Packers 26 Buccaneers 20 (OT): Game Balls & Lame Calls

The Green Bay Packers' goal of winning 10 games for a second-straight year remains alive.  They took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to overtime at Lambeau Field and took the ball into the end zone for the win.  It evened their record at 6-6 and allowed them to take advantage of losses by key playoff contenders.

On to the good and bad on the day.

Game Balls

Jamaal Williams

Williams was the prototypical workhorse for the Packers.  Over 20 carries and over 100 yards rushing and a hard-fought touchdown.  Williams is making the Packers look brilliant for using a fourth-round pick on him and he gets better each week.  

Williams was looking to initiate contact at the end of runs in this game and that's the type of thing that shows up on film and gets into the heads of opposing defenders.  He wants the ball and has now shown that he'll do good things with it in his hands.

The only downside on the day was watching Williams work his way through the game only to see his counterpart pull of an incredible single run to close out the day.  If that's the worst thing for Williams he's going to be just fine.

Clay Matthews

Just when all of the talk about Matthews has been what the Packers will do with his contract after this season, he has himself a game.  He might not be the disruptor that he was early in his career, but nearly three sacks on the day isn't too bad for a guy many thought was washed up.

One sack came when Matthews chased down Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston from behind after getting into the backfield.  That's not something we've seen a lot of from Matthews this season and it's a hint of the Matthews of old.  If he's peaking this season, now is the time for him to do it.

Dean Lowry

Lowry has come into his own in year two and shined bright in this game.  He had a 62-yard fumble recovery and return for a score to put the Packers ahead early on.  Lowry added in a sack as well.  He brings the attitude and has become a key part of the rotation up front in the defense.  

We could be seeing the springboard season of a player that is in for a memorable career in Green Bay.

Aaron Jones

One carry, one incredible cut back and a victory Lambeau Leap.  Jones returned from a two week absence and stood on the sideline most of the game.  Enter the overtime period and the Packers having just reached the red zone.  Jones took his lone carry on the day to the middle where there was nothing to be had.  Jones cut back outside and, with the help of a nice Jordy Nelson block, outran the Bucs defense on his way to a walk off touchdown.  

Jones was doing incredible things for the run game before his injury.  He picked up right where he left off, showing no signs of rust or ill-effects from his off field issues earlier this season. 

To have Jones and Williams together in the backfield is a huge plus.  To have them be this effective and paired with a certain All-Pro quarterback is a pretty dreamy scenario.

Lame Calls

Defending the Wide Receiver Screen

This isn't a specific player but this has been an issue all season long.  The defense is constantly stumped by the receiver screen and opposing offenses are not only succeeding with it, but they're converting long down-and-distances against the Packers.

It's the future of offenses, getting the ball out quick to a playmaker and block everyone in sight.  But the Packers have to figure out a way to get to the ball carrier sooner.  Whether it's more scheme or attitude, this continues to stump Green Bay's defense and they have to get it figured out.

Greg Jennings

This is more tongue-in-cheek than anything.  Jennings is new to the broadcast booth and clearly there are a lot of opinions about Jennings among Packers fans.  Some joked that they were looking forward to muting the TV audio and watching without sound or with another sound feed. 

Many are clearly still fed up with the sound of Jennings' voice and he has talked his way out of favor with many Packers fans, also many Packers players if we're being honest.  He had some good insight but he still has some work to do in getting comfortable analyzing the action on the field.  

He referred to the production meeting that the analysts have leading up to the game.  OK, we get it, you did some research and talked through some relevant talking points.  Pro tip: You don't always have to source all of your thoughts back to the conversation in which they were hatched.

 

Others to mention:

  • Mike Daniels has a motor.  That is all
  • Nelson had eight targets on the day and a game-high five catches.  It appeared as though Hundley was trying to get him more involved early.  Whether it was the game plan or Hundley's own efforts, it's always good to see #87 with the ball.  He's been far less active since the Rodgers injury and this has been a slight glimpse of life after Nelson.  He's said he wants to play two or three more seasons.  The Packers have a lot of work to do in finding someone comparable that can play his role
  • Davante Adams had some nice runs after the catch.  Were it not for the footing on the field, he might have dazzled even more.  He's the clear go-to guy in this offense and seems to add more dollars to his next contract with every passing week
  • Brett Hundley may never get to throw a touchdown pass at Lambeau Field.  If Aaron Rodgers returns in two weeks and finishes out the season, Hundley will theoretically not see the field again.  And hopefully he's not thrust into any significant action next season because of an absence by Rodgers.  Hundley's struggles at home are hard to explain
  • Give the Packers offensive line some credit for the big day on the ground, nearly 200 yards
  • Blake Martinez leads the Packers in tackles in yet another game.  Ho hum.  Except that it's not really when considering that Martinez is quickly becoming a true stud in this defense and a real gem from last year's draft, which also yielded Lowry and Kenny Clark
  • Josh Hawkins nearly had an interception and broke up another pass later on.  He looked bad last week on a touchdown to Antonio Brown but Hawkins makes just as many plays as he misses.  Given more time and confidence, he has the makings of a player who could be out there every down
  • The Packers absolutely can't afford a letdown next week against a winless Cleveland Browns team.  C-A-N-T

 

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (30)

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croatpackfan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 06:21 am

Here, I read a lot of complaints on Fackrell. I think he deserves game ball for his ST performance as well...

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:36 am

I've complained about Fackrell. He seems to be playing faster and with much better leverage. I've never been a fan of older rookies because it seams like they struggle to adjust to the game speed. Let's hope Fackrell continues to improve!

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croatpackfan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 08:09 am

I did not mean nothing rude. I was amongst group who had ask where is he, but when he shows himself, I think it should be noticed, as well.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 04, 2017 at 10:09 am

No worries :)

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Nick Perry's picture

December 04, 2017 at 06:58 am

Game Balls...O-Line...I've been critical as hell of this team this year so when they play a decent game I've got to give them the credit when due. I didn't even hear Spriggs name called all day. I especially like the job Jahri Evans has done on the O-Line,

Williams..Obviously but now he's finding the cracks and creases to run through opposed to the ones on his O-Linemen rear ends that he runs up. Williams and Jones could form a very nice tandem actually.

McCarthy ACTUALLY calling the read option, taking advantage of Hundley's best quality..His Legs! That 20 yard run was exactly what they needed and had been there all game.

LUCK....The Packers actually had a little on Sunday.

Lame Calls....The first 3 plays McCarthy called in the 3rd quarter to open the 2nd half. 3 straight 2 or 3 yard passes and a 3 & out. It seemed to set the tome for the second half offensively for the Packers which except for the last 2 times they touched the ball on offense was just awful.

The punt return by Trevor Davis before the Packers game tying drive. He started, stopped, and started again only to get tackled right away. My question is why did he stop and then go forward in the same direction in the first place? That was really an ugly punt return. Just RUN Forest RUN!

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:02 am

Highlighting some of your points.

"I didn't even hear Spriggs name called all day."
-I agree, and when I did focus on Spriggs I thought he did really well. Maybe, just maybe there is some hope after all for him.

"Williams..Obviously but now he's finding the cracks and creases to run.
Williams and Jones could form a very nice tandem actually"
-It looks like the game is slowing down for Williams. We are starting to see what we saw in college with him. I love the Williams/Jones tandem.

"McCarthy ACTUALLY calling the read option"
-I think at that point McCarthy had no choice. Hundley was terrible. Hopefully he calls a lot more of it next week. I would love to see them do a lot more stuff with it. Watching the Eagles last night, I think Hundley could do really well in that style of offense.

"Lame Calls....The first 3 plays McCarthy called in the 3rd quarter to open the 2nd half. 3 straight 2 or 3 yard passes and a 3 & out"
-I mentioned this in my post as well, but I hated those 3 calls. Now I don't know if those were called pass plays or if Hundley checked to them. But regardless they failed to use Williams who ran 11 times for 66 yards in the first half.

"The punt return by Trevor Davis before the Packers game tying drive. He started, stopped, and started again only to get tackled right away. My question is why did he stop and then go forward in the same direction in the first place?"
- I thought the same thing. It appeared he could have gained 5-10 more yards running straight up the sideline. He went to cut it back and realized there was someone there so he couldn't cut back. But in a situation like that he has to just get as many yards as he can.
Overall I thought he did well though.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:38 am

"McCarthy had no choice"

McCarthy waiting until he has no choice is general issue with the Packers.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:59 am

Problem with Hundley is he is an inconsistent tease... He does something good one time then the next time he simply doesn't do it.

Making throws, one time he will put the ball in the perfect spot, next time the ball sails way over the guys head.

Decision making, one time he just cuts the ball loose on time. Next time he doesn't.
One time he pulls the ball down to run, next time he takes a sack.

Going through progressions. One time he goes through all of his progressions, next time he locks onto 1 WR.

For a play caller, how do you call plays based on that?
While the read option worked and they should do more of it, they can't live on it exclusively.
But honestly at this point maybe they should completely redo the offense to that style. Whats it going to hurt?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 04, 2017 at 11:48 am

Well, I thought they had 3 years together?

I'm in the boat of veteran backups now. It takes at least 10 games to know what you have. Not knowing is unacceptable when your built around the QB.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 12:37 pm

We all know what that was about. McCarthy standing up for his QB.

To be fair, how do we know he didn't go to Thompson and said we need a veteran and Thompson said no? We have no idea about those discussions behind closed doors.

I agree for the most part. But has to be the right backup too. This is a neat article back in May. looking at the list (obviously a lot has changed since then), but out of that list of backup QB's who do you like?
https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/05/15/ranking-nfl-backup-quarterbacks

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flackcatcher's picture

December 04, 2017 at 09:29 pm

Even before this season began, the QB situation in the NFL was causing serious questions about the CBA/training camp. In a QB driven league, to call the play at that position underwhelming is a gross understatement. NFL is getting what they deserve, and we fans are suffering for that.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 06:53 am

Game Balls:
Exactly the same as Jason. One correction Jason. Williams was a 4th round pick.

Williams - He brings some juice to the offense. I love his attitude and energy. His TD run was impressive. He gets hit at the 3 and drives the guy into the endzone. He runs with some serious power. It seemed like when he was getting a first down carry he was gaining at least 5+ yards per carry. Williams looks like a perfect cold weather type of RB.

Mathews had a hell of a game. 2.5 sacks is a great game by anyone.

Lowry came up HUGE. While he basically had Winston throw him a TD pass, that play was huge for the team. On a day that Hundley really struggled getting a huge defensive TD really helped. Lowry also came up huge later in the game with a big sack. This was the game most of us were waiting on Lowry from the preseason. Hopefully he elevates his game now.

Jones - 1 carry, 20 yards, 1 TD... Thats just incredible. Jones is explosive and has great vision. As much as I really like Williams I don't know if he makes that play. Jones is special.

Moving forward I hope to see a lot of Jones/Williams combo.

Lame Calls:
Hundley - He was bad again at Lambeau. About the best thing he did was he realized his arm was not going to win them the game and he took off running. He finished the game 13/22 for 84 yards 0 TD's and 1 Int for a rating of 48.3. HORRIBLE!!!

But he did add 7 runs for 66 yards. That was the best part of his game, was his running.

Play Calling/Offense efficiency - I don't want to rip McCarthy to much but in the first half Williams had 11 carries 66 yards. The first drive of the 2nd half he calls 3 pass plays. Now I don't know if those were called runs and checked to pass plays, but I will put the blame on Play Calling in general. That drive ended in a 3 and out.
The next drive they ran Williams on first and he got 5 yards. 2nd down they threw the ball (incomplete), 3rd down Hundley was sacked. 3 and out.
Next drive Williams gets 8 yards on first down. Then takes a 3 yard loss on the next carry then Hundley throws incomplete. 3 and out.

Packers first 3 of 4 possessions in the 2nd half ended in 3 and out.

Finally the 4th possession they got going, and in overtime they basically just ran the ball down the field. Doing a lot of read option.
I hope McCarthy looks strongly at the read option plays next week and run more with it.

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dobber's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:54 am

Brett Hundley is a poor man's Tyrod Taylor. I'll let that sink in...

The Packers showed very little read-option up 'til this point. On a day where the QB could get nothing going through the air, playing to his strengths in this way just made too much sense, eh? But now it's on film, and Cleveland is actually pretty good against the run...as is Carolina...and Minnesota. No one will be unprepared for it from here on.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 08:02 am

Honestly. I would rather have Taylor as our backup QB.

If we had Taylor as our backup QB instead of Hundley I think we probably would have 1-2 more wins right now.

Thats exactly why I don't think they can live off of the read option. Teams are going to prepare for it. They need to mix it in more often, but can't live off of it.

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dobber's picture

December 04, 2017 at 08:20 am

I beat on Taylor, but I think he's better than he's given credit for (which doesn't really say much). You're right, though: I think he (Taylor) is ideally suited to be a backup in this league where his ability to run and improvise can compensate for the reduced snaps a #2 gets in practice.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 12:39 pm

I still don't get what the Bills were doing with him when they benched him in favor of Peterman. That seemed like a move that came from the owners.

I think Taylor is a perfect backup type of QB. Has experience, and can make plays with his legs to help win games.
Now we know he will want to start somewhere, and perhaps he does. But he maybe a viable option next year.

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Houndog's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:25 am

For the first time in a long time I have to applaud McPuffy for his call on the winning touchdown.
After the all day bruising, pounding, power running of Williams who ran like a smaller, niftier, hungrier version of Eddy Lacy, it was the perfect time to change it up.
The quicker more elusive Jones left the Tampa defenders holding their jocks with their jaws on the ground.
So even though the replay clearly shows that this was all Jones, kudos Mike, good call!

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nostradanus's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:26 am

*Most of us were calling for more Read Option stuff with Hundley from the start. I guess it took desperation for Stubborn Mike to figure out that Hundley isn't Rodgers.

*Great to see last years draft choices making an impact Clark, Fackrell, Spriggs, Martinez, I would still like to see Davis more on the WR screen!

*And speaking of the WR screen, come on man! The Packers are so bad at defending the screen! Wow.

*The Defense really stepped up with sacks, a Td and tough play, but I still will repeat for the hearing impaired,
FIRE DOM CAPERS!

*I have to admit I was too quick to judge Jamall Williams, dude is a workhorse in the mold of Edgar Bennett and Aaron Jones is the perfect lightning to Williams Thunder.

*This Vogel kid is pretty darned good for a rookie Punter

*The best thing to come out of this victory and even to some extent last weeks game against the Steelers.
The Packers are playing with more attitude and are finding ways to play better as a team without Aaron Rodgers, it will make them a much better and more balanced team once A-Rodg gets back in the saddle.

*WE LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER WEEK!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 04, 2017 at 11:50 am

Martinez's Eddie Munster look at the OT coinflip made the whole game worth it.

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MITM's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:28 am

With all the Martinez talk and rightfully so, Jake Ryan has been playing pretty well also the last couple of weeks.

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GVPacker's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:51 am

If the Packers can win a game without Aaron Rodgers thats an ACHIEVEMENT worthy of praise! Next week it's on to Cleveland and we hope and prey that if the Browns can win one game this season it won't be against the Packers. Boys lets keep our fingers crossed and see if the Packers can run the table!!!

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Packer Fan's picture

December 04, 2017 at 08:11 am

So I was able to go to the game. The third quarter was frustrating. Three straight three and outs for the offense. And Tampa Bay just grinding out first down after first down. When the Pack went for the tie with the field goal, I just thought that the Bucs would just grind out enough yardage to get a field and end the game. But the holding penalty put them in a hole and the defense rose to the occasion. Then the terrible series to end the game. Ouch. And then the overtime drive. A scramble, a read option, a nice short pass to Williams and the Packers had a chance. Wow, what a finish.

There was no downfield passing game yesterday. It appeared that any event that would disrupt the flow of the play and Hundley didn't know what to do. On the roll out when Hundley stumbled, Nelson was still wide open and Hundley couldn't see him and then started scrambling.

So the only chance this season has is to win in Cleveland and then hope Rodgers comes back. The OT drive was good play calling. The Pack need to do more of that in Cleveland. The read option gives another dimension with Hundley playing. So, MM, pull out the stops!

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dobber's picture

December 04, 2017 at 08:26 am

They should be able to compete in Cleveland (did I really just type that?). Win there and it sets the table for high drama in the case of #12. Is he healed enough to be cleared to play or not? The way we talk about him, we seem to feel that it will really just be a management decision as to whether or not they activate him from IR...but he's got to be healed enough to be cleared. Even if they win next week, there's not a lot of certainty after that. And I see no way a Hundley-led offense is going to run the table.

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pacman's picture

December 04, 2017 at 08:23 am

"Hundley will theoretically not see the field again."

We can only hope!

We won't be drafting any RB's but we sure will be drafting a QB. The only question is - will it be the same clowns that think Hundley 'has it'. If Hundley is on this team next year, that could only mean the MM is still there.

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dobber's picture

December 04, 2017 at 08:41 am

Hundley's got one more year on his contract, so I feel pretty confident he'll be in GB next fall at least as a #3. The question is: do you draft a QB or do you sign a guy like Blake Bortles or (as we were mentioning before) Tyrod Taylor, who might get cut? If you draft a QB and insert him ahead of Hundley, then yes, you might as well cut Hundley.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 04, 2017 at 09:41 pm

Hell, sign Matt Flynn (yes. seriously) as QB 2. Yes he is old, but he knows MM system, and can lead and keep the Packers in the game in a QB driven league. Hundley is better than Taylor at this point, and Bortles, no thank you. Team killer. Where the NFL is at today, it may take a minimum of 3 years to get a QB ready for the pro system.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 04, 2017 at 10:58 am

Hundley = Jerry Tagge

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:27 pm

I still wish we could have seen Joe Callahan at some point over those past 3 4 5 games

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al bundy's picture

December 04, 2017 at 08:39 pm

First, the bucks were God awful and almost won. There head coach is a moron. Winston looked like he was on drugs. Don't know how someone can regress so much in three years.
Bucks o line is non existent and defense isn't much better. It was a great time for the pack to play them.
Huntley is just not good. Against any decent defense, he would not survive. He is not even back up quality.
His avg yard per pass in college, 8 yrds. Can't read a d can't pass long with confidence.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 05, 2017 at 01:39 am

TB was a team tailor made for CM3. Perry, Daniels, Clark and Lowry all produced pressure, and CM3 can still really move. A lot of folks are overrating Martinez.

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