Brady dominated out of play-action
One of the ways in which the Bucs have improved their passing attack over the course of the postseason has been by upping their play-action rate. During the regular season, 18.5% of Brady's pass attempts came with a play-fake attached. During the postseason, that mark rose to 28.9%. Brady threw as many as 13 play-action passes in a game twice this season, and they were both in playoff wins.

One was the win over Washington in wild-card weekend. The other came Sunday, when Brady was deadly off of play-action. He went 10-of-13 for 135 yards and all three of his touchdowns. He would have had a fourth touchdown off play-action in the second quarter, only for offensive lineman Joe Haeg to have the ball knocked out of his hands in the end zone by Anthony Hitchens.

The play-action slowed down the Kansas City rush and helped keep pressure off Brady. The Chiefs blitzed 36.7% of the time in the hopes of creating pressure, but it rarely got home. After being pressured 23.8% of the time in the first matchup between these two teams, Brady was bothered on only 13.3% of his dropbacks in the rematch.

Aaron Stinnie, who was the clear target on the Tampa Bay line in what was his third career start, was anonymous in a good way on the biggest stage. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich's game plan always seemed to be one step ahead of Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's.

Bill Barnwell,, published 8 February 2021