TAMPA, Fla. - So much for the notion that Derrick Brooks and Tampa Bay’s aging defense is slowing down. The Buccaneers still have what it takes to make things miserable for young, inexperienced quarterbacks.
Just ask Aaron Rodgers.
Brooks had one of three interceptions off the Green Bay quarterback and also forced a fumble that Jermaine Phillips returned 38 yards for a touchdown Sunday, helping the Bucs beat the Packers 30-21.
Rogers threw for two touchdowns to Greg Jennings, who had six receptions for 109 yards, but was sacked three times and left the game for one series with a shoulder injury midway through the fourth quarter.
The fourth-year pro returned briefly after Green Bay (2-2) fell behind 23-21 on Matt Bryant’s third field goal of the game. But he was hit from the blindside as he launched a pass on second down, and the ball was picked off by Gaines Adams with just over two minutes to go.
Earnest Graham put away Tampa Bay’s third straight victory with Brian Griese at quarterback, breaking a 47-yard run to the Packers 1 and then scoring on the next play to make it 30-21. He finished with 111 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Rodgers was 14-of-27 for 165 yards. He threw a 25-yard TD pass to Jennings on Green Bay’s opening drive of the game, then threw a 48-yarder to Jennings to trim Tampa Bay’s lead to 20-14 late in the third quarter.
When Bryant, kicking four days after his infant son died at home, booted a 23-yarder to put the Bucs ahead, coach Mike McCarthy didn’t hesitate to send his starter back onto the field to try to pull out a win.
A week after throwing for a career-high 407 yards in an overtime win over Chicago, Griese completed 15 of 30 passes for 149 yards. He was intercepted three times in the second half, and Charles Woodson returned one of the picks 62 yards for a touchdown that put the Packers up 21-20 early in the fourth quarter.
The Packers played nearly the entire second quarter in their own territory, with Rodgers throwing two interceptions to set up 10 points and a short punt giving the Bucs the ball at the Green Bay 41 leading to one of Bryant’s field goals.
Rodgers was one of just three starting quarterbacks who didn’t throw an interception during the first three weeks of the season. He extended his streak of consecutive attempts without a pick to 108 before a throw intended for Brandon Jackson deflected off the running back’s hands into Brooks’ arms on the first play of the second quarter.
Six plays later, the Bucs made it 7-all on Griese’s 9-yard TD pass to Alex Smith. Bryant’s 23-yard field goal following Derrick Frost’s 36-yard punt made 10-7. Brooks forced Ryan Grant’s fumble midway through the third quarter, and Phillip scooped up the ball and raced to the end zone to make it 20-7.
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