Star quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers both entered Sunday’s matchup with a hindered receiving corps. The lack of available weapons on both sides led to a slower, less-eventful matchup. But an exciting ending saw a failed two-point conversion from the Bucs with 14 seconds left, causing the team to fall to the Packers 14-12.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) September 21, 2022
Recently acquired Bucs receiver Cole Beasley admitted that he earned his spot on the team by simply sending Brady a direct message via Instagram.
Rodgers was without Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson, two of his top wide receivers. This placed the focus on rookie Romeo Doubs and veterans Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard.
Without receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, Brady was left with little options. This caused Tampa Bay to get off to a slow start. In fact, Tampa Bay didn’t cross mid-field until the later part of the second quarter.
Although Tampa’s offensive line did not play poorly, they managed to give up two early sacks. While this can be attributed to simply allowing pressure, game-planning and miscommunication among the newly-inserted players may have been a cause for this.
Any sign of life that the Buccaneers exhibited throughout the first half was quickly stepped on. After a momentum-shifting fumble recovery by Logan Ryan late in the first half, Tampa fumbled before even getting a chance to grace the scoreboard.
Early Defensive Struggles
The return of All-Pro veteran guard David Bakhtiari instilled some early energy into the Packers offense. Bakhtiari had not seen the field since tearing his ACL in practice in 2020.
The Packers are getting back All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari on Sunday against the Buccaneers. It’s just the second time he’s been active since his devastating knee injury. https://t.co/57j1sN1tUk
— The Packers Wire (@ThePackersWire) September 25, 2022
Rodgers kicked the contest off by tossing rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs his first career touchdown. The next drive, he found veteran Allen Lazard for a six-yard touchdown.
The Packers were preparing to reach the end zone once more, when nose guard Vita Vea suddenly forced Aaron Jones to fumble on the goal line.
An Exciting Final Drive
The Buccaneers slow start leaked into the second half. After finally reaching opposing territory in the second half, receiver Russell Gage quickly coughed the ball up to the Packers. A field goal by Ryan Succop midway through the third quarter got Tampa on the board.
As usual, Brady had some fourth quarter magic left in the tank. With the Bucs beginning their drive with just over three minutes left, Brady led Tampa on an 89-yard drive. Gage emerged as a top target, hauling in four passes including what could have been the game-tying touchdown.
Despite Tampa’s offense suddenly ramping up, things ended in an anticlimactic manner as the Bucs failed to convert their two-point conversion. A delay of game penalty pushed the Bucs back five yards, and a tipped pass allowed the Packers to hand the Bucs their first loss of the season.
With a final score of 14-12, the game ultimately ended being a defensive battle despite being headlined by two offensive stars.
Tampa Bay faces another test in week four as they play the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night at 8:20 p.m.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 25, 2022