The Packers's first game of the year against a good team did not turn out as well as I had hoped. They lost at Tampa Bay, 14-10, and as a result the jury is still out on how good this team really is. My opinion is that they are good enough to play with anyone in the league, but they are not good enough to make as many mistakes as they did today and still come away with a win against a good team.
Bonehead play of the day. The Packers were leading, 10-7, and the Packers had 3rd and long at about the 35 yard line of the Buccaneers. Favre's pass was incomplete, but, in the words of John Madden, there were flags, hats andbeanbags on the field. After a huddle of the officials, there were offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct calls on the Buccaneers and on the Packers. When they showed the replay, one of the Buccaneers made a late hit on Bill Schroeder. While the flag was already in the air in a position where Schroeder probably could even see it, Schroeder got up and decked the guy. Out came the hats and beanbags. Give me a break. I like Bill Schroeder, but he is supposed to be a professional, and he should have the presence of mind to realize that he just cost his team a first down inside the Buccaneers' 20 yard line. Instead, they had to punt, and one series later, the Buccaneers scored the game-winning points on a long TD run by Mike Alstott. Mike Holmgren would have grabbed Schroeder by the face mask for that offense, and so would I.
But despite Favre's 3 interceptions, including the 10 or 14 point swing on the play in the second quarter where Favre's pass from inside the Bucs' 10 yard line was intercepted and run back 98 yards for a touchdown, despite the missed tackles on the Alstott touchdown, despite Schroeder's inexcusable penalty, the Packers almost pulled this game out. The Packers got as close as the Bucs' 8 yard line before a penalty and a sack moved them back, and Favre's 4th down pass was batted down as time expired.
It's too bad, because if they had gone to 4-0, they would have been in great shape in both the division and in the NFC. At 3-1, they are still in sole possession of 1st place in the NFC Central, but now have to look forward to 2 more tough tests against the Ravens and Vikings. Now they must win one of those two games, or all of the benefit of their 3-0 start will have been