DE Kevin Carter and the Bucs' defense sacked QB Aaron Rodgers three times and picked him off twice in the first half
Led by a stout defensive unit that tallied two interceptions and three sacks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers headed into the locker room at Raymond James Stadium with a 13-7 halftime lead over the visiting Green Bay Packers.
The Packers rolled right down the field on their first possession of the game, capped by a 25-yard strike from QB Aaron Rodgers to WR Greg Jennings on a play in which CB Ronde Barber lost his footing. The Bucs very nearly stalled the drive near midfield, but the Packers were able to convert a fourth-and-inches play to keep the march going.
The Bucs got off to a slow start, punting on both of their first-quarter possessions. But an interception on a tipped pass by LB Derrick Brooks early in the second quarter gave the Bucs prime field position, and QB Brian Griese capitalized. After moving inside the Packers' 10-yard line, Griese hit TE Alex Smith on a play action pass, and the nine-yard strike evened the score at seven after K Matt Bryant's extra point.
Another stand by the Tampa Bay defense led to points later in the quarter. After pinning the Packers deep in their own territory and forcing a punt, the Bucs capitalized on the short field with a 23-yard field goal by K Matt Bryant to make it 10-7 with 6:43 to go.
Bryant added another field goal with just over minute to go in the half off of another turnover forced by the Bucs' defense. LB Barrett Ruud's interception set the Bucs up inside Green Bay territory once again, and Bryant's ensuing field goal made it 10-7 late in the half.
The Bucs' defense, behind those two interceptions and three sacks, limited the Packers to only 115 total net yards. The offense managed only 119 yards of its own, but the field position created by the defense allowed the unit to work with some short fields and put points on the board.
- Green Bay won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. CB Will Blackmon returned the kick to the Green Bay 42. RB Ryan Grant took the first play from scrimmage and picked up six yards on a run to the left. Grant picked up three yards on a second-down run, setting up third-and-one at the Tampa Bay 49. The Bucs' defense stuffed Grant on a run up the middle, leaving the Packers in a fourth-and-short situation. Green Bay elected to go for it, and QB Aaron Rodgers tried to sneak up the middle. It was very close, but a measurement showed that Rodgers had picked up just enough for a first down. Rodgers rolled right on a play action pass on the next play, but the Bucs had excellent coverage on the play and Rodgers was forced to run out of bounds for a two-yard loss. On second down, Rodgers threw to a wide open TE Donald Lee, but the ball bounced off Lee's hands incomplete. Before the third-and-12 play at the 50, DE Gaines Adams jumped offside to give the Packers five free yards. Now facing third-and-seven, Rodgers found WR Jordy Nelson wide open for 11 yards and a first down. Grant picked up eight yards on first down but was stuffed on second down for no gain. On third-and-two at the Bucs' 25, the Packers scored the first points of the game. CB Ronde Barber fell down, leaving WR Greg Jennings all alone for a 25-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers. K Mason Crosby's extra point was good and the Packers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. * WR Dexter Jackson fielded the ensuing kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and returned it all the way to the Bucs' 32-yard line. On first down, RB Earnest Graham picked up three yards on a run up the middle, then picked up another yard on second down. Facing third-and-six at the 36, QB Brian Griese tried to hit WR Antonio Bryant over the middle, but tight coverage forced an incompletion and P Josh Bidwell came on to punt. Bidwell's booming 64-yard drive bounced through the end zone, setting the Packers up at their own 20. * Rodgers hit WR Donald Drive on a quick pass on first down for eight yards, but Grant was stuffed on second down for a gain of only one. On third-and-one at the 29, Grant ran left and picked up just enough yardage to move the chains. On first down, Rodgers was very nearly picked off by LB Derrick Brooks, and Grant burst ahead on second down for a gain of six. The third-and-four play saw Rodgers get flushed from the pocket by the Bucs' pass rush and throw incomplete after rolling to his right. P Derrick Frost came on to punt, and Jackson watched the ball roll out of bounds at the Bucs' 23. * Griese's first down pass hit a referee in the middle of the field and fell incomplete. RB Warrick Dunn took the second down handoff and darted ahead for four yards. Facing third-and-six, Griese threw low to WR Ike Hilliard incomplete, but an illegal contact penalty on the Packers gave the Bucs five yards and a first down. Griese threw a quick pass to Bryant for six yards, then found Graham for another three yards. On third-and-one at the Bucs' 41, Graham plowed ahead up the middle for just enough yardage to earn a first down. Griese tried to hit Bryant on a deep ball over the middle on the next play, but Green Bay had good coverage and the ball fell incomplete. On second down, Dunn took a handoff and spun ahead for six yards, setting up third-and-four at the Bucs' 48. Griese looked for WR Maurice Stovall over the middle, but the pass was broken up by CB Charles Woodson and the Bucs were forced to punt once again. Blackmon fielded the punt and was immediately wrapped up at the Packers 23. * Rodgers hit Jennings on first down for a gain of six, then hit Lee for six more yards and a first down. Grant then ran left for a nice gain, but it was negated by a holding penalty on the Packers. On first-and-20, Rodgers threw low to Jennings, who was unable to reel in the pass. Grant was swallowed up on a second down draw play after a gain of only two as the first quarter came to a close. Facing third-and-18, Rodgers pass went right through RB Brandon Jackson's hands and into the waiting arms of Brooks. Brooks pitched the interception to LB Cato June, and the Bucs wound up taking over at the Green Bay 32. * Graham rushed for no gain on first down. Griese was hit as he threw on second down and the pass fell incomplete. On third-and-10, Griese threw incomplete over the middle for WR Michael Clayton, but a pass interference penalty moved the Bucs up to the 27. On first down, Clayton took an end around and ran ahead for four yards. On second down, Dunn was stopped for no gain. Facing third-and-six at the 23, Griese hit Bryant on a slant for 13 yards and a first down as the Bucs moved to the Green Bay nine. Griese then rolled left on a play action pass and threw to TE Alex Smith, who shrugged off a tackle and walked into the end zone for a touchdown. K Matt Bryant's extra point was good and the Bucs evened the score at 7. * Nelson fielded a short kickoff and got a nice return, but a personal foul penalty backed the Packers up to their own 11 to start the drive. Grant took a handoff to the right but was sniffed out by Brooks for a loss of five yards. Brooks very nearly notched his second pick of the day on the next play, leaping to knock down Rodgers pass. Facing third-and-15 at the six, Rodgers threw high for Nelson and incomplete, bringing Frost on to punt. The Packers downed Frost's kick at the Green Bay 41, giving the Bucs excellent field position. * On first down, Griese got smacked but was able to get the pass off and hit Dunn for six yards. Dunn then took a handoff on second down and picked up three yards. On third-and-one at the Packers' 31, Graham ran straight up the gut, picking up four yards and moving the sticks. Dunn then caught a short pass over the middle and eluded a tackler who was right on his back, sprinting ahead for 17 yards. With the Bucs now inside the red zone, Dunn was stuffed on first down at the 10 for no gain. Griese then hit Clayton over the middle for a gain of five, setting up third-and-goal. Griese threw to the back of the end zone for TE Jerramy Stevens, but tight coverage forced an incompletion. Bryant came on to attempt a 23-yard field goal, and the kick sailed through the uprights, making it 10-7 in favor of the Bucs. * Blackmon fielded the kickoff and was planted at the Green Bay 22, where Rodgers and the offense took over. Grant was stuffed on first down for a loss of one, but Rodgers hit Jennings down the right sideline for a gain of 21. DE Jimmy Wilkerson then burst through the line and sacked Rodgers for a loss of seven yards on the next play. On second-and-17, Rodgers threw an errant pass deep over the middle that landed right in the lap of LB Barrett Ruud, who returned the pick to the Green Bay 45. * On first down, Clayton dropped Griese's pass for an incompletion, but Griese lofted a pass toward the left sideline on second down that Hilliard made an outstanding grab on as he fell to the turf, picking up 13 yards and a first down. Graham was then swallowed up for a loss of two. On second-and-12 at the 34, the Bucs burned their first timeout of the half before Griese threw a pass over the middle that was nearly picked off. On third down, Griese hit Clayton, who fought hard to get within a yard of the first down marker. Electing to go for in on fourth-and-inches at the 23, Graham was able to dive up the middle for two yards and a first down as the clock wound down to the two-minute warning. A false start penalty backed the Bucs up five yards, but Dunn squirted through the line on a run to the left on the next play for a gain of eight. On second-and-seven at the 18, Griese's pass was batted down at the line for an incompletion, and on third down, Griese had the ball knocked down once again. Bryant came on for a 37-yard try, which was good, extending the Bucs' lead to 10-7. * Blackmon returned the kickoff to the 28, and Rodgers completed consecutive passes to Nelson to move the Packers to their own 44. After burning a timeout, Rodgers was sacked by Ruud on a blitz right up the middle, losing eight yards on the play. The Packers used another timeout, then completed a screen pass to Jackson for a gain of 17 with just 15 seconds to go. Green Bay then used its final timeout of the half. On third-and-one at the Tampa Bay 46, the Bucs used a timeout of their own just before the snap. On the third down play, Rodgers threw to a wide open Jennings, but the ball caromed off his fingertips incomplete. The Packers chose to go for it on fourth down with just 10 seconds remaining, and Rodgers pass to the sideline was incomplete as Jennings was unable to get two feet in bounds. * The Bucs took over at their own 46 and took a knee, bringing the first half to a close.