If you’re trying to look for positives following the Bucs’, 20-3, loss to Green Bay at home, their effort on defense is a good place to start.
It was far from perfect, as Rodgers finished 31-of-40 for 318 yards, but they made key stops throughout the contest, keeping it within reach until the fourth quarter.
“You just control what you can control,” said Akeem Spence. “We got takeaways, we forced Aaron Rodgers to make some errant throws, slowed down their run game pretty much the whole game, and we kept making the stops when we needed to.”
The Packers came into the game ranked third overall in scoring offense, averaging 31.1 points a game, and eleventh in red zone efficiency. On Sunday Aaron Rodgers and company were held in check in both categories, exemplified best by the goal line stand on the Packers’ first possession of the second half.
“It’s big anytime you can stop their offense from scoring,” said Michael Johnson, who had a sack fumble in the first quarter. “We we’re able to stop them on downs after being that close (to scoring).”
“That is definitely big because if they get in, they go ahead another seven points, instead they got no points,” Spence said. “It gave out offense a chance.”
The offense wasn’t able to build off the momentum following the impressive stand, however.
After a rare third down conversion coming off a 17-yard pass to Mike Evans, they quickly regressed. First and second down gained six yards total, before McCown was sacked on third-and-4 by Mike Neal, who came in unblocked.
The drive summed up the offenses’ afternoon – and season. But from a defensive perspective, players see that type of composure and resiliency as promise for the future.
“It shows the heart that late in the season we still continue to fight and battle,” Johnson said. “It’s good to see. It would be easier to just mail it in right now but we are still fighting, going out there and competing. And that’s big for ending the season and going into next.”
“Our confidence is there, we slowed down a really good football team,” Spence said. “Going into next week our confidence is still high. Obviously we want to get the win, but we have to keep working.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
The defense is indeed a bright spot. It’s the sole reason you don’t see the pitchforks and torches out for Lovie Smith since the offense is terrible and the ST would be terrible also if it weren’t for the emergence of P. Murray. The players are still playing hard and the games are still competitive. He’s earned at least one more season to see what he can do with, well for starters an OC.
With any semblance of offense, the defense played well enough to win. The statistics are skewed because Green Bay was able to keep getting possession after possession almost doubled the Buccaneers’ time with the ball.
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