Sunday, September 28, 2008

1st half: Packers 7 - Buccaneers 13

This game started well. The Packers took the opening kickoff, looked efficient, and got a 25-yard TD pass from Aaron Roders to Greg Jennings. Then, things started to turn. Some costly and questionable penalties on the defense that kept Bucs' drives alive, sloppy tackling, sacks on Rodgers, and two interceptions on the part of Rodgers...although to be fair, the first one shouldn't have been. It was an easily catchable ball thrown to Brandon Jackson; ball popped out of his hands and right into the defender's. A score was not far behind. The second interception was just a bad throw.

The Packers' last drive of the half was pretty typical. On third and one from about mid-field and with about 10 second left, Greg Jennings dropped a wide open pass at the Bucs' 30-yard line which would have given the Packers a first down and a reasonable chance of throwing at least once into the endzone before perhaps having to settle for a field goal attempt. Instead, a fourth and one was caught out of bounds. No points.

For as much of the momentum that the Packers had initially it has all shifted to the Bucs. Warrick Dunn, as feared, started to have an impact both running and on pass routes against the Packers linebackers. Bucs QB Brian Griese, as expected, has been smart and efficient, exploiting the Packers over the middle on match ups with the linebackers.

Packers' field position has been horrible most of the half. Combined with a lack of any consistency on offense, the Pack turned the ball over to the Bucs inside their own territory on the last three drives of the half for Tampa Bay.

On the Bucs' last drive of the half, Nick Collins had an interception clearly in hand and could have had a great return. Instead, his drop kept the Bucs alive and allowed them to get their second field goal of the half.

Being down 13-7 going into half time, considering how the half turned, is actually probably a blessing. It could and probably should be worse.

If you are a Packers fan -- and I will assume are if you are reading this -- and if you are also a Wisconsin Badgers fan -- which you may or may not be -- then you may have the same feeling about now that you had watching the Wisconsin-Michigan game yesterday. In other words, if they don't get their act together at halftime this is a game that could slip away. It is, as I noted in my preview, the kind of game that the Pack could lose. Unfortunately, there are a lot of indicators emerging that that could be more of a reality than we'd care to deal with.