Buccaneers vs. Packers: Top 5 Performers for Green Bay in Week 11
The Green Bay Packers remain undefeated as they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-26 at Lambeau Field in the Week 11 matchup. The Packers' 10-0 start is the third time they have accomplished the feat in team history. They started 10-0 in 1929 and 1962 on their way to winning championships in both seasons.
While the Packers struggled at times against the starving Bucs, they played well enough to escape with a win and set up a huge Thanksgiving Day game with the Detroit Lions. A win would go a long way to ensuring the Packers the NFC North Division title.
While it wasn't pretty, certain players stepped up big in order for the Packers to handle their business and keep their record unblemished.
5. Tim Masthay
Tim Masthay probably had one of the weirdest days he has ever had in his NFL career. On the Packers' first drive of the game, following an apparent three-and-out, Masthay avoided getting his punt blocked and managed to scramble for a first down despite fumbling the ball twice.
While the play was horrifying for Packers fan to watch until Masthay crossed the first-down marker, it gave the Packers a new spark, and instead of starting the game with a punt, the Packers capitalized and turned the opportunity into a touchdown.
Aside from his rushing attempt, Masthay also had a very productive day punting the ball. He averaged 54.3 yards on his three punts and dropped one inside the 20-yard line. While the Packers hope Masthay won't be forced to run instead of punt anytime soon, the play was huge in getting the Packers going early.
4. Donald Driver
The old man didn't look so old today as Donald Driver erupted for a season-high 72 yards on four catches. Coming into this game, Driver's most productive day in terms of yardage was 41 in the opener against the New Orleans Saints.
Against the Bucs, Driver was taking advantage of his opportunities and increasing his hold on the Packers' record book. In the first half, Driver caught only one pass for five yards. On the Packers' opening drive of the second half, Driver slid open and used his patented shake-and-bake moves to get extra yardage.
Driver showed he still has plenty left to offer and reminded the rest of the league that the Packers still have Driver as a weapon. With Driver healthy and making the most of his chances, the talent at wide receiver for this Packers team is downright scary.
3. James Starks
With another fourth-quarter lead and the Packers desperately needing a lengthy drive to score and run out the clock, James Starks came up big once again. Late in the fourth following the Bucs touchdown to bring the game within two points, Starks contributed for 55 of the Packers' 85-yard scoring drive.
When the Packers have needed Starks the most, he has delivered in big ways. He was unstoppable on the drive and always managed to lower his shoulder in order to punish any defender trying to tackle him.
Starks ran the ball 11 times for 38 yards and caught six passes for 53 yards before getting injured with just over three minutes remaining in the game.
The severity of Starks' injury is uncertain outside of the fact it was reported as a knee sprain and further information would be available following more tests.
2. Tramon Williams
Tramon Williams was at it again, picking on opposing quarterbacks as he twice intercepted Josh Freeman. The two interceptions give Williams four in the last three weeks of the season as he has four on the year after getting his first in Week 9.
With the Packers holding a 21-10 lead nearing the end of the first half, Williams picked off Freeman as the Bucs were driving to bring the game within one score before the break. The Packers ran out the clock on the first half following the use of their final time as Jermichael Finley was injured.
Late in the game with the Packers up 35-26, Williams intercepted his second pass of the day after Kellen Winslow was unable to haul in the Freeman pass. The Packers missed the ensuing field goal, but the interception took precious time off the clock.
While Williams gave up a couple of completions, it is clear he is getting healthier after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2. This is good news for the Packers as Williams will face his biggest test of the season against the Lions in Calvin Johnson.
1. Jordy Nelson
Jordy Nelson had another spectacular day for the Packers, outshining everybody else on the field. With Greg Jennings being locked down by Aqib Talib, Nelson went to work against whoever lined up opposite him.
Nelson finished the day with a cool 123 yards and two touchdowns on six catches. In his last three outings, Nelson has compiled 16 catches for 291 yards and five touchdowns. Those are some nasty numbers, especially given the fact that Greg Jennings is also on the team.
Aaron Rodgers and Nelson continue to show off that amazing chemistry and destroy defenders. With Nelson playing as well as he is and the rest of the talent the Packers have, it is hard to imagine anybody slowing this team down on the offensive side of the ball.