Yes, the Packers have proved without a shadow of a doubt that they can run the football as well as any other team in the NFL.
However, they can no longer throw the ball effectively, which might be the first time that can be said in Brett Favre's 200-game reign as their quarterback.
Favre suffered a broken right thumb Oct. 19 in the St. Louis game. He finished that game with 268 yards passing. Since then, his numbers have gone down each week.
He threw for 194 against Minnesota. He threw for 109 against Philadelphia. And in the 20-13 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday he threw for merely 92.
"We have to throw the football," vice president of football operations Mark Hatley said.
Obviously, that's true. But until Favre's thumb feels better, and it felt
worse after the Bucs' game when he banged it off the helmet of guard Mike Wahle,
the ground game will reign supreme in Green Bay.
REPORT CARD VS. BUCCANEERS
PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Brett Favre continues to gut it out with a broken thumb. He was 13 of 28 for 92 yards as the Packers kept him out of harm's way. He wasn't sacked, breaking the Bucs' NFL record of 69 straight games. Robert Ferguson made a few plays, including a 23-yard completion that was the longest of the day.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- After averaging 76 yards on the ground in five previous losses at Raymond James the Packers pounded out 190 in 38 carries. This was a matter of grit and will. The Bucs knew what was coming, especially with Brett Favre obviously subpar, but they couldn't stop it. Score another triumph for Ahman Green and his wonderful, physical offensive line. Najeh Davenport had his best coming off the bench, barging 13 times for 70 yards.
PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- Brad Johnson was under constant pressure from Cletidus Hunt, Larry Smith and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. He was sacked three times and didn't have time to go vertical. Not that there was anybody open. Cornerbacks Mike McKenzie and Al Harris were all over Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell and Joe Jurevicius at the line. Interceptions were made by Nick Barnett and Darren Sharper.
RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Packers played the run pretty well with the exception of tosses to the left by Thomas Jones that went for 61 and 51 yards. Both plays were directed right at Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who was shoved down inside, and linebacker Hannibal Navies didn't fare much better. The 51-yard run would have been about 6 or 7 if Antuan Edwards hadn't whiffed on the tackle in the hole.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- And the Bucs deserved an F. The difference in hustle by the two coverage units was incredible. The Packers made a good move, benching diminutive Antonio Chatman on kickoffs and going with Robert Ferguson and Najeh Davenport. Davenport ripped off a 56-yard kickoff return when he broke a tackle by Thomas Jones about 15 yards downfield. On punts, Chatman had a 27-yarder, his longest since Week 3. Josh Bidwell punted rather well, except for a 25-yarder right before halftime that led to a Bucs' field goal.
COACHING: B-plus -- The Packers rushed on 30.9% of their plays in
losing all five previous games at Raymond James. On Sunday, they rushed 57.6
percent, taking advantage of their strength as a team and protecting Brett
Favre. Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley has done an outstanding job in the last