The Good, Bad And Ugly From The Green Bay Packers’ Loss To The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Good, Bad And Ugly From The Green Bay Packers’ Loss To The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The Good, Bad And Ugly From The Green Bay Packers’ Loss To The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
#Good #Bad #Ugly #Green #Bay #Packers #Loss #Tampa #Bay #Buccaneers,

Go Pack Go. Go Pack Go.

Those chants typically echo through Lambeau Field during Green Bay Packers’ home games.

On Sunday, the theme changed to Joe Must Go. Joe Must Go.

Green Bay Packers’ defensive coordinator Joe Barry has been on the hot seat for more than a year now, as his unit continues to disappoint. Things hit a new low, though, in the Packers’ 34-20 loss to visiting Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers scored on six of their eight possessions and compiled their second-most points of the season. Tampa Bay piled up 452 total yards and averaged a ridiculous 7.5 yards per play.

Afterwards, Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur was asked if he would consider dumping Barry.

“Uh yeah, now’s not the time for that, to be honest with you,” LaFleur said.

When pressed as to why not, LaFleur continued: “Because now’s not the time. I’m trying to find solutions and I’ve got to go back and take a look at the film.”

Tampa Bay improved to 7-7 and maintained its hold on first place in the NFC South. The Packers, who started the day with the seventh and final playoff spot, fell to 6-8 and out of the postseason for the time being.

“We’ve put ourselves in one heck of a hole and the only thing that’s going to cure it is we’ve got to win out,” Green Bay right guard Jon Runyan said. “Who knows what’s going to happen. We’re 6-8 right now and 9-8 gets you to a good spot. So we’ll see what happens. I think it’s doable.”

Here’s the good, bad and ugly from the Packers’ loss to the Buccaneers, beginning with the ugly:


JOE BARRY’S DEFENSELESS TROOPS: Buffalo and Pittsburgh have fired offensive coordinators this year.

Philadelphia and Washington have fired defensive coordinators.

Barry’s fate was almost certainly sealed with Sunday’s embarrassing performance. The only question is when LaFleur pulls the trigger.

That’s because Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield had perhaps the best day of his rocky career with four touchdown passes and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Wideout Chris Godwin went wild with 10 catches.

Running back Rasheed White had 89 rushing yards and a 26-yard TD reception. David Moore, Mike Evans and Ko Kieft had touchdown receptions, as well.

In every way, shape and form it was an embarrassing performance from Barry’s defense. And Barry’s seat went from hot to scalding.

“It’s all concerning, right, when it looks like there’s some confusion going on back there,” LaFleur said. “You’ve got to be so coordinated and so in tune, really on all three levels.

“Every guy plays off one another and when there’s any type of miscommunication, you get gashed and that’s what happened.”

Added cornerback Carrington Valentine: “I mean, I’m pissed, as you all can see. As a competitor, I don’t like it. But you know, it’s the nature of the job, so we’ve got to figure it out.”

MATT LAFLEUR: Green Bay’s head coach dumped Mike Pettine as his defensive coordinator after the 2020 season. The Packers ranked ninth that season in total defense (334.0) and 13th in points (23.1).

After LaFleur was turned down by former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, he turned to old pal Joe Barry. And that’s been a colossal mistake.

Barry was a defensive coordinator in Detroit in 2007-08 and in Washington in 2015-16, where things went remarkably bad.

Detroit ranked dead last in yards and points in both of Barry’s seasons running the defense.

In 2015, Washington ranked 28th in yards (380.6) and 17th in points (23.7). Then in 2016, Washington was once again 28th in yards (377.9) and 19th in points allowed (23.9).

Despite being handed a wealth of talent — for example, this year’s Green Bay’s defense has eight first round draft picks — Barry’s units have been mediocre, at best.

In the last two weeks, with the Packers fighting for their playoff lives, Barry’s defense was shredded by New York Giants undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito and Tampa Bay journeyman Baker Mayfield. DeVito was the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week last week, and Mayfield will almost certainly win those honors last week.

While the fan base will rightfully scream for Barry’s ouster, LaFleur knew what he was getting three years ago: a coordinator that had failed in two previous stops.

LaFleur blew it by going the retread route. And while Barry will almost certainly be handed a pink slip soon, if LaFleur doesn’t get his next defensive coordinator right, he could be next.


BAKER GOES WILD: Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield has had some miserable performances at Lambeau Field in recent years.

He threw four interceptions two years ago when he was with Cleveland. Mayfield led the Los Angeles Rams to just 12 points in a loss last year.

It was a different Mayfield Sunday.

Mayfield finished 22-of-28 for 381 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. That helped Mayfield achieve a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

“The third time’s a charm,” Mayfield said of playing at Lambeau Field. “That’s for sure. Our team was really prepared to come in here. Just liked we talked about that mentality, the playoff mentality, to come in here with one job in mind and just find a way to win, and we did that. So just couldn’t be happier with this group. We will enjoy it, but then hit the reset button onto next week.”

Mayfield completed 12-of-14 passes for 187 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the first half and posted a 142.6 passer rating. He was even better in the second half, leading Tampa Bay to touchdowns on all three of its possessions.

“He’s meant everything,” Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles said of Mayfield. “From a mental standpoint to a quarterback standpoint making plays. From a toughness standpoint. From a leadership standpoint. He’s done everything. He’s checked all the boxes. He’s doing all the right things now and I can’t say enough about him.”

CHRIS GODWIN: The Packers had no answers for the Buccaneers’ seventh-year wideout.

Godwin caught 10 passes for 155 yards, which were season-highs in both category. In the first half alone, Godwin had seven receptions for 108 yards with a long of 25.

“The guy is just so consistent, man. I can’t say enough about him,” Mayfield said of Godwin. “A true stud. A true professional. He has never complained. He has never done any of that. Just has done everything he needs to do.

“Today he was balling. Just some clutch catches, that’s for sure. He didn’t get in the endzone, but was definitely the guy to keep the chains moving consistently today and set up everybody else. So I couldn’t be happier for Chris.”

MISSING IN ACTION: Wideout Christian Watson (hamstring), running back A.J. Dillon (broken thumb), cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and safety Darnell Savage (shoulder) were all inactive for Green Bay.

Alexander, the NFL’s highest paid cornerback, missed his sixth straight game. Alexander has played in just five games this season.

Watson, who has had hamstring issues during his first two seasons, suffered another hamstring injury against Kansas City on Dec. 3. Watson, who has 28 receptions and five touchdowns this season, missed his fifth game of the year.

Dillon, who leads the Packers with 574 rushing yards, missed the first game of his four-year career. And Savage, who is dealing with a shoulder injury, was inactive for the sixth time in Green Bay’s last eight games.

“We need everybody,” Green Bay rookie tight end Tucker Kraft said. “We’re playing with a team right now, still a good team … but just ravaged by injuries. We’ve got a lot of key players out right now and that’s tough.”

Making matters worse standout rookie wideout Jayden Reed left with a toe injury late in the game and was hobbling in the locker room afterwards.

“It’s not broke. It’s just a little sore,” Reed said. “Man, it’s tough. That’s just the sport of ball.”

THIS AND THAT: Green Bay drove to Tampa Bay’s 49-yard line late in the first half. But a critical delay of game penalty helped ruin the drive. … Tampa Bay held a 211-146 edge in total first half yards, including a 167-104 advantage in passing yards. … The Packers had a third-and-7 on their first drive of the second half. There was clearly a communication breakdown as wideouts Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks wound up in the same spot, as Love’s pass sailed high. … Tampa Bay went 7-for-11 on third downs.


DONTAYVION WICKS: The Packers rookie fifth round draft pick gets better by the week.

Wicks tied for the Packers’ lead in receptions (six) and had a team-best 97 receiving yards. Making that performance even more impressive is Wicks was battling an ankle injury all week and was questionable to play.

“He’s made a lot of big plays for us this year and he’s a guy that we’re really excited about,” LaFleur said of Wicks. “I think the sky’s the limit for him. I really do. I think he’s got a really high ceiling. I know he cares about football.”

KINGSLEY ENAGBARE: Green Bay’s second year outside linebacker made one of the biggest plays of the game.

Late in the first quarter, Enagbare sacked Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield. Enagbare forced a fumble and recovered it at the Buccaneers’ 4-yard line.

Tw plays later, Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tucker Kraft.

“I kind of got a pass read from the O-lineman and kind of set up a good get off,” Enagbare said. “It was one of those plays where he kept on pump faking and I was pretty much able to come up with it.”

TUCKER KRAFT: Green Bay’s rookie tight end had just seven receptions heading into the month of December. Kraft has 11 catches this month alone.

Kraft carved up Tampa Bay’s defense and finished with four receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Kraft has taken advantage of increased playing time following an injury to Luke Musgrave. Kraft has flashed the ability to not only separate in the passing game, but surprising athleticism in the open field.

Kraft also tried hurdling a tackler, took a shot to the groin and missed a few plays.

“I thought he was going to try and go low, cut my legs out on the sideline which is usually what happens,” Kraft said. “He didn’t. I jumped. He put his helmet in my manhood and had to take a little breather. But that’s the only way I play. Only way.”

WELCOME BACK: Green Bay got a boost from the return of running back Aaron Jones and cornerback Eric Stokes.

Jones, who suffered a knee injury against the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19, was active for the first time in four weeks. He finished with 53 rushing yards and had four receptions.

It’s been a frustrating seventh season for Jones, who had played in only seven games. Jones had rushed for just 245 yards prior to Sunday, was averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry and had three total touchdowns.

“We always have input on what’s going on with our bodies,” Jones said. “I’ve always wanted to be out there but they’re going to always look out for the best of us.

“They’re going to protect us from ourselves, even when we don’t want to be protected. I respect them for that. I think that’s knowing your personnel because you have guys who are opposite and then guys you literally (have to) pull off the field.”

Stokes, Green Bay’s first round pick in 2021, suffered a Lisfranc injury last year that required season-ending surgery. Stokes battled through that recovery and hamstring issues during camp, then during his season debut in Week 6 re-injured his hamstring after just four snaps in Denver.

“This comeback, it’s been hell,” Stokes said. “It’s been hell. It’s been highs and lows to everything. That’s just life, though. You’ve got to wake up every morning and be blessed. Everything else has been good though.”

THIS AND THAT: Kenny Clark’s first quarter sack was the 32nd of his career and moved him into ninth place in team history in that department. Clark later added another sack and now has 33 in his career. … Aaron Jones ripped off a 20-yard run on his first carry, his longest of the season. … In addition to Clark’s two sacks, outside linebacker Lucas Van Ness, defensive end Devonte Wyatt and outside linebacker Kingsley Enagbare all had sacks.

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The Good, Bad And Ugly From The Green Bay Packers’ Loss To The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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