The End is Near

The contrast between the two offensive lines was glaring. Green Bay controlled the line of scrimmage as the Packer running backs pounded their way to an average over five yards per carry. They also protected Brett Favre well, and in doing so ended the Bucs' streak of consecutive games with a sack at 69; an NFL record.

The Buccaneers' offensive line did its part to kill drives with penalties and missed assignments in the same fashion as they have all season long. Rickey Dudley provided a spark by making a big catch and run, but it was quickly extinguished by a holding call on Kerry Jenkins. The hits kept coming as Kenyatta Walker continued his quest to set the record for most face mask penalties in a season. Walker was quoted as saying "I know they are watching me…I just don't know what to do about it". A little advice would be to stop grabbing defenders by the face mask.

Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport added their names to the long list of running backs who have made the Bucs' defense look like warm butter. They both looked like All Pro backs as they broke tackle after tackle. The Bucs almost seemed to refuse to wrap their arms around the ball carrier expecting him to go down with the initial contact. The result was The Packers finding themselves in second and five all afternoon. This contributed to their success on third down that they were easily picking up straight up the middle.

Favre threw for less than 100 yards, and still managed to lead his team to victory. Brad Johnson was not much better in passing for 149 yards on 28 attempts, and two interceptions. The biggest difference was Favre did not have to pass because the ground game was so effective, and Johnson was in third and long all afternoon. Not to mention the fact that the protection was night and day as Johnson was under duress on nearly every drop back, and Favre finished the game with his jersey as white as it was at kickoff.

Thomas Jones became the first Buccaneer to have two rushes over fifty yards (51, 61) in the same game. He finished with 134 yards on 9 carries. Keenan McCardell played hurt and continued to produce, his touchdown Sunday was his team leading seventh of the year.

The Bucs are officially up against the wall. Winning out does not even guarantee a playoff spot, but until they are mathematically eliminated the fans need to stay in the team's corner. It does not matter how you get there as long as you do, and of course if the Bucs pull it together and sneak into the playoffs, the Bay area will be filled with the "I never doubted them for a second" fan. Don't be that guy, pick a team and stick with them.

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