The Green Bay Packers improved to 10-0 with a 35-26 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11 of the 2011-12 NFL season. The Packers won despite possibly playing their worst game of the season. The Buccaneers couldn't take advantage of it as their playoff hopes have basically gone to zilch. The Packers still have a three-game advantage over the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears in the NFC North.
Here were some studs and duds from that contest.
Mega Stud: Jordy Nelson
Jordy Nelson had six receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns. He had the 40-yard touchdown reception that essentially sealed the victory in the fourth quarter. Both of his receptions came in significant periods of the contest.
Stud: Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers didn't have his best game. However, an average game for Rodgers is 23-of-34 for 299 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Packers had a few drops and he had a few errant passes to begin the second half.
Stud Or Dud: Tramon Williams
Tramon Williams got beat too many times in coverage. However, he had two interceptions. I just don't feel like he's playing consistent enough as the shutdown cornerback. He's taking too many risks.
Mega Dud: Offensive Line
The offensive line is regressing. I can understand the growing pains for Marshall Newhouse. However, Scott Wells and Josh Sitton were getting dominated by Albert Haynesworth. It seems like Sitton is also making more penalties this season. Rodgers has found himself scrambling and the running game hasn't thrived. Much of that is because of the offensive line.
Could you imagine the statistics on Rodgers if he had an offensive line that was similar to the 2007-08 New England Patriots? Unfortunately, he doesn't. This concerns me as they have four games against the New York Giants, Bears and Lions to closeout the regular season.
Dud: Special Teams
Even when Green Bay's special teams units did something right, they did it wrong. The Randall Cobb punt return that was penalized because of a block in the back was a primary example of that. Of course, that seemed very petty.
The tackling was below average to horrible. The defensive backs are jumping routes and getting burned. Tramon Williams and Sam Shields cannot win one-on-one matchups with anybody. The Packers have nobody who can cover a tight end. The pass rush is always a fraction-of-a-second too late. The run defense has been inconsistent. The defense surrendered 455 yards against one of the NFL's blandest offenses. Many of their stops were a result of Josh Freeman throwing 10 yards short of the first-down marker on third down and fourth down.
I'm concerned about the defense. I don't think this team will repeat as Super Bowl champions unless the defense improves during the playoffs. The weather could really work against this team in January.
They say that the best teams can win when they're not playing their best. The Buccaneers are probably one of the NFL's best teams at winning ugly games since Raheem Morris has been the head coach. Yet, the Packers essentially beat the Buccaneers at their own game.
The Packers probably wouldn't have won this game had it not been for the Buccaneers' own errors. Raheem's decision to attempt those onside kicks and the dropped two-point conversion from Kellen Winslow Jr. were costly errors. The Packers capitalized on them.
Special Teams: D
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. His favorite Packer moments include Super Bowl XXXI, XLV, and Al Harris interception return following Matt Hasselbeck's "We're gonna score" comments. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months.
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