Packers win 14-12 vs Buccaneers in defensive slugfest.

It wasn’t pretty but Green Bay got it done.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay, Green Bay looked like a potent offense through the first two quarters.

Early in the first quarter, Green Bay went 10 plays 75 yards before Quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs with a five-yard touchdown pass to go up 7-3.

Green Bay again on their second drive, marched down the field on a 12-play 71 yard drive before Rodgers hit WR Allen Lazard with a six-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-3. The Packers were getting anything at will against the vaunted Bucs defense. On their third drive, Green Bay was in prime position to go up 21-3 but running back Aaron Jones fumbled on the Tampa Bay three-yard line and thus momentum for the rest of the game came to a halt.

Green Bay did not score again for the rest of the game, but not to worry because the elite Green Bay defense came to the rescue.

The first drive after the Jones fumble, QB Tom Brady hit WR Breshad Perriman with would have been a first down, but rookie linebacker Quay Walker knocked the ball out and it was recovered by safety Darnell Savage.

Tampa fumbled again on their first drive in the second half when backup cornerback Keisean Nixon who was replacing Jaire Alexander who exited in the first half with an injury, forced a fumble and it was recovered by defensive lineman Jarran Reed.

Outside of that, it was a defensive battle through and through. The Packers’ offense was virtually shutdown the rest of the game only making it Tampa Bay’s side of the field once the entire second half.

Then the drama ensured. Tom Brady got the ball back with 3:04 remaining. Tampa started at their own 11-yard line but it didn’t matter because I knew what was about to come.

Brady promptly drove his team down the field before connecting on a one-yard touchdown to Russell Gage. The Bucs needed two points to tie it up. Only one snag thwarted the Bucs two-point conversion attempt. Brady in his advancing age and potential marital problems, forgot about the play clock and took a delay of game knocking the Bucs attempt back to the seven-yard line. This play signified how the Green Bay defense has been playing all day.

All-Pro LB De’Vondre Campbell was able to get a hand on the pass intended for Russell Gage; but it would have been a tough catch for Gage even without Campbell getting a hand on it, because Darnell Savage was all over the play.

This a massive win for the Packers, as many NFL analysts had Green Bay losing this game but they were able to win a gritty, hard-fought game in Tampa.

PS: The Packers’ special teams unit is vastly improved from last year; Punter Pat O’Donnell booted five punts from inside the 20. O’Donnell outdid himself in second half, by pinning the Bucs at their own two-yard line. I can safely say it’s nice to finally have a punter.

OTHER NOTES:

All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari made his season debut on Sunday. Green Bay rotated Bakhtiari and OL Yosh Nijman at LT throughout the game.

As mentioned earlier, CB Jaire Alexander exited in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against Tampa with a groin injury; his status is uncertain for next Sunday’s game against New England.

Tampa Bay was without it’s top three receivers on Sunday; Mike Evans was serving a one-game suspension for his role in a brawl last week against the Saints

Chris Godwin has missed the last two games while being hampered by a hamstring injury;

Julio Jones is dealing with a partially torn PCL his status is week-to-week.

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