Packers hold off Bucs after fast start

by Gary Shelton on September 25, 2022

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

The electric ending dampened some of the disappointment for the Tampa Bay Bucs Sunday.

It did not take it away.

Despite a defense that turned it around, despite an offense that finally found life, the Bucs have to be kicking themselves over a 14-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday. The Bucs were awful on offense for most of the day, and awful on defense in the early going, and in the end, it was too much to overcome.

Oh, the Bucs made it close. Tom Brady led the Bucs on an 89-yard touchdown drive, but a delay of game penalty moved the Bucs five yards further back for it's two-point try, and Brady's pass to Russell Gage was knocked away.

It will go down as one of the biggest bonehead plays in team history. The Bucs took 13 plays to score their touchdown -- shouldn't they have known what they wanted to call for the two-point conversion. (Note: The Packers thought the Bucs took too much time before the touchdown play, too).

"We got a delay of game," coach Todd Bowles said. "We didn’t get set up fast enough, and it's something that can't happen.

"There were a few things that happened that we can't let happen. We got six crucial penalties at different times that cost us the ball game -- shooting ourselves in the foot to give us a chance to win."

Brady ended up throwing for 271 yards, but the Bucs could run for only 34 more.

"I just looked up and we had … just a bad execution," Brady said of the two-point conversion. "There's a lot to it, so bad execution on offense at a time we need good execution and we didn't get it."

Defensively, the Bucs fell behind 14-3 (and it could have been 21-3 if not for an Aaron Jones fumble near the Bucs goal line). As good as their pass defense had been for the first two weeks of the season, it was helpless against Green Bay early. Aaron Rodgers hit 12 of his first 13 passes for 132 yards.

"We played better in the second half," Bowles said. "We knew the short balls were coming out -- I don’t know if you're ever going to stop him. You try to slow I'm down the best you can. We could have played some things better."

The Bucs played without their top three receivers in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones. And the guys who did play fumbled twice. But Gage came back from his fumble to catch 12 pass for 87 yards.

The Bucs shut out the Packers in the second half and held them to 99 yards.

Still, the Bus were just two-for-11 on third downs. They were called for 65 yards in penalties . They couldn't run.

So how good can you feel about a loss? Do you ignore the defense being sliced up early? The offense unable to move? The silly delay of game penalty before the two-point conversion?

No. A late comeback softens the view, but it remains a disappointing afternoon.

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