Monday, September 26, 2022

Packers Sweat Out Victory in Tampa

 By Eric Goska

(screen capture from NFL Game Pass)

The Green and Gold did a lot of perspiring in Tampa Sunday. And not just because temperatures hovered near 90 degrees.

Potent early, Green Bay’s offense all but evaporated in its matchup with the Buccaneers. Unable to score in the second half, the Packers had to sweat and sweat a lot before eking out a 14-12 win at Raymond James Stadium.

Fourteen points may still be good enough to secure a victory in today’s NFL, but it is hardly enough to do so comfortably. And, shutting off the scoring valve in the second quarter is a move no team should consider.

Like it or not, this unorthodox approach earned Green Bay its second win of 2022. That it caused Packer Nation to collectively breathe into an oversize brown bag, well, this was Tampa Bay after all.

As mentioned during the broadcast, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have struggled in the Big Guava before. Just 1-3 in four previous starts there, Rodger’s five TD passes and eight interceptions factored into his less-than-stellar passer rating of 65.

Sunday, Green Bay’s offense came out shining. On its opening drives of 10 and 12 plays, the team helped itself to 146 yards, nine first downs and a 14-3 lead.

Even its third effort moved the chains. The Packers advanced 60 yards on six plays before running back Aaron Jones lost a fumble at the Tampa Bay 2-yard line.

That third-down completion – two minutes, two seconds short of halftime – killed the lights. Rodgers and Co. spent the remainder of the game operating primarily in the dark.

How stark was the difference?

On its opening 28 plays, Green Bay gained 206 yards and 11 first downs. Eighteen of those snaps occurred beyond the 50. The Packers converted five of six third downs.

In its closing 33 plays, Green Bay managed 109 yards and three first downs. Seven of those snaps occurred beyond the 50. The Packers converted one of nine third downs.

So, how much did the Packers have to sweat?

After Allen Lazard closed out Green Bay’s scoring by taking a 6-yard pass from Rodgers in the end zone, Tom Brady and his offense ran 47 plays. They gained 223 of their 285 yards with their opponent banished from the scoreboard.

That’s a long time to hold one’s breath. That’s a long time to wait to pull out victory in a game the team had little business winning.

Since 1950, the Packers are 35-247-8 (.134) when scoring 14 or fewer points in a regular-season game. In that time, they are 18-119-4 (.142) when failing to score after the half, regardless of how many points they posted in the first two quarters.

Combine those two – 14 or fewer points with zero coming after the break – and Green Bay is 6-110-4 (.067) since 1950. That’s one win (on average) every 12 years.

Not surprisingly, just two of those wins occurred on the road. In addition to squeezing out a 2-point decision in Tampa, the Packers knocked off the Lions 14-10 in Tiger Stadium 58 years ago.

Going that route for a W is a path better left to others. Green Bay must improve if it hopes to beat the Patriots in Week 4.

Since 1950, the six regular-season victories in which the Packers scored 14 or fewer points with none of those points occurring after halftime. Sweat is the time that remained after Green Bay’s last score. Offense is the number of plays and yards its opponent gained after Green Bay’s final score.






Sept. 25, 2022


at Buccaneers



Oct. 27, 1996





Sept. 17, 1995





Oct. 5, 1980





Dec. 4, 1977





Sept. 28, 1964


at Lions



1 comment:

  1. but...but...what about similar circumstances between 1921 and 1949? ..and what's the Packer percentage against the rest of the league historically?....seriously Eric, amazing research...and a helluva Pack win!