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Starting quarterback Brian Griese had a quiet first couple of drives to start the game. After linebacker Derrick Brooks interception, the Bucs started at the Packer 42 yard-line. Griese led a six-play 32-yard drive for a touchdown. He had a key 13-yard pass to wide receiver Antonio Bryant on a third-and-6. That set up a first-and-goal from the nine-yard line. Griese did a play-action bootleg to his left, he dumped the pass off to tight end Alex Smith who cruised into the end zone and tie the game at seven.
In the first half Griese threw for 84 yards on completing nine of 19 passes with one touchdown. The disappointing thing about Griese's play was not leading the team in to touchdowns on two drives that started on the Packers' side of the field. The Buccaneers had three drives in a row start in Packer territory and converted one into a touchdown and the other two were field goals. With a potent offense like Green Bay, the Bucs put more pressure on their defense by not producing touchdowns on some of those drives.
On the first drive of the second half Griese's first pass came inside the Packers 20 yard-line. He hit Clayton in the hands but the receiver couldn't hold onto the ball and Green Bay snatched the ball away for an interception.
The turnovers from the passing offense continued in the third quarter. At first-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 40-yard line Griese threw a pass short for tight end Jerramy Stevens. The ball was easily picked off by Packer safety Nick Collins and returned to mid-field. The interception led to a 48-yard touchdown pass for Green Bay.
Griese kept giving the ball to the Packers in the fourth quarter. On a third-and-3 at midfield, Griese tried to throw a dump off pass to Warrick Dunn in the flat, but the route was jumped by Green Bay' Charles Woodson who picked off the pass and raced 62 yards to the end zone. The play resulted in Tampa Bay blowing it's lead and going down 21-20 in the fourth quarter.
After the interception, Griese only dropped back to pass once more in the game. On a third-and-2 Griese scrambled and ran for the first down. Four plays later kicker Matt Bryant nailed the game-winning score.
Griese finished the game 15 for 30 for 149 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. His quarterback rating was 36.0. Griese helped lead the Bucs to 327 yards of total offense.
GAME GRADE: C-
Earnest Graham was not running at a good clip in the first half, but he did convert a few third-and-1 situations into first downs for Tampa Bay. Graham also ran for a first down on fourth-and-1 on the Bucs final drive of the first half. In the first half, Graham ran for eight yards on seven carries with one reception for three yards.
Graham got going better in the second half with a 19-yard run after he made a great cutback to get downfield. Graham success in the second-half was to the tune of 103 yards, and for the third time this season he broke out a long run at a critical time in the game. With a little more than two minutes left, Graham broke off a 47 yard run to the Green Bay two-yard line. The next play Graham lined up at fullback and plunged ahead two yards for the game clinching touchdown.
Other than Graham's long run he did not have a high average per carry, but he converted a number of third-and-1 situations and a fourth-and-1. Overall, Graham ran the ball 20 times for 111 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry with one touchdown.
Dunn had some nice productive plays for the Bucs in the first half. The highlight among those a short catch from Griese where Dunn broke a tackle from linebacker Nick Barnett and ran to the Packers 10-yard line. The play went for 17 yards and helped set up the Bucs first field goal and put them ahead 10-7. In the first half, Dunn ran for 23 yards on six carries with two catches for 23 yards. Dunn did not catch a pass in the second half, and finished the game with 16 rushes for 63 yards.
Fullback Byron Storer had a good game lead blocking in place of starting fullback B.J. Askew. Storer did not have any carries or receptions, but for a backup fullback getting his first extended action of the year Storer had a good effort.
GAME GRADE: B+
For the second straight game the Bucs were without starting wide receiver Joey Galloway. Taking his place as the split end was Antonio Bryant. After a breakout performance at Chicago, Bryant had a more average game although he led the team in receptions and receiving yards with four and 39 respectively. Bryant's long reception of 17 yards took the Bucs to the 40-yard line but Griese threw an interception on the next play.
The Buccaneers went to Bryant often in the game and he had a number of passes intended for him that were broken up by defenders keeping pace with him. Bryant was also sent deep on a few throws, but those plays, like a number of others, Bryant did not get separation from the defenders. On a bomb downfield, Bryant was knocked down by Packer safety Aaron Rouse, who was called for pass interference. The penalty went for 33 yards and put the Bucs into Packer territory. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Griese finished the drive by throwing the interception to Woodson that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown.
Michael Clayton got active in the first half with a four-yard rush on an end-around. Clayton also was open on a few passes but was not seen by Griese. At about mid-field, Clayton dropped a pass as he tried to run with the ball. It would have gone for a nice gain. The veteran receiver made up for it four plays later as he caught a pass in the flat on 3rd-and-12. Clayton was a good seven yards short of the first down but he broke a few tackles and went through a Packer that got him down just short of the first down. That set up a makeable fourth-and-1 that Graham converted into a first down.
Clayton then had a bad mistake in the second half. With the Bucs driving on the first drive after halftime, Griese threw to Clayton who had the ball in his hands as he was tackled. Clayton didn't hold onto the ball and allowed it to flip into the air as he went down. The Packers Tramon Williams grabbed the ball and raced up field to the Packer 44 yard line. It was a critical play that helped keep Green Bay stay in the game when the Bucs had taken the momentum. Clayton also had a 10-yard pass interference penalty that put the Bucs into a long 2nd-and-18 situation, which the Bucs failed to convert.
Wide receiver Ike Hilliard had a quiet game with two catches for 21 yards. Hilliard made a miraculous catch leaping and hauling in a 13-yard pass as Woodson hit him. Hilliard was the target on a few other incompletions, but overall did not have much of an impact on the game.
The Buccaneers wide receivers did not make produce many big plays, and they were facing a weakened Packer secondary without starting cornerback Al Harris and safety Atari Bigby. The receivers did not have a big opportunity as Tampa Bay threw 30 passes and Griese only completed 15 of them.
GAME GRADE: C
The Bucs tight ends continued their touchdown streak. For the third straight game a tight end hauled in a score. Smith joined his fellow tight ends when he grabbed a nine-yard touchdown. He beat defensive end Michael Montgomery on a play-action where he initially blocked and then peeled off from the line. Montgomery tried to grab Smith's foot, but the tight end kept his feet and cruised into the end zone.
Smith also grabbed a 17-yard catch in the fourth quarter. He found a soft spot in the zone and Griese found him after scrambling. It was not all good for Smith as he was flagged for a holding penalty in the third quarter that put the Bucs in a bad first-and-20 situation at the Tampa Bay 20-yard line. For the game Smith totaled two catches for 26 yards
Smith wasn't the only Buccaneer tight end that had a costly holding penalty, John Gilmore did on the final play of the third quarter. At the Tampa Bay 32-yard line, Graham broke a ran outside off the right side and ran for 11 yards, but Gilmore's penalty negated the run. Gilmore did convert a first down for Tampa Bay with the Bucs backed up inside their own 20. Gilmore's nine-yard gain gave the Bucs some breathing room. Smith's 17-yard catch was a few plays later. That was Gilmore's only catch of the game.
Stevens was the target for a touchdown pass on third-and-five from the Packers five-yard line. Green Bay linebacker A.J. Hawk broke up the high pass to Stevens. Stevens did not record a catch in the game, but was the target on the interception that was grabbed by Collins.
The tight ends did a good job of blocking again. They helped seal the edge on a number of quality runs from Dunn and Graham. The penalties the Bucs tight ends incurred prevent them from having a higher grade, but overall they had a solid performance.
GAME GRADE: B
For the second straight the week the Bucs offensive line did not allow Griese to be sacked. Griese had good time to throw the ball, keeping up the solid pass protection that the Buccaneers produced last week in Chicago. Left tackle Donald Penn, left guard Arron Sears, center Jeff Faine, right guard Jeremy Zuttah, and right tackle Jeremy Trueblood performed excellently. However similarly to the Chicago game, Tampa Bay had trouble running in the first half.
The line made some adjustments at half time and the Bucs were able to run the ball much better in the second half. While they ran much better in the second half. All game the line did a great job of opening holes on third-and-1 situations.
On third-and-1 on the second drive of the game, the offensive line got enough push behind the right side of Trueblood and Zuttah. Trueblood had some rough moments, a false start and having to leave the game in the third quarter with an injury. Trueblood returned to the field a play later. Graham continued to have success behind the Bucs line on third and short situations. On fourth-and-1 Graham ran behind the right side of the offensive line. Graham also had another critical third-and-1 converted midway through the fourth quarter.
Sears went out with injury during the third drive but came back after a few plays. Sears had some struggles in his pass protection, which has become a reoccurring theme this season. While he allowed some pressures, he did not allow his quarterback to be sacked and has improved his pass protection from the home opener against Atlanta where he was beaten often.
In the first half the Bucs had nine first downs and converted three of eight third downs. They ran for 34 yards and threw for 84 yards. They controlled the ball for 15:18 seconds, which was less than a minute more than Green Bay.
In the second half the Bucs started out with more success running the ball on their first drive. Graham had a 19-yard behind great blocks from Faine to help open a big cutback lane for Graham. Sears made great block on the second level for Graham to race up field. Both Dunn and Graham found more holes and had numerous runs of five or more yards in the third and fourth quarter.
The line then helped finish off the win for the Buccaneers when they hit all their blocks on Graham's 47-yard run. The next play was Graham's two-yard touchdown run.
The offensive line had their most complete game of the season. Not allowing a sack for the second straight game and providing Griese good time to throw against some of the better defensive ends in football in Aaron Kampman and Cullen Jenkins. They also led the way for the Bucs to rush for 178 yards, and produce 327 yards in total offense. Tampa Bay also won the time of possession battle by controlling the ball for 36:50.