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Buccaneers beat Packers as Tom Brady advances to 10th Super Bowl

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate winning the NFC Championship Trophy on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Photo by Mark Black/UPI
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate winning the NFC Championship Trophy on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Photo by Mark Black/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held on for a 31-26 win over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

With the Bucs' victory over the top-seeded Packers, the 43-year-old Brady advances to the Super Bowl for a record 10th time in his NFL career. Tampa Bay will play the winner of Sunday night's AFC Championship Game -- either the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs or the Buffalo Bills -- on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Super Bowl LV.

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The Buccaneers (14-5) will become the first team in league history to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium, and Brady will be the oldest player at any position to play in the NFL's championship game.

Brady completed 20 of 36 passes for 280 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Leonard Fournette had the fourth touchdown for the Buccaneers, who hadn't been to the playoffs in 13 years or won a playoff game in nearly two decades entering this postseason.

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"It's great to get another road win, and now we got a home game," said Brady, who won six Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots. "Who'd ever thought a home Super Bowl for us? But we did it."

The Buccaneers' defense sacked Rodgers five times and forced two turnovers. Defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting intercepted Rodgers in the second quarter, and safety Jordan Whitehead forced a fumble that was picked up by linebacker Devin White.

Rodgers was 33 of 48 passing for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one pick. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had four catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, while Davante Adams recorded nine receptions for 67 yards and a score.

Brady found Mike Evans for a 15-yard touchdown to give the Buccaneers an early 7-0 lead in the opening quarter. The Packers responded in the second frame when Rodgers connected with Valdes-Scantling for a 50-yard touchdown.

Later in the second, Fournette ran for a 20-yard score to put Tampa Bay ahead again. Mason Crosby then booted a 24-yard field goal with under five minutes left before halftime to trim the Packers' deficit to 14-10.

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After a turnover by Rodgers with under a minute left in the second, the Buccaneers quickly scored to increase their lead to 21-10. Scotty Miller snuck behind the Green Bay defense for a 39-yard score with one second left to create more separation at the half.

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Tampa Bay extended its lead to 28-10 after an 8-yard touchdown from Brady to tight end Cameron Brate early in the third quarter. The score resulted from an Aaron Jones fumble deep in the Packers' own territory.

Needing a score, Rodgers drove the Packers down the field on their ensuing drive, capping it with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Robert Tonyan. Following a Brady interception, the Packers scored again to make it 28-23 near the end of the third quarter.

Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop converted a 46-yard field goal to give Tampa Bay a 31-23 lead with under five minutes remaining. The Packers had a chance to tie the game with the ball at the Buccaneers' 8-yard line, but Green Bay decided to kick a short field goal on fourth down instead of attempting to score and convert a two-point try.

Crosby made the 26-yard kick to make it 31-26, but the Packers (14-4) never got the ball back.

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"We're coming home," Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said. "We're coming home to win."

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