Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers: QB clash weve been waiting for

When we last left Tom Brady, he was losing track of what down it was at the end of a failed Buccaneers comeback attempt at Chicago, curiously later denying it despite video evidence for all to see.


The next task for Brady and the Buccaneers (3-2) is a home game Sunday against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (4-0), who are coming off a bye week.


This week, Packers running back Jamaal Williams poked the bear with a playful jab at Brady while pumping up Rodgers as the better of the two quarterbacks in the game.


Im pretty sure my quarterback knows what fourth down is, you know what I mean? Williams chirped. Aaron Rodgers would never do that. Never.


Williams comments came after Brady thought fourth down was third down, and he tried for a low-percentage, down-the-field throw instead of going for a shorter pass to get a first down in the 20-19 loss. After the play, the cameras showed Brady looking at the referee holding up four fingers as if to say, Its fourth down now. Except it wasnt.


Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians protected Brady afterward, saying, Yeah, he knew. And Brady stumbled through a lame explanation that maybe he shouldnt have gone for the chunk-yardage play instead of the shorter pass, denying that he didnt know what down it was.


It was all a rather embarrassing sequence for one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, one hed certainly like to purge with a good performance against the undefeated Packers and Rodgers, which he has faced just twice in his career.


The 36-year-old Rodgers and 43-year-old Brady, who have a combined 37 NFL seasons and 375 regular-season games, each has one win in the head-to-head matchups, with the home team winning both times.


Bradys ballyhooed move to the Buccaneers after 20 years in New England has produced mixed results. Hes completing just 64.3 percent of his passes for 1,375 yards with 12 touchdowns, four interceptions and a has a respectable 96.8 passer rating. But two of those picks were returned for touchdowns.


Rodgers, meanwhile, has been his usual magnificent self having thrown for 13 TDs with no INTs, a 70.5 completion percentage, 1,214 yards and a 128.4 passer rating.


We know what were up against, Brady told reporters this past week. Were up against one of the best teams in the league.


And one of the best quarterbacks of all time.


I think everybody is pretty much in awe of how he makes it look so easy, Brady said of Rodgers. Theres a lot of great things to say about his game. Hes one of the great quarterbacks to ever play the game. Hes a great passer. Hes very efficient. His touchdown-to-interception ratio he basically doesnt throw interceptions and throws a lot of touchdowns. His decision-making is just phenomenal.


Said Rodgers of Brady: He has obviously done it at the highest of levels for so long. Hes been an icon at the position. Hes been somebody that weve all looked up to for so many years as the standard of excellence.


For his part, Rodgers has doggedly downplayed the quarterback matchup in the game, emphasizing he was playing against the Tampa Bay defense and Brady against the Green Bay defense.


Thats how it should be viewed, Rodgers lectured reporters on Wednesday.


Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, however, playfully called the game the Tampa Bay Bradys versus the Green Bay Rodgers.


Its great entertainment, Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said of the matchup. You cant ask for anything better than this these two guys, going against each other. For us as coaches, as players, as fans, as reporters, I just think its great entertainment and a fun thing to be a part of.


Anybody whos a part of either organization, its just a great opportunity for us to watch them go at it. But for them, its another game. Its just about the level theyre at.


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Publisher: New York Post

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