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(Sunday, November 20th)
Final Score: Green Bay 35, Tampa Bay 26
Green Bay, WI (Sports Network) - Aaron Rodgers passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns on 23-of-34 efficiency as Green Bay outlasted Tampa Bay, 35-26, at Lambeau Field to remain perfect on the season.
"I'm not going to speak for anybody else but personally I just didn't play my best game, so I've got to look at myself first," said a disappointed Rodgers. "I've got to play better and it probably won't be as close."
Jordy Nelson racked up 123 yards and a pair of scores on just six receptions, and Tom Crabtree added a TD catch for the Packers (10-0), who matched the 1962 squad for the best start in franchise history.
James Starks collected 53 yards on six grabs and 38 yards on 11 carries, with B.J. Raji and John Kuhn posting a rushing score each as Green Bay extended its winning streak to 16 games dating back last year's Super Bowl run.
The NFC North leaders will look to set a new mark for consecutive victories to begin a campaign on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit against the resurgent Lions.
Kellen Winslow totaled a game-highs of 132 receiving yards and nine catches for the Buccaneers (4-6), who have dropped four straight games. Josh Freeman completed 28-of-38 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns but was picked off twice by Tramon Williams.
LeGarrette Blount amassed 107 yards with a score on 18 carries and Mike Williams finished with 83 yards and a TD on seven receptions in defeat.
"We played hard, we played fast, we played smart and we played physical," noted Bucs head coach Raheem Morris. "When you lose like that, I can definitely go home satisfied and get ready to go play next week."
Freeman hit Williams for a nine-yard score early in the fourth to get the Buccaneers within 21-19, but an open Winslow fell in the end zone and dropped the conversion pass.
That cost the visitors dearly, as Green Bay then moved 85 yards in eight plays and took a 28-19 advantage with 7:42 to play after Kuhn's two-yard plunge. The score followed a pass interference call on Tampa's E.J. Biggars which gave the home team 1st-and-goal.
After holding the Bucs to a three-and-out, most of Randall Cobb's long punt return was negated due to a block in the back. Green Bay took over on Tampa's 45, but Elbert Mack picked off Rodgers on first down and Tampa Bay had the ball on the 50.
Arrelious Benn's leaping 37-yard grab plus a defensive pass interference call on 1st-and-10 from the Packers' 39 led to Dezmon Briscoe's two-yard TD catch on the next play. The extra point pulled the visitors within 28-26 with 4:25 remaining.
Green Bay recovered the onside kick, and an offsides call on Tampa Bay pushed the ball into Bucs territory. Three plays later Rodgers found Nelson in stride for a 40-yard score and 35-26 game with 2:55 to play.
On the Bucs' next play from scrimmage, Tramon Williams hauled in a tipped pass and returned the pick to the visitors' 13-yard line. Mason Crosby's 29-yard attempt with 1:36 left clanked off the right upright, but Tampa's final drive came up short when Winslow gained 10 yards on 4th-and-15 from his own 33.
Green Bay's second drive of the game, an 88-yard march lasting almost 8 1/2 minutes, culminated with Raji bulling his way through tacklers into the end zone for a one-yard score.
"He's low to the ground...I wouldn't want to tackle him," said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy of the Boston College product. "That's really the design of the play. But B.J. is an excellent athlete, he has great feet. It's something we have been practicing since training camp so I was actually just glad to get it finally called."
It was 14-0 for the home team early in the second quarter as Rodgers found Crabtree for a five-yard TD strike.
But Blount was a one-man wrecking crew to bring the Bucs back within a score, fighting off multiple tacklers en route to his 54-yard touchdown run on the ensuing series.
Connor Barth connected on a 23-yard field goal to cap a seven-minute Tampa Bay series for a four-point spread, but the Packers responded with a five-yard TD connection to Nelson for a 21-10 contest.
Williams picked off Freeman at the Packers' 28 on Tampa's final drive of the first half.
A offensive pass interference call wiped out a Freeman-to-Winslow connection on 3rd-and-3 from the Green Bay four with just over five minutes left in the third quarter, and Barth hit from 32 yards out to make it 21-13.
Green Bay has won 13 of its last 14 home contests against Tampa Bay since 1990, and is 18-7 all-time (including five games at Milwaukee) against the Bucs as the hosts...The 1962 Packers lost their 11th game of the year -- at Detroit -- on Thanksgiving but finished 13-1 and topped the Giants for the NFL championship...Tampa Bay rolled up 455 yards of total offense, to 378 for Green Bay...Rodgers was deprived of his seventh 300-yard passing performance this year when his late-game completion to Kuhn went for minus-one yard. The California product last reached the 300-yard mark on October 23 at Minnesota.
11/20 20:35:47 ET
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