What You Might've Missed: Alexander's excellence

Packers star CB didn’t just get two INTs, he blanketed receivers all game


GREEN BAY – Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander was Green Bay's defensive star in the NFC Championship Game, and it wasn't just for the plays everyone saw and remembers.

Yes, his two interceptions of Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady were huge moments, but Alexander's coverage all game long showcased exactly why he became a second-team All-Pro selection in his third NFL season.

Alexander had multiple snaps against every Buccaneers receiver at various points throughout the game, and he just did his thing. Here's a sampling, in chronological order:

Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 49, first quarter, 3:54 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Like the interceptions in the second half, this is a play everyone saw as Alexander breaks up the pass to WR Chris Godwin (14), but it's worth seeing again for how he read the route. Godwin runs an out-and-up, and watch how Alexander does not fall for the up, and is all over the out.

Play No. 2: Second-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 49, first quarter, 3:48 left

Result: Incomplete pass

The very next snap is another example of Alexander playing off coverage – which DB coach Jerry Gray said he really focused on learning in 2020 – this time against WR Scotty Miller (10). As Miller runs a comeback route, Alexander times his break right in sync with the receiver, and Brady tries elsewhere.

Play No. 3: Third-and-9 from the Green Bay 47, second quarter, 2:21 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Here's Alexander on the speedy Miller again, but in the far inside slot on the defense's right side, not Alexander's usual left side. He's up tight at the line on Miller, who gets a bit of separation on his cut by putting his left hand in Alexander's chest, but again, Brady isn't interested and the defense gets the stop.

Play No. 4: Second-and-4 from the Green Bay 45, second quarter, :22 left

Result: Incomplete pass

WR Mike Evans is the assignment now, and it's a simple out route to try to move the chains. But Alexander makes it a pretty tight window for Brady to fit the ball into, and he doesn't take the risk.

Play No. 5: Third-and-4 from the Green Bay 45, second quarter, :18 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Alexander is back in the right slot again, but against WR Tyler Johnson (18) now. Despite the potential benefit of traffic at the snap, Johnson gets no space over the middle, and Brady tries a lob to TE Cameron Brate (84). He's well-covered by S Adrian Amos (31), and the ball should have been intercepted by S Will Redmond (25).

Play No. 6: Second-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 38, third quarter, 8:00 left

Result: Interception by Amos

This is the first of the three interceptions of Brady, and Alexander's coverage on Evans – which starts with fighting off a head slap by the receiver – is as good as the pick by Amos.

Play No. 7: Second-and-8 from the Tampa Bay 47, fourth quarter, 15:00 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Here Godwin and Evans run a combo route against Alexander and CB Kevin King (20). Alexander's footwork and spacing are picture-perfect so there's no disruption in the coverage for either defender, and the Packers catch a break when a pinpoint throw by Brady glances off Evans' fingertips.

Play No. 8: Second-and-8 from the Green Bay 28, fourth quarter, 4:53 left

Result: Incomplete pass

The Packers are playing with a single-high safety here, so Alexander is pretty much on his own vs. Evans, but Brady doesn't even look his way. Alexander does not pay attention to the play-action fake in the backfield and stays with his man all the way, as Brady overthrows Godwin on the other side of the field.

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