Packers Periscope: '85 Blizzard Wizards, A Full Infirmary and More

In this week's Periscope, we close the door on the Cutlet Cluster in Jersey, put on out parkas and reminisce in a blizzard game of epic proportions and put Bucco Bruce in our sights.

Well, I don't think any of us quite expected that flashback to October on Monday Night in the Meadowlands, but alas, the Packers stunk it up in a 24-22 loss to... sigh... Tommy DeVito and the Giants. It was truly a comedy of errors where if one goes the other way, they likely win. But this is what happens when you have a team this young with injuries in key spots. The margin for error shrinks. And even with so many errors, Jordan Love led a nearly-game-winning drive, hitting Malik Heath for an awesome touchdown and even better celebration. While the Packers remain in the 7 spot, every game will be extra magnified. The schedule remains navigable, but not with efforts like that.

And that sound you just heard was door slamming shut on last week. NO MORE! It's Bucs week at Lambeau, and what a fascinating history we have with the former division rival (hilarious they were ever in the same division, isn't it?). So let's raise up the periscope, locate Bucco Bruce's pirate ship and look at the past, present and future of the Bucs and Packers.

The Past

All-time, the Packers lead the series with Tampa Bay 34-23-1. Green Bay won the most recent installment, a 14-12 win in Tampa and, at the time, huge win early in the season. It wasn't revenge, surely, but it did help get a bit of a monkey off Aaron Rodgers's back as he was finally able to beat a Tom Brady-led team. The matchup before that? We know what happened. That's all I'd like to write about it. There have been plenty of big moments between these two teams. The game-I-refuse-to-acknowledge in 2021, the Clifton game... but the one I want to look back on took place December 1, 1985. With 10 inches of snow in a fantastic blizzard, the city of Green Bay's roads and infrastructure was halted. However, somehow, the game was played in front of a sparse crowd. 

Not surprisingly, the Florida-based Bucs were unable to do a single thing. It was all Packers, from start to finish, starting with a Lynn Dickey touchdown run in the second. Then, in the third quarter, Gerry Ellis ran in a touchdown from 35 yards out and the scoring was wrapped up in the fourth on a Jessie Clark run to nail the coffin shut at 21-0. It was a game to push the Packers to 8-8, matching their 1984 output. While the season itself was forgettable, this game in particular lives on in Packers lore.

The Packers Legacy documentary from a few years uses some wonderful storytelling and footage to paint the picture of what these players were going through (25:30 mark).



The Present

The Bucs sail into Lambeau currently in first place in the NFC South, tied with the Falcons and Saints at 6-7. It's a huge game for the Creamsicles as well, looking to keep their momentum going in the division and wild card races. Led by now journeyman quarterback Baker Mayfield, Tampa has plenty of firepower at the skill positions. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are still stalwarts on the outside, and running back Rachaad White hit 100 yards for the second time in three games last week in the big win against Atlanta. But defensively, this isn't the same group that thwarted the 2020 teams plans to go to the Super Bowl. In fact, this group has allowed the second-most passing yards in the NFL, but tough against the run allowing under 4 YPC. As far as QB success against the defense, the Bucs and Packers are almost identical, allowing just over 65% completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks. Regardless, it's a very feisty team that's capable of knocking off this Packers group, winning three of five to keep alive in the divisional chase.

I was going to just avoid any Joe Barry talk this week, but he must have a better plan this week. Two hundred rushing yards will not cut it, and this Tampa team is much more formidable than the Giants. Unacceptable from top to bottom, and something needs to change or Rachaad White will run rampant.

The Future

Noon kick Lambeau time, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI. It doesn't appear that we'll get another Snow Bowl like in 1985, with a high in the low-40s expected. As for the Vegas side of things, the Packers enter the game as 3.5-point favorites. I have a feeling Packers fans may be a little pessimistic about that spread given Monday's efforts. With an over/under of 41.5, perhaps we'll get some scoring which, based on both stats and the eye test, just may happen. Given the passing defense woes for the Bucs, it feels like an opportunity for Jordan Love to get into rhythm early. However, a lot remains to be seen from an injury standpoint as both Dontayvion Wicks and Jayden Reed suffered late-game injuries, with 13's seemingly rather serious. Getting Aaron Jones and Jaire Alexander back would be a huge boost, with Christian Watson likely needing more time.

Look, if we've learned anything by now, is that this team is a mixed bag. While the lackluster effort Monday caught us maybe off guard, unexpected is just what you can expect from this team. As an optimist, I like to think Monday was a harsh lesson in focus and rhythm. But those only take you so far. An offense void of Aaron Jones, Luke Musgrave, Christian Watson, Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks is not an offense capable of success. It just isn't. So let's collectively cross our fingers on some breaks on the health front and a better focused effort from the Pack this week. As always, I can't wait to find out.




Tony Wilson takes pride in journalism training from 2/3 of directional-Michigan MAC schools. A former Sporting News writer, Tony now focuses on the Packers from his home in Toledo, OH. His beer of choice is a Miller Lite from the bottom of the cooler. You can find him on Twitter @GlassCityPack.


NFL Categories: 
2 points

Comments (3)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
MitchAnthony's picture

December 13, 2023 at 01:17 pm

One of the takeaways I got from the article was: Lynn Dickey rushed for the first touchdown. Lynn Dickey actually rushed for a TD! That was his only rushing TD of the 1985 season. In that game GB had 512 yards of total offense and made 31 first downs. Dickey also threw for 299 that day with Lofton being over 100 at half-time. What a great memory to bring back.

The other takeaway was this one: ... with Christian Watson likely needing more time. I think we are going to get used to seeing this one pop up into the future. Going into this game I worry more about not having Reed and Wicks than Watson. Watson has been a luxury thus far and those other two have been playing more reliably.

What is the story with Toure? In any of the game action he doesn't seem bad at all. Is he too slow? Is he not smart enough for the playbook and route trees? Is everyone else just that much better? He certainly doesn't seem to have a dropsies problem. Usually a pass delivered towards him that's catchable is caught as we've seen even last season. Is he in a doghouse over something? My guess is we will see some action from him against TB because, we have to (maybe even a sweep or two). If anyone knows...I'm interested.

The sweep thing was joke,... I hope.

1 points
Tundraboy's picture

December 13, 2023 at 05:37 pm

Good stuff.
"Lynn Dickey rushed for the first touchdown. Lynn Dickey actually rushed for a TD! That was his only rushing TD of the 1985 season."

I remember that play! If I remember correctly it was a big surprise, because with his knees, we had to hold our breath as it was without much running.

0 points
T7Steve's picture

December 13, 2023 at 01:22 pm

"December 22, 1985. With 10 inches of snow in a fantastic blizzard, the city of Green Bay's roads and infrastructure was halted."

I was driving home from the U.P. to Sturgeon Bay while the game was being played in my 77 Montecarlo. There had been nobody on HWY 41 (as usual during games) and I was plowing snow with my front bumper. Got to an overpass swinging North of the stadium and it was black ice under the snow and I was at a standstill listening to the rest of the game till a snowplow finally came along. Was wondering how the fans were going to get home.

I always think about us drunk fans trying to get home in December when the networks love scheduling those late and night games in Green Bay.

This game will go as the O and D-lines go. Won't matter who the guys filling in for the hurt guys are if the lines can't do some snowplowing of their own.

1 points