Throwback Thursday: Green Bay Vs. Tampa Bay. Oct. 23, 1977
The year was 1977. The State of Wisconsin had made the Packer Hall of Fame a state Historic Landmark. Green Bay was 5-9 the previous season, with hopes to restore the glory that was the Lombardi era.
The Packers came into this game looking to turn things around. They were into their third year of play under Bart Starr, and had not seen a winning season since 1969 under Phil Bengston. They went to Tampa with a four game losing streak for the first of what would come to be known as "The Battle of the Bays".
Tampa Bay, on the other hand, had not won a game in the young franchises history. Starting in 1976, they had just relocated to the NFL Central Division from the AFC West. Odds-makers had billed this game "a terrific opportunity for the Buccaneers to break their 19-game losing streak", but still gave the Packers the edge.
The Buccaneers were coached by John McKay, had the arm of Gary Huff, and the legs of drafted rookie running back Ricky Bell. The Pack came in with quarterback Lynn Dickey, now in his second year with the team after playing in Houston. Green Bay would offset the pass attack with a running back tandem of fullback Barty Smith and running back Eric Torkelson.
The game would be one of solid defense (or poor offense if you prefer). The Packers would finish the day with a total of only 218 yards, compared to the 188 by the Bucs.
Dickey claimed only 115 of them, and would give the ball away once. Huff would finish with more passing yards (156) but gave the ball to the wrong team twice. Total, Tampa would have three turnovers to Green Bay's two, and fans were treated to a pair of field goals by Packers kicker Chester Marcol, and one rushing touchdown from Eric Torkelson, a five yard breakaway.
The final score of 13-0 would keep the Buccaneers winless, and give the Packers the second of their four total wins they would earn on the season. Tampa Bay would remain winless until December 11th, when they would finally beat the 3-9 New Orleans Saints.
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