Packers vs Buccaneers: Game Balls


The Green Bay Packers dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a week 16 match-up. Green Bay had 432 total yards to a dismal 109 yards for Tampa Bay.

Green Bay also had 23 first downs to Tampa’s 6.

This game would prove to be unique however. Aaron Rodgers appeared to get injured early in the game after a few shots from Michael Johnson. It appeared the training staff was showing him a lot of attention and adjusting the padding in his cleats early on.

The scoreboard did not reflect the dominance the Packers showed with a 20-3 final.

It looked like Eddie Lacy would easily take the second consecutive game ball early on. Lacy broke a 44 yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Packers a 7-0 lead and his second consecutive 1,000 yard season.

Offensive Game Ball

Dec 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jordy Nelson seemed to be “Johnny on the spot” on Sunday. To my count he had 6 receptions that resulted in a first down.

In my game prediction I noted that he would be out for blood on Sunday after a down performance a week ago versus the Buffalo Bills. Nelson responded in a huge way, showing that the 90+ yard touchdown pass that was dropped a week ago, was just a fluke.

Nelson had 9 receptions for 113 yards and a 1 yard touchdown that kept Aaron Rodgers from having back-to-back games without a touchdown pass.

It wasn’t the stat sheet that brought home Nelson the game ball on this day. The way he went up and brought down balls and the points of the game in which he hauled in passes to keep drives alive, is ultimately what made this call.

Defensive Game Ball

Morgan Burnett had a huge game. Burnett had 9 tackles, 1 assist and a ½ of a sack. It wasn’t just his total tackles but the fact that they came at crucial times. Burnett had huge tackles on third down to force the Bucs into fourth down situations.

Dec 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Charles Sims (34) is tackled in the backfield by Green Bay Packers strong safety Morgan Burnett (42) at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Burnett now leads the Packers in tackles with 80 solo tackles, 32 assists and 1 sack. A total of 112 tackles. Morgan Burnett has bounced back from a dismal season just a year ago in which many were calling for his head. He has evolved into one of the more consistent players on Dom Capers’ squad.

Honorable Mention

Aaron Rodgers 31-40 318 yards and 1 touchdown while showing a “Brett Favre” like toughness.

Dec 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) runs with the ball as Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Leonard Johnson (29) defends during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Randall Cobb on a career day with 11 receptions for 131 yards.

John Kuhn had 4 carries for 22 yards and some huge blocks to pave the way for Eddie Lacy.

Clay Matthews with 2.5 sacks and 6 total tackles while being credited with 4 quarterback hits. Two of those sacks in which he absolutely crushed Josh McCown.

Eddie Lacy with 17 carries for 99 yards and 1 touchdown, all while capping off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.

Julius Peppers who had me worried that his legs were leaving him as the season grew longer, also recorded two sacks.

This all sets up the showdown next Sunday at Lambeau, with the Detroit Lions for the winner take all NFC North championship game.