The Packers' defense got stops early, but the big play it was searching for never materialized against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Tom Brady protected the football, Ronald Jones posted his third consecutive 100-yard game on the ground and a Buccaneers team that registered 109 penalty yards a week earlier against Chicago finished without an official penalty in a 38-10 win over Green Bay at Raymond James Stadium.
The Packers' defense hit Brady four times, but finished without a sack for the first time this season. The future Hall of Fame quarterback was efficient in the pocket, completing 17-of-27 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
In the process, Brady reconnected with his all-time favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, who turned in a season-high five catches for 78 yards and his first touchdown as a Buccaneer as part of a 28-point second quarter for Tampa Bay.
"We gotta play better. As simple as that sounds, that's what we gotta do," safety Adrian Amos said. "We just gotta play better. We gotta execute better, we gotta adjust to what they're doing well and what we're not doing well. We just gotta get better with that."
With Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kenny Clark back from a groin injury, the Packers got off to an ideal start in forcing Tampa Bay to punt on its first two possessions while Green Bay took a 10-0 lead into the second quarter.
However, the tide shifted when Buccaneers defensive backs Jamel Dean and Mike Edwards intercepted Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on back-to-back series, beginning a run of 38 unanswered points for Tampa Bay.
Defensively, Green Bay was unable to match the Buccaneers in the big-play department. It finished without a deflected pass, with Amos' near-INT in the third quarter being the closest the Packers would come to a takeaway.
"That's something that the defense really can't control at the time," said Amos of Tampa Bay's two interceptions in the second quarter. "But as the game went on, we started to have just little miscues here and there. And we really needed a big play to turn the tide of the game, and we didn't get that."
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers played disciplined football in all three phases. After having 11 penalties for 109 yards haunt them in a 20-19 loss to Chicago a week ago, Tampa Bay was flagged only once – an unnecessary roughness penalty on Ndamukong Suh, which was nullified by an offsetting penalty. Conversely, the Packers finished with six infractions for 76 yards.
Without cornerback Kevin King (quad), third-year cornerback Josh Jackson made his first start since Dec. 30, 2018. He had a pair of third-down tackles that forced punts but also was flagged for a 40-yard pass interference penalty on third-and-12 in the third quarter that gave the Bucs the ball at the Green Bay 1.
The Green Bay Packers faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 6 matchup on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.
Two plays later, Jones powered in for his second touchdown of the day to put Tampa Bay up by four touchdowns. Jones finished with 23 carries for 113 yards, while the Buccaneers registered 158 yards on 35 carries as a team.
The Packers' defense will look to regroup next week in Houston and there's no question in Amos' mind what'll be required to produce a different result – big plays and takeaways.
"We've just got to figure out a way to get the ball," Amos said. "It's only Week 5. We're 4-1. We've got to regroup. Turnovers will come. We've got to keep getting after the ball, keep getting pressure on the quarterback, keep being sticky on the back end. We've got to make sure we're on our guys and execute, and those plays will come. They can come in bunches."