It was not pretty. It was not comfortable. But, the Green Bay Packers were able to pull out a massive 14-12 road win against their fellow NFC North powers in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon. Green Bay is now 2-1 and has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Tampa Bay if the two teams should be tied record-wise at the end of the season.
Green Bay’s offense struggled in the second half but was aided by stout play from the defense. Anytime a team with Tom Brady is held to 12 points, that defense should be celebrated. Also, Rich Bisaccia’s special teams unit played a large role for the Packers. With that said, here are three takeaways from Green Bay’s huge road win.
Romeo Doubs has officially arrived
With Sammy Watkins being placed on injured reserve and Christian Watson missing Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, Aaron Rodgers needed somebody within the receiving room to step up in a big way. Boy, did he get a huge lift from rookie Romeo Doubs.
The fourth-round pick caught eight passes for 73 yards and brought in his first NFL touchdown. He was the first Packers wide receiver not named Davante Adams to have eight catches in a game for Green Bay since Randall Cobb in Week 1 of 2018. Doubs proved in the biggest game of his life that he can be a clutch option for Rodgers. Against arguably the best defense in football, the former University of Nevada star showed out.
Green Bay’s defense is special
No, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Julio Jones did not play for Tampa Bay. No, Tampa did not have a healthy offensive line. However, Tom Brady is still the quarterback. Brady took a struggling New England offense in 2019 and made them AFC East Champions. Green Bay needed to be on their game. They were.
The Packers held Brady and the Bucs to 285 total yards and 12 points offensively. Pro Bowl Defensive tackle Kenny Clark and star edge-rusher Rashan Gary combined for three sacks. All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell led the team with 14 tackles, a tackle for loss, and one massive pass break-up, which sealed the victory for the Packers. Special-teamer Keisean Nixon came in for the injured Jaire Alexander and made five solo tackles.
It took plays from stars and unlikely sources from Joe Barry’s unit to best Brady. This Packers defense is legit, and the rest of the league is officially on notice.
Special teams in Green Bay is on the incline
The Packers were able to win this game late because of defense and special teams. The latter is really starting to find its footing. Punter Pat O’Donnell in particular, is making a massive difference for the Packers this season, and that was especially true on Sunday.
O’Donnell had seven punts. Five of them pinned Tampa Bay inside the 20, including one that Keisean Nixon caught at the one yard-line. The gunner duo of Nixon and Rudy Ford is making a world of difference when it comes to kick coverage. Return man Amari Rodgers had a couple of nice returns that were wiped away due to some arguable penalty calls. Kicker Mason Crosby has yet to miss a kick too.
Rich Bisaccia’s unit is looking good and impactful. If they can cut the penalties down, we may be looking at an above-average special teams squad on Lombardi Avenue. Celebrate at your own risk, Packers fans.