Jordy Nelson (87) of the Packers celebrates a touchdown after making the Lambreau Leap during the NFL regular season game between the Tampa Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI.
By Travis Duncan
"Adversity is awesome, we're getting ready to play a big game on National TV, Thanksgiving, adversity is healthy situations to learn from," Mike McCarthy said after Sunday's 35-26 win over Tampa Bay.
The proverbial short week is here. A strong test brought out a new challenge schematically to slow down the Packers pass game. Aaron Rodgers admitted he wasn't throwing the ball the way he normally does, Jordy Nelson was phenomenal and the defense also showed it's obvious weaknesses.
More on what the head coach thought about the win:
"They challenged us, they played a lot of man to man. There was a lot of green grass out there and we played the game accordingly. I thought our point protection was a positive. We had the ball on the ground too much, pass protection was fuzzy at times. Defense gave up too much production. Tackling wasn't there. Special teams was up and down. We did some things in the return but we had two penalties."
-RB James Starks suffered a knee sprain in Sunday's win. He will be listed as questionable for Thursday's game against the Lions.
Starks finished with 11 carries for 38 yards, including a 20-yard run which took the ball into the redzone in the 4th quarter, which eventually set up a John Kuhn two-yards touchdown run.
Starks did the most damage as an additional option for Rodgers when the Packers receiving corp was blanketed. Kuhn caught six passes for 53 yards.
"They were challenging the box and played us very aggressive on the perimeter," said McCarthy.
"So there were some opportunities that he would normally have that he did not have. James is having a good year and I thought he was playing well up to the injury."
-Jordy Nelson went from coveted fantasy football receiver to a top tier wide receiver, at least from an overall national perspective, with a huge 2 TD output and a slew of clutch passes Sunday. He caught 6 for 123 yards.
A commentary took place on ESPN last week regarding Nelson's skills and his race. ESPN reports that even some Bucs players and an official made a comment about the topic during the game. He told ESPN he wasn't caught up in that.
"I don't like it," he said to ESPN..com. "That's why, what happened last week, I did not like that one bit. … I don't even deal with race and anything like that. It's something we've discussed in the locker room here, and I hope it didn't offend anybody. … I'm not mad at anybody. I just don't like to be in the spotlight, and that kind of put me out there."
In terms of the defensive look teams try to throw at the Packers Nelson said , "We see a little bit of everything. I think teams are trying to figure out what to do because we have so many different threats, especially with Aaron back there and the core of receivers, and tight ends, and Starks had five or six catches tonight, so we’ve seen about every defense possible."
-Defensive end Mike Neal made his season debut Sunday.
"It’s been a while, so it definitely felt good to get out there, get a couple plays in and just some of knock the rust off, and see what I had in me."
-Aaron Rodgers said he wasn't happy with performance and the ball didn't come out of his the way he wanted it to. He finished with 299 yards on 23 of 34 passing for 3 TDs and an INT.
"I’m just frustrated," said Rodgers. " I didn’t throw the ball very well. I’m not trying to be ridiculously humble right now. I’m just frustrated the ball wasn’t coming off the way I wanted it to today. I missed some guys I shouldn’t."
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Rodgers entered the day having completed 73 percent of his passes when lined up under center, struggled in such situations on Sunday, completing just 5-of-12 attempts. But in shotgun, Rodgers thrived, going 18-for-22 for 275 yards and two scores.
-B.J. Raji said scoring a goaline touchdown was a defensive linemen's dream. McCarthy said that it was a designed play specifically for that situation.
It was fun to see Raji bust his way across the endzone wall. After the game he said he decided against doing the Lambeau leap. He also pointed out the Packers realize the Lions have one goal Thursday-at the meaning of the game alone could spur the Lions emotionally.
"Those guys are home and can potentially knock us off in front of a national (TV) audience," Raji told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "They will be pretty jacked up. They’re probably going to be confident. They beat us last year at home, and they almost beat us here.
-How much credit do you give Tampa Bay running back LaGarrett Blount for his incredible long run and where does the blame lie for the Packers who missed six tackles on the 54-yard touchdown run which made a potential blowout a competitive game.
Here's what defensive end Ryan Pickett told CBSSports.com after the game. "We have to make the play. That’s the bottom line. We can’t give up the big plays like that." The run is a bit of a YouTube sensation at this point.
-Yahoo Sports has the video of punter Tim Masthay fumbling twice on the same play. McCarthy didn't seem happy about it after the game, but Rodgers was more forgiving saying "Tim's got to hang on to that" with a smile. He did turn it into a first down.
-Jay Cutler could be out for the remainder of the regular season. There's now talk that the Packers can chalk Dec. 25th up as a W already.
-As if you needed anymore reason to be fired up for Thursday's game here is what Bill Simonson of the "Huge Show" wrote on a blog at MLive.com on Sunday.
"I think the Packers seem bored at times. Their offense is so good, that the rest of the team has looked flat a lot this season. With that said, they are 10-0, and that tells you how good Aaron Rodgers is. "
"If the Lions want to win on Thanksgiving, they will need a full game of the type of offensive execution we witnessed in the second half Sunday. I like the Lions to give the Packers their first loss of the season if Stafford has his swagger early."
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