Packers defense exposed again, this time by Tampa Bay
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider senior editor
~The Packers will head into the Thanksgiving Day showdown in Detroit still undefeated, but far from perfect.
A week after almost pitching a shutout on Monday night against the Vikings, the Packers defense welcomed into town Josh Freeman and his anemic Buccaneer offense.
But like the game in San Diego, the Packers defense helped an opposing quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end get out of season-long slumps and rack up big yardage and plenty of points on the scoreboard.
Two weeks ago, Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson, and Antonio Gates had their best games of the season after really struggling.
Today, it was Freeman, Mike Williams, and tight end Kellen Winslow.
But for good measure, the Packers also handed runningback LeGarrete Blount his best game of the season, allowing the former Duck 107 yards and a touchdown. He also had three or four hurdles of Packer defenders.
All in all, the Bucs offense racked up 455 total yards, outgaining the Packers prolific offense by 77 yards. They also had a 31:21 to 28:39 advantage in time of possession.
However, as was the case in San Diego with Rivers, the Packers did come up with some interceptions. This time it was Packers cornerback Tramon Williams who had both of them. The first one came late in the first half and it most likely prevented the Bucs from getting at least a field goal before halftime.
In San Diego, he and Charlie Peprah had pick-sixes on back to back possessions to give the Packers a big lead early. This time, they weren’t returned for touchdowns, but they did prevent points by the opposing offense.
Numbers and stats aside, the Packers have legitimate reason for concern over the state of their defense.
The 54-yard touchdown run by Blount is evidence number one. On it, he broke about six or seven tackles, including both inside linebackers Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk.
As we saw with the weather today, and all remember back to the 2008 NFC Championship game loss in Green Bay to the Giants, the arctic weather of Green Bay in the winter tends to create more of a smash-mouth, run-the-ball type of football game.
The Packers will face the physical running games of the Giants and Raiders et this month, and welcome a resurgent Bears running game on Christmas Day.
The Lions will get two cracks at the Packers defense, and they showed a potent running game today beating Carolina with Lions back Kevin Smith churning out 140 yards and two touchdowns.
That’s the regular season.
In the playoffs, they most likely will have to face the physical running games of the 49ers, Giants, Bears, and/or perhaps Falcons again.
One would think that the Packers defense would rather face running teams as they have been torched by quarterbacks from Brees to Newton to Rivers and now Freeman.
But the way they tackled on the Blount touchdown run reminds all Packer fans of what Brandon Jacobs did to the Packers in that NFC Championship game four seasons ago.
The Packers won’t face any rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs like Christian Ponder.
Dom Capers will have a few more sleepless nights this week leading into a Detroit team that scored 49 points today.