The Packers Still Have Hope

Davante Adams’ tweet following Green Bay’s 26-20 overtime win vs Tampa Bay summed up the teams performance quite nicely.

In a game where Green Bay was out gained by more than 100 yards of offense and dominated in time of possession, they somehow still won. It took a strong running game from two rookies and a defensive touchdown, but any way you cut it, a win is a win.

Jameis Winston who missed the last three games nursing a shoulder injury came out firing. He went 4/5 for 60 yards and a touchdown on the game’s first drive. TE Cameron Brate hauled the pass in with one-hand as he beat an inexperienced safety in Jermaine Whitehead.

Winston finished the day 21/32 for 270 yards and two TDs. Both went to Brate.

Brett Hundley and Mike McCarthy leaned on the run game for as long as they could and it inevitably paid off. Jamaal Williams gashed the Buccaneers for a career high 113 rush yards. Hundley, who had little to no success throwing the ball, also used his feet to make plays. On numerous occasions he came up big utilizing the read option and recognizing space outside the pocket. He scrambled 7 times for 66 yards.

Maybe you can chalk it up to being ill-prepared, but this was only 18 yards shy of his passing total. Yikes.

“We looked a little worn down frankly, coming off the Sunday night game,” McCarthy said. “I thought that was clearly evident.”

Fatigue aside, the defense and special teams actually came to play. Seven sacks, a blocked punt, and a fumble return for a touchdown were the biggest reasons the Packers won the contest Sunday.

Clay Matthews tallied 2.5 sacks after missing last weeks game in Pittsburgh. Dean Lowry also added a sack and snatched a Winston fumble as he was going to the ground, returning it 62 yards for a Lambeau Leap. It was the second year defensive end’s most productive game as a pro.

In addition to getting after the quarterback, the defense held pro-bowl receiver Mike Evans to two catches for 33 yards. Tampa’s vertical threat, DeSean Jackson, only made two catches for 24 yards. In the absence of Kevin King, Davon House and Damarious Randall held their own.

Late into the 4th quarter it felt like Green Bay was going to let this game slip through their fingers. Winston converted his second touchdown throw to go up 20-17 with 6 minutes remaining.

The Packers somehow managed to move the ball into field goal range and get the game into OT. The Packers run game took care of the rest.

In overtime, Williams carried the ball three times for 15 yards. Then, he caught a pass for 12 yards to get the ball to the Buccaneers 20. In stepped another rookie sensation, Aaron Jones, to spell the winded Williams. Jones had not touched the ball all game, but showed no rust after missing the last two games because of a knee sprain. After the initial hole closed up, Jones bounced the run outside and used a key block from Jordy Nelson to secure a Packers victory.

The Packers are now 6-6 and one game closer to giving Aaron Rodgers a reason to play this season. They got help from Vikings and the Saints who beat teams ahead of the Packers in the wild card chase. The Eagles did them no favors in letting the Seahawks get a win, but 2 out of 3 is not too shabby.

If the Packers get to 10 wins they would hold tie-breakers over the Lions, Panthers, and Seahawks. Therefore, the playoffs are not out of reach. However, taking it one game at a time is the current mindset in Green Bay.


Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.