The 2023 season has been up and down for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From games where the defense has carried the weight to offensive explosions. The game against the Packers may have been one of the most complete this far.
It really says something about your performance when your the FIRST quarterback in history that posts a perfect passer rating in Lambeau. Think about that for a moment. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Patrick Mahomes, and man others have played in that stadium. None of them have posted a perfect passer rating. Baker Mayfield posted a 22 of 28 (78% completion percentage), 381 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Great numbers.
Additionally, seven players hauled in passes. Of those pass catchers Chris Godwin was schemed into the plan in full force answering the fans demands. Four players caught touchdown passes. One of which was Mike Evans who now stands one touchdown catch from 12 on the season. Only four other players have had 12 touchdowns in four or more seasons. All of the hall of famers.
Rachaad White had one of his best games, 139 scrimmage yards while averaging 4.2 yards per carry. It was his third best in rushing and receiving and ultimately the most yards he has had from scrimmage all year. His growth this season has been amazing.
This was the most complete we have seen the offense.
With the Packers coming off a win streak against the Chargers, playoff bound Lions, and playoff bound Chiefs they fell to the resurgent and rising Giants. Expecting a bounce back many prognosticators expected the Packers to get back to winning form. But the Buccaneers defense had other plans.
The bend don’t break philosophy was in full effect for the Buccaneers. They allowed a still relatively high third down conversion percentage of 50% (6/12) but forced two punts and stopped them on two key fourth down attempts.
They applied pressure through some various stunts and continued to show why they also have one of the best four man rushes in the league. While currently third in the league on pressure applied on four man rushes the Buccaneers added six quarterback hits and two sacks.
In the run game the Buccaneers defense held Aaron Jones to only 53 yards. If you take away Jones’ one run for 20 yards and he only averaged 2.75 yards a game. Add in two tackles for loss and a forced fumble and the Packers were forced to throw more than they would have liked and prevented them from establishing the run.
This team played very well. There is always room from improvement and the need for this to become consistent. Baker Mayfield is the key to that second part. The other thing, hidden amongst the win is still the secondary. Jordan Love still went 29 of 39, with two touchdowns, and 284 yards. The defense will need to clean that up. If those tow things come around Todd Bowles will save his job.
On to the Jaguars…