Sunday, November 08, 2009

Halftime: Packers 21 - Buccaneers 17

Goofy half.

That's about the only thing you can say. And frustrating. And numbingly typical this season. Big plays for the Packers. Big plays for the opponents. Blown opportunities.

The Packers started strong, albeit after the now ubiquitous penalty on punt/kick returns (is there any fan left who doesn't automatically look for a penalty flag on returns?); this penalty took about 30 yards off a nice Tramon Williams' punt return. But on the second play from scrimmage, Aaron Rodgers hit James Jones for a 74-yard touchdown pass, the longest of Rodgers' career. Packers go up 7-0.

The defense proceeds to get the ball back, but Rodgers got greedy on throw to Donald Driver and got picked off; Rodgers himself wound up making the tackle at the Packers' 8-yard line. A few plays later, the rookie QB, Josh Freeman, tossed his first career TD pass. 7-7.

The Packers then put a nice drive together, combining passes and runs. They capped it off with a 2-yard TD run by Ryan Grant. Packers 14-7.

The next time the Packers got the ball back, they wound up punting. Only problem was, nobody apparently informed some of the blockers that their job was, in fact, to block. There was a big rush, someone came through untouched and blocked the punt. Ronde Barber picked up the ball and took it in for a TD. 14-14.

The Packers responded with a nice drive, scoring their third TD of the day on a 32-yard pass from Rodgers to Driver, to make the score 21-14.

In the last 6 or 7 minutes of the 3rd quarter, the Packers started their possession twice inside the Buccaneers' 50-yard line, once off a poor punt and the next time on an interception by Nick Collins. The only problem was the Pack went 3 and out on both possessions. The last time around, the Buccaneers drove the ball from deep in their own end of the field down to make a field goal as time ran out in the half. Packers 21 - Buccaneers 17.

So, the Raymond James goofy factor seems to be emerging. This game is far closer that it needs to be, than it should be. Oh, and Tampa Bay missed its first field goal attempt from 45 yards, with their new kicker or it would be closer still.

With a team that is near the bottom in rushing defense, the Packers' play calling has been split 16-15 rush to pass. The Packers have 77 yards rushing. Rodgers is just 7 for 15.

It seems as easily as the switch seems to come on for big plays it can just as easily vanish. For the 8th game of the season, the inconsistency of this team is maddening. The defense, which played well throughout the half, not really responsible for either of the 2 Tampa touchdowns, basically allowed a rookie QB to march down the field in the last 2 minutes of the half to get 3 points.

The Packers better get it together in the second half. The Buccaneers may be 0-7 but the Packers are letting them stay in the game as if they are 7-0. Not good.