Packers prevail over pesky Buccaneers squadWisconsin Sports
-- The Green Bay Packers are 10-0 after a 35-26 home victory over Tampa Bay.
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers are 10-0 after a 35-26 home victory over Tampa Bay.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Jordy Nelson caught two of those TD's and had 123 receiving yards. And Rodgers joined Tom Brady as the only NFL quarterbacks ever to throw for three-thousand yards and 30 touchdowns in their first 10 games. Defensive tackle B.J. Raji scored the Pack's first touchdown on a second-and-goal play from a yard out. James Starks ran for 38 yards and had 56 more through the air. But Starks left in the fourth quarter with a sprained right knee, and we'll learn more today about his playing status. Linebacker Clay Matthews suffered a stinger, but he said he's okay. Receiver Greg Jennings told a reporter he had an undisclosed injury -- and the team doctors would have to determine his playing status.
The game was loaded with mistakes on both sides. The Packers' biggest errors were the half-dozen tackles they missed on LeGarrette Blount's 54-yard touchdown run. Blount ran for 107 total yards. Buccaneers' tight end Kellen Winslow seemed to be left uncovered all day, as he had nine catches for 132 yards. He dropped an easy two-point conversion pass that would have tied the game at 21 early in the fourth quarter.
But the Packer defense showed up when it needed to. Tramon Williams made the second of his two interceptions with about two-and-a-half minutes left. And after Mason Crosby missed a 29-yard field goal attempt, the Packer defense held when Winslow fell short on a 4th-and-15 play in the final minute. Tampa Bay also blew two onside kicks, one on a penalty.
Josh Freeman threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns, and Tampa outgained the Packers in total yards 455-to-378. The Buccaneers lost their fourth straight game and fell to 4-6. Green Bay has a chance to go 11-0 for the first time in its history, with a win at Detroit on Thursday. The 1962 Packers were 10-0, and they lost their only game that year to the Lions on Thanksgiving.
Speaking of the Lions, Matthew Stafford threw for five touchdowns as Detroit rallied from 17 down yesterday to beat Carolina at home, 49-35. Kevin Smith ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and he had 61 receiving yards and another TD. The Lions kept pace with the Chicago Bears, who beat San Diego at home 31-to-20. Detroit and Chicago remain tied for second in the N-F-C North at 7-3, both three games behind the Packers.
Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler broke a thumb on his right throwing hand -- and the Chicago Tribune said last night that Cutler will be out for 6-to-8 weeks. He was hurt while trying to prevent a touchdown on an interception return by Antoine Cason of the Chargers. Cutler stayed in the game and threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Bears' coach Lovie Smith made no mention of the injury during his post-game news conference.