Assembling the defense after Green Bay went ahead by 10-0, Bowles told his charges that they were respecting Rodgers and the Packers too much. “They’ve got to earn our respect,” Bowles said, as recounted by linebacker Devin White, who led Tampa Bay with 10 tackles and a sack. Then Bowles reminded his charges of his prediction, and their mission.
In torching the Vikings and the Lions, the Saints and the Falcons, Rodgers had yet to encounter a defense — a secondary, especially — as physical and aggressive as Tampa Bay’s. Facing third-and-10 at his 22-yard line, Rodgers dropped back to pass, his eyes never leaving Davante Adams along the far sideline, which Dean noticed, too.
“When I saw the formation, then I saw how everything started to develop, I’m like, ‘I have to make this play because I know what’s coming,’” Dean said. “And then once I saw him throw it, I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s mine.’”
It was. Undercutting Adams’s route, Dean grabbed the ball and raced 32 yards for a touchdown. Three plays into the Packers’ ensuing series, Mike Edwards snatched a deflected pass and ran down to the Green Bay 2. On the next snap, Ronald Jones rumbled into the end zone for the first of two touchdowns.