called on King for a critical Bucs first down late in the fourth quarter. With Tampa Bay looking to run out the clock, Tom Brady looked to Tyler Johnson on a third down pass that fell incomplete.

But King grabbed a handful of Johnson’s jersey on the route. Officials flagged King for pass interference, and the Bucs went on to run out the clock.

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It was the correct call. It’s also a call the Packers didn’t get earlier in the game.

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