Final

Buccaneers 26

(4-6, 1-3 away)

Packers 35

(10-0, 5-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 20, 2011

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI 

1 2 3 4 T
TB 0 10 3 1326
GB 7 14 0 1435

Top Performers

Passing: J. Freeman (TB) - 342 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: L. Blount (TB) - 18 CAR, 107 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: K. Winslow (TB) - 9 REC, 132 YDS

Packers deny Bucs' rally thanks to Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson

Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers missed a few more throws than he usually does, and even threw an interception with the game still in doubt.

He just wasn't at his best against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday -- until he absolutely had to be.

With the Packers clinging to a two-point lead and trying to fend off a late rally, Rodgers threw a 40-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson with 2:55 left and the Packers survived a scare from the Buccaneers for a 35-26 victory.

With a 10-0 record going into a Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit, the Packers remain perfect, even if their quarterback walked away expecting much more from himself. Rodgers threw for 299 yards with three touchdowns, including a pair to Nelson, but wasn't happy with the way he played.

"I'm just frustrated," Rodgers said. "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 out the way I wanted it to today."

The Packers' defense also had trouble stopping quarterback Josh Freeman and tackling running back LeGarrette Blount, giving Packers coach Mike McCarthy plenty of mistakes to point out going into what will be a much-hyped matchup with the Lions.

"I think it was great for us," McCarthy said. "Adversity is awesome. We're getting ready to play a big game on national TV on Thanksgiving, and adversity (offers) healthy situations to learn from. Especially when you overcome it."

Freeman threw for 342 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Buccaneers (4-6), who have lost four straight but didn't back down against the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Blount had 107 yards rushing for Tampa Bay, including a rambling 54-yard touchdown run in the second quarter where he broke at least six tackles.

Tampa Bay was penalized nine times for 55 yards, but Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris wasn't using it as an excuse.

"Penalties are what they are, they are judgment calls and the judgment went against us a lot of times," Morris said. "It is what it is"

Tight end Tom Crabtree caught a touchdown from Rodgers and John Kuhn added a touchdown rushing from Green Bay. The Packers got their first score of the afternoon on a run by 337-pound defensive lineman B.J. Raji.

"He's low to the ground," McCarthy said. "I wouldn't want to tackle him."

The Buccaneers trailed by only four points and seemed to have some momentum when they tried a surprise onside kick before halftime. After a replay review gave the ball to Green Bay at the Tampa Bay 38-yard line, Rodgers drove for a 5-yard touchdown to Nelson that gave the Packers a 21-10 lead.

Tampa Bay then had a touchdown taken off the board in the third quarter when Kellen Winslow was called for offensive pass interference. The Buccaneers settled for a 32-yard field goal by Connor Barth.

"I really felt we made enough to plays to beat those guys," Winslow said. "It is hard to win when you put the game in the refs' hands."

The Buccaneers' defense got a stop, and Freeman directed an eight-play, 91-yard scoring drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams.

Tampa Bay tried to tie it with a 2-point conversion, but Winslow -- who had a pair of big gains on the drive -- dropped a catchable ball in the end zone.

Packers running back James Starks did the majority of the work in an eight-play, 85-yard scoring drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Kuhn.

But the Buccaneers got another chance when Rodgers threw an interception to Elbert Mack -- only Rodgers' fourth pick this season -- and Freeman threw a 37-yard pass to Arrelious Benn to set up first-and-goal at the 2.

Freeman then threw a touchdown to Dezmon Briscoe and the Buccaneers kicked the extra point to cut the Packers' lead to 28-26 with 4:25 left.

Tampa Bay tried another onside kick, but the Packers recovered and Rodgers found Nelson to put the game away.

Morris knew he might get second-guessed for the onside kicks but wasn't apologizing.

"We wanted to get the ball and win," Morris said. "We are not going to apologize for being aggressive. When you play the Green Bay Packers, you got to play aggressive, you got to go out and make plays. (You've) got to steal possessions."

Game notes


McCarthy said Starks sprained his knee during Sunday's game, and his availability this week is unclear. ... A late interception gave the Packers' Mason Crosby a shot at a 29-yard field goal, but Crosby hit the right upright, his first miss of the season. ... Packers punter Tim Masthay turned a broken play into a first down in the first quarter, despite fumbling twice on the play. "Tim's got to hold onto that football," Rodgers said, smiling. "That was pretty funny."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
TB
GB
1st Downs2224
Passing 1st downs
1715
Rushing 1st downs
56
1st downs from Penalties
03
3rd down efficiency
5-117-12
4th down efficiency
0-11-1
Total Plays6059
Total Yards455378
Yards per play7.66.4
Total Drives1112
Passing334287
Comp - Att
28-3823-34
Yards per pass
8.88.4
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks - Yards Lost
2-82-12
Rushing12191
Rushing Attempts
2023
Yards per rush
6.14.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-44-5
Penalties9-555-37
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession31:2128:39

Passing Leaders

TBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Freeman28/383429.0222-8
GBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rodgers23/342998.8312-12

Rushing Leaders

TBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Blount181075.9154
Benn199.009
GBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Starks11383.5020
Rodgers5285.6011

Receiving Leaders

TBRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Winslow913214.703711
Williams78311.912111
GBRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Nelson612320.52407
Driver47218.00355

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERTBGB
gbTD02:51B.J. Raji 1 Yd Run (Mason Crosby Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERTBGB
gbTD13:44Tom Crabtree 5 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 014
tbTD12:46LeGarrette Blount 54 Yd Run (Connor Barth Kick) 714
tbFG03:52Connor Barth 23 Yd 1014
gbTD01:58Jordy Nelson 5 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 1021
THIRD QUARTERTBGB
tbFG04:53Connor Barth 32 Yd 1321
FOURTH QUARTERTBGB
tbTD13:07Mike Williams 9 Yd Pass From Josh Freeman (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 1921
gbTD07:42John Kuhn 2 Yd Run (Mason Crosby Kick) 1928
tbTD04:25Dezmon Briscoe 2 Yd Pass From Josh Freeman (Connor Barth Kick) 2628
gbTD02:55Jordy Nelson 40 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 2635