Hope is alive after the Green Bay Packers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-20 in overtime on Sunday. Slim playoff hopes and the potential return of Aaron Rodgers.
Smelly pirate hookers.
Hopefully, the Packers can dispatch the Cleveland Browns next week, get some help and we’ll see where we are. It would have been great if the Packers had beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then maybe they’d have a legitimate shot. Too much buffoonery at the end of that contest, though.
It almost repeated itself against Tampa Bay and wouldn’t that have been perfect?
Let’s get on with it.
The Brett Hundley Failure
I had mentioned that Hundley was garbage on Sunday. The Packers won despite his play. But let’s look at just how bad Hundley was. You don’t have to look any further than his receivers for that. Jordy Nelson had five catches for 17 yards, a 3.4 average. The Packers might as well just turn him into a running back at this point. Randall Cobb didn’t have a catch or a target. The Packers’ tight ends, as has been the case lately, combined for one catch and 11 yards. The one good thing Hundley did was run seven times for 66 yards. The Packers are a frickin’ read-option offense until Aaron Rodgers returns.
A Rare Showing From the Secondary
The Packers had no answer for Tampa Bay running back Peyton Barber, who piled up 143 total yards. However, they did have some answers to the Buccaneers passing game. Most of us were convinced the Packers would get torched by Mike Evans. The big receiver had just two catches for 33 yards. The other big gun, Desean Jackson was held to two for 24 yards. Look, we’re not going to pat the Packers’ secondary on the back too much. Their success was greatly aided by the team’s seven sacks. However, they did manage to slow the two main guys they had to slow to find success.
And A Spark In the Return Game
Other than quarterback play, the Packers were pretty solid everywhere else for a change. That includes special teams, where Trevor Davis finally looked like a viable kickoff returner. Davis provided a spark on kickoff returns, averaging 30.3 with a long of 33. You can see by those two numbers he was consistently good. This is the first time I can recall that happening. It’s also the first time in a while it looked like the Packers were threat to take one to the house.
A New Direction In the Middle
Blake Martinez has been a pretty consistent presence in the middle of the Packers’ defense, this season. Although I’d love to see more splash plays, he’s been solid all around. Jake Ryan, on the other hand, has seen his snap counts fluctuate wildly throughout the year. That’s changed over the past three weeks. He’s seen between 43 and 52 snaps. Ryan hasn’t been great, but he recorded 10 tackles and his first NFL sack on Sunday. It appears he’s pushed Joe Thomas out of the lineup and that’s where Joe Thomas belongs — out of the lineup.
Playing Not To Lose
“You play to win the game!” Unless you’re Mike McCarthy. Then sometimes you play not to lose. Fat Mike got awfully conservative at the end of this one. And I get it, your quarterback sucks and you don’t want him blowing the damn thing. It still bears mentioning. McCarthy played for the tying field goal with 6:02 left in the game. He turned it over to his defense with two minutes left and we’ve seen how that’s turned out lately. And then, surprisingly, the defense held. The Packers actually get the ball back with 44 seconds left and a shot to do something. Naturally, three and out on short pass (incomplete), short pass (loss of two), desperation heave. That’s the best you two clowns could muster there? It worked out in the end, but that being said, overtime hasn’t been kind to the Packers lately.