GAME RECAP (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(GREEN BAY) - It's hard to remember the last time that the Green Bay Packers won a game with only 84 yards passing. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers might be able to spice up the offense again soon, as long as the running game keeps churning out yards and the defense gets sacks in victories to stay in the playoff race. Aaron Jones' 20-yard scoring run on his only carry , with 5:59 left in overtime, gave Green Bay a 26-20 win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the passing game struggling, the Packers (6-6) wore down the Buccaneers on the ground. Rodgers' replacement, Brett Hundley, had runs of 18 and 7 yards on the drive to start overtime. Getting seven sacks from the defense along with a blocked punt by Kyler Fackrell, the Packers grinded out a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. They still trail NFC North leader Minnesota by four games, but there is renewed optimism at Lambeau Field with the possibility of Rodgers returning from a collarbone injury in a couple weeks. "When you can grind it out and do things a different way and your team's successful ... we're a better team today, not only because we won the game but how we won," coach Mike McCarthy said. Jameis Winston threw two touchdown passes to Cameron Brate in the quarterback's shaky return from a shoulder injury. But the defense couldn't hold up in overtime for the last-place Buccaneers (4-8). "I think it speaks volumes about the character of our football team," McCarthy said. "You know, we had some rough moments, but they just kept fighting." Mason Crosby's 22-yard field goal tied the game at 20 with 2:01 left, giving the team a lift after the Bucs tried to wear out the Packers on the run. Peyton Barber had 102 yards for 23 carries. Winston finished 21 of 32 for 270 yards, including an 11-yard scoring pass to Brate for a 20-17 lead with 6:02 left. But Winston had defenders in his face all day and had trouble holding on to the ball. Linebacker Clay Matthews had 2 1/2 sacks of Green Bay's seven sacks. "We didn't protect Jameis," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. "That's probably our worst protection game we've had all year." Back after missing three games with a right shoulder injury, Winston fumbled on a sack by Kenny Clark in the second quarter. Defensive lineman Dean Lowry snatched the loose ball in the air and rumbled 62 yards for a touchdown and Lambeau leap with a 17-7 lead. "I don't even know how the ball came out," Winston said. "When I reared it back (my arm) hit something." Hundley finished 13 of 22 for 84 yards, adding seven carries for 66 yards. Jamaal Williams ran for 113 yards on 21 carries for Green Bay. The Packers think they need to win their last four games to have a shot at the postseason. If they can beat the Cleveland Browns next week, it could set up a scenario in which Rodgers could return the following week at Carolina. "Honestly I'd be fine with throwing 87 yards if we win them all," Hundley said. Rodgers returned to practice on Saturday for the first time since getting hurt on Oct. 15 at Minnesota.
QUOTABLE: "But for us to kind of grind these games out and, specifically speaking about the defense, understanding what we are, and trying to force turnovers ... I think we realize we have to find a way to steal a few plays here and there." — Matthews on the defense stepping up with Rodgers out.
OPTIMISTIC JAMEIS: Winston also fumbled in the fourth quarter following Evan Smith's early snap. He was whistled for an illegal forward pass on the next play, but the mistakes were erased by the second touchdown pass to Brate on third-and-11. The quarterback refused to blame his offensive line for poor protection, though there were a couple communication issues with Smith, who was a last-minute replacement at center after starter Joe Hawley was scratched just before the game due to illness. "So I don't think it's right to be able to say that they did subpar when they overcame so much in this day," Winston said. Two other offensive line starters were placed on injured reserve earlier in the week.
INJURY REPORT: Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan departed in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. Also, line judge Tom Stephan had to be helped to board a cart that took him off the field after he got hurt on a third-down play with 11:08 left in the first quarter.
TAMPA BAY GREEN BAY
First downs 25 16
Rushes-yards 35-165 29-199
Net Passing yards 230 77
Passing (Att-Comp-Int) 32-21-0 22-13-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 7-40 2-7
Punts-Average 5-35.2 4-45.3
Fumbles 1 0
Penalties-Yards 8-74 7-47
Time of Possession 37:17 26:44
TAMPA BAY - 7 6 0 7 0 - 20
GREEN BAY - 3 14 0 3 6 - 26
1st - TB - Cameron Brate, 28-yard pass from Jameis Winson (Patrick Murray kick) TAMPA BAY 7-0
1st - GB - Mason Crosby, 37-yard field goal TAMPA BAY 7-3
2nd - GB - Jamaal Williams, 1-yard run (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 10-7
2nd - GB - Dean Lowry, 62-yard fumble return (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 17-7
2nd - TB - Murray, 36-yard field goal GREEN BAY 17-10
4th - TB - Murray, 30-yard field goal GREEN BAY 17-13
4th - TB - Brate, 11-yard pass from Winston (Murray kick) TAMPA BAY 20-17
4th - GB - Crosby, 22-yard field goal TIED 20-20
OT - GB - Aaron Jones, 20-yard run GREEN BAY 26-20
GREEN BAY - Jamaal Williams 21-113 1 TD, Brett Hundley 7-66, Aaron Jones 1-20 1 TD
TAMPA BAY - Peyton Barber 23-102, Jacquizz Rodgers 3-25, Jameis Winston 5-18, Charles Sims 3-16, Jesus Wilson 1-4
GREEN BAY - Brett Hundley 22-13-84 1 INT
TAMPA BAY - Jameis Winston 32-21-270 2 TD
GREEN BAY - Jordy Nelson 5-17, Davante Adams 4-42, Jamaal Williams 2-10, Lance Kendricks 1-11, Richard Rodgers 1-4
TAMPA BAY - Peyton Barber 4-41, Adam Humphries 4-33, Cameron Brate 2-39 2 TD, Charles Sims 2-35, Mike Evans 2-33, DeSean Jackson 2-24, Chris Godwin 2-24, O.J. Howard 1-17, Alan Cross 1-13, Antony Auclair 1-13
Aaron Jones' TD run wins it for Packers in OT
GREEN BAY - Rookie RB Aaron Jones, who hadn’t carried the ball all day, took his first carry 20 yards for the game-winning touchdown on the first possession of overtime, keeping the Packers’ season alive with a 26-20 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. With the win, the Packers improved to 6-6 on the season with four games left. Tampa Bay fell to 4-8. RB Jamaal Williams did the bulk of the work on the OT drive and finished the game with 21 carries for 113 yards and a TD. QB Brett Hundley was 13-of-22 for 84 yards with an interception for a 48.3 passer rating. He added seven rushes for 66 yards. WR Davante Adams had four catches for 42 yards to lead the receivers. For Tampa Bay, QB Jameis Winston was 21-of-32 for 270 yards with two TDs and a 112.8 passer rating. RB Peyton Barber had 23 carries for 102 yards and four receptions for 41 yards. Here's a recap of the all action.
First quarter: Both teams scored on their opening possessions, and the Buccaneers took a 7-3 lead over the Packers into the second quarter. The Packers won the toss and deferred. The Buccaneers picked up a pair of first downs on passes of 11 yards to TE Antony Auclair and 13 yards to TE Alan Cross. On third-and-8 from the Green Bay 40, a WR screen to Adam Humphries picked up just enough to move the chains again. On the next third down, from the 28, QB Jameis Winston hit TE Cameron Brate over the middle as Brate got behind S Jermaine Whitehead. Brate tipped the ball to himself one-handed and took it in for the score. Tampa Bay led 7-0 just over five minutes in. A holding penalty on LB Vince Biegel wiped out a long kickoff return by WR Trevor Davis, making the Packers start on their own 20. A 10-yard run by RB Jamaal Williams picked up a first down, but a holding penalty on LT David Bakhtiari backed Green Bay up again. An 11-yard pass to WR Davante Adams, 5-yard run by Williams and 5-yard pass to WR Jordy Nelson converted the long-yardage situation. A 13-yard pass to Adams converted the next third down, and a 9-yard run by Williams plus a 4-yard pass to TE Richard Rodgers moved the chains again. On third-and-6 from the Tampa Bay 19, Hundley overthrew a wide-open WR Geronimo Allison in the end zone, and the Packers had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by K Mason Crosby. Green Bay’s defense got a three-and-out, and Hundley scrambled for 10 yards on the Packers’ next play. A tripping penalty on TE Lance Kendricks pushed the Packers back again as the quarter expired.
Second quarter: The Packers got some big plays in all three phases in the second quarter to take a 17-10 lead over the Buccaneers into halftime. The Packers punted to open the second quarter, and Winston found TE O.J. Howard for 17 yards to begin the Bucs’ next drive. On third down from the Green Bay 42, DT Mike Daniels and LB Clay Matthews combined on a sack of Winston to force a punt. On Green Bay’s first play of the next series, Hundley tried to go deep to Nelson, and Bucs S Justin Evans picked it off. Winston tried to go deep to WR Mike Evans, and CB Davon House rode Evans’ legs out of bounds for the incompletion, but House was injured on the play and walked off slowly. CB Josh Hawkins came in for him and nearly picked off Winston on the next play, forcing a punt. LB Kyler Fackrell’s rush up the middle blocked the punt, and the Packers recovered at the Tampa Bay 45. Williams ran around left end for 25 yards and a first down on the 20. Hundley scrambled 14 yards to make it first-and-goal on the 6. Williams powered down to the 1, but then was stuffed on second down. He would not be denied on third down, though, and the Packers took their first lead. Tampa Bay began the next series with a 34-yard screen pass to RB Peyton Barber, and RB Charles Sims picked up 5 yards on a draw play on third-and-4. On first down from the Green Bay 30, DT Kenny Clark wrapped up Winston for a sack and knocked the ball loose. DE Dean Lowrysnagged the fumble in midair, turned, and ran 62 yards untouched the other way for a touchdown, putting the Packers up 17-7 with 4:17 left in the half. LB Jake Ryan got his first career sack on Tampa Bay’s next possession, but Winston hit Sims for 13 yards on third-and-9 to get to midfield at the two-minute warning. Winston hit WR DeSean Jackson for 19 yards to the 31, and a sack by Matthews set up third-and-5 from the 26. Winston found WR Chris Godwin for 7 yards to the 19, and the Bucs used a timeout with 34 seconds left. LB Blake Martinez made a great tackle on Barber for a 1-yard gain on a screen, and CB Damarious Randall broke up a pass for Brate near the goal line. Winston’s third-down pass was incomplete, and the Bucs settled for K Patrick Murray’s 36-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the half.
Third quarter: The score remained 17-10 at the end of the third quarter, but the Buccaneers were in goal-to-go as the third quarter expired. The Packers opened the second half with a three-and-out, as Hundley was sacked for zero yards on a third-down scramble. Tampa Bay picked up one first down on a third-and-1 run by Barber. Matthews sacked Winston, but he promptly hit Godwin for 17 yards and another first down anyway. Barber ran twice for 12 yards and a first down near midfield. Lowry raced through untouched for a sack on the next third down, and the Packers forced a punt that Davis fair-caught on Green Bay’s own 6-yard line. The Packers went three-and-out again, as Hundley was sacked again on third down, this time back at his 4-yard line. Vogel boomed a 57-yard punt from his own end zone, and a holding penalty on Tampa Bay’s return forced the Bucs to start on their own 29-yard line. Barber ran three straight times for 31 yards and a pair of first downs. RB Jacquizz Rodgers broke off a 19-yard run into the red zone. On third-and-7 from the 14, a scrambling Winston found Humphries for 11 yards for first-and-goal on the 3.
Fourth quarter: The Packers tied the game with two minutes left and went to overtime with the Buccaneers at 20-20. The Packers stopped Barber on a run and Hawkins broke up a pass for Godwin at the goal line. The Packers then got the stop, as the Bucs made a huge mistake on third-and-goal. C Evan Smith, the former Packer, snapped the ball in shotgun when Winston was coming up to the line to make a check, and the QB had to recover the ball for a 9-yard loss. A 30-yard field goal brought Tampa Bay within 17-13 with 14:31 left. It was announced Packers CB Damarious Randall, who came out of the game at the start of the series, was being evaluated for a concussion. He later returned. The Packers went three-and-out for the third straight time in the second half, and WR Jeff Janis covered Vogel’s punt well, putting the Bucs on their own 22. Packers LB Jake Ryan left the field with a neck injury. Winston scrambled for 15 yards on the first snap. After a false start, Sims picked up 22 on a WR screen, and Winston found Evans for 17 yards to the Green Bay 28. On third-and-10, Winston hit Humphries over the middle for 12 yards. A holding penalty on Smith pushed the Bucs back to the 26, but Winston fired to Evans for 16 yards to the 10, and Barber ran 7 yards to make it first-and-goal on the 3. An offside penalty on Daniels was preceded by a Winston fumble on a handoff attempt, and Winston recovered for a 7-yard loss on the 8. Winston threw his next pass from beyond the line of scrimmage, putting the ball on the 11 for third-and-goal. Winston found Brate just inside the goal line for the TD, and the Packers trailed 20-17 with 6:02 left. Williams ran twice for 13 yards, Hundley’s read-option keeper for 14 yards converted on third-and-2, and a 14-yard pass to Adams had a roughing-the-passer penalty tacked on, putting the Packers on the Tampa Bay 14-yard line. Williams ran twice more for 9 yards total, setting up third-and-1 on the 5, but a pass to Nelson picked up nothing. The Packers tied the game on Crosby’s 22-yard field goal with 2:01 left. An illegal-block-in-the-back on Smith on the first play of Tampa Bay’s next drive pushed the Bucs back to their own 10 with 1:46 left. On second-and-long, DT Kenny Clark sacked Winston, and the Packers used their first timeout with 1:00 left. Sims ran up the middle for 8 yards on third-and-20, and the Packers burned another timeout with 55 seconds left as the Bucs came on to punt from their own 18. Davis had just a 2-yard return to the Green Bay 38, and the Packers had 44 seconds to work with. The Packers had a pass batted at the line and then lost 2 yards on a screen pass, doing nothing with the possession and sending the game to overtime.
Overtime: The Packers won the OT coin toss, and Davis returned the kickoff 26 yards to the 28. Two runs by Williams for 6 yards and a 7-yard scramble by Hundley gave Green Bay a first down. Hundley took off 18 yards on a read-option run, and Williams followed with a run for 9. A short pass to Williams turned into a 12-yard gain as he tiptoed along the sideline to the Tampa Bay 20. Then rookie RB Aaron Jones, on his first carry of the day, cut back to his left and sprinted 20 yards for the game-winning touchdown.