Antonio Brown officially out vs. Packers in NFC Championship Game
Brown sustained a knee injury during the team’s Divisional Round win over the New Orleans Saints. He had previously been considered a game-time decision, with Bucs head coach Bruce Arians even saying Brown would not need to register a practice in order to take the field Sunday.
However, Arians said Friday Antonio Brown will not play, indicating that knee issue is simply too inhibitive for the former All-Pro to be a difference-maker.
#Bucs coach Bruce Arians declares WR Antonio Brown out for Sunday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 22, 2021
This is a consequential loss for the Buccaneers as they prepare for a high-scoring Packers team with playmakers in the secondary.
Brown had been making an impact in Arians’ passing game. He scored four touchdowns in the final four games of the regular season, also finding the end zone on a 32-yard touchdown during the team’s Wild Card victory over the Washington Football Team.
It would have been interesting to see how the Bucs would have used Brown against Green Bay. Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander is likely to take on the assignment of Mike Evans, but Brown’s ability to take the top off might have drawn more attention from Packers safety Darnell Savage Jr., possibly freeing up Chris Godwin or opening the seams for Rob Gronkowski.
Perhaps the Buccaneers employ more of a balanced offensive look, much as they did in a Week 6 victory over the Packers in the regular season. Regardless, Brown will not be available in the NFC Championship Game, robbing Tampa Bay of one of its game-breakers.