Dec 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Neal (96) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown (12) as the Packers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3 at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
These guys were the story of the day.
I already touched on the production from the star pass-rush duo earlier, but the entire defense was just ON for this game.
They managed to garner 7 sacks total, which were obtained by 6 different guys. They also grabbed 12 QB hits as well; that’s highly impressive no matter who is blocking.
Josh McCown is a placeholder at best, but to force him into a 2.5 QBR* is remarkable. The Bucs’ offense as a whole was held to 109 total yards, including just 16 yards rushing.
Yes, you read that right: 16 yards.
Again, it was not a good team on the other side, but for a defense that was god-awful against the run early in the year it would be unfathomable if it did not just happen.
One last thing: In 10 drives, Tampa Bay did not even average a first down – just 9.3 yards per drive out of them. If that doesn’t scream dominant performance then nothing does.
In all, this had to be the Packers’ defense’s best performance of the season. Maybe it wasn’t the most impressive because of who they were against – nobody would mistake Tampa Bay for even an OK team – but any time you can stonewall a team to this degree, you are playing really well and other teams will have to take notice.
*50.0 is the average for QBR
Next: Concerns to watch