Bucs stand alone with Rodgers pick-six

Eric Goska
For Press-Gazette Media
View Comments

Remember Tanard Jackson? If not, perhaps quarterback Aaron Rodgers can fill you in.

Buccaneers defensive end Greg White sacks Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 8, 2009 in Tampa, Fla.

Five years ago, Jackson made a play that hasn't been duplicated since. The former Tampa Bay safety returned a Rodgers' interception for a touchdown.

Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers return this week to Raymond James Stadium, site of that pick-6. Though Jackson no longer is in the league, the Buccaneers remain one of the better teams at taking back interceptions for scores.

Visiting Tampa has not been fun in the sun for Green Bay. The Packers have lost seven of their past eight games there.

Interceptions were a factor in five of those losses. Packers quarterbacks threw 15 in those games.

While Tampa Bay has a modest 11 interceptions this season, its defenders still know the way to the end zone. The team has returned three for touchdowns, one fewer than league leaders Houston and Pittsburgh.

Danny Lansanah, a former Packers linebacker, has two scores. Cornerback Johnthan Banks has one.

Since 2009, the Buccaneers have accumulated 17 pick-6s, more than any team but the Bears (20). Tampa is the only team to have at least two in each of the past six seasons.

Eli Manning, Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers are among those who have seen their throws turned into touchdowns by the Buccaneers. Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford both were fleeced twice.

The Packers last visited Tampa in 2009. They lost 38-28 to winless (0-7) Tampa Bay in part because Rodgers (57.6 passer rating) threw an uncharacteristic three interceptions, including that pick-6.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is hit hard from behind by Buccaneers defensive end Greg White and throws his third interception of the day during the fourth quarter on Sept. 28, 2008 in Tampa, Fla.

Every Packers quarterback (minimum 500 career attempts) has been subjected to at least one pick-6 in his career. Players from Arnie Herber (3) to Tobin Rote (11) to Lynn Dickey (13) to Brett Favre (24) have endured multiple runbacks.

Rodgers, with 3,413 career attempts, has only one.

That came with less than a minute left in the Packers' 10-point loss five years ago. Jackson intercepted a pass intended for receiver Donald Driver and returned it 35 yards for the game's final touchdown.

Like any good quarterback, Rodgers shrugged it off. He has not thrown a pick-6 in his past 2,563 pass attempts.

That's a remarkable stretch and a franchise record. Rodgers' tendency to avoid interceptions has played a role in getting there. Luck can't be ruled out either, especially with tipped balls.

Those who intercept Rodgers rarely go long. Only four players have had returns of more than 30 yards, and that short list consists of Jackson, New Orleans' Jason David (42), Chicago's Charles Tillman (42) and Tampa Bay's Elbert Mack (36).

Rodgers' 57 career interceptions have been brought back 411 yards, an average of 7.2 yards per return. That's noticeably less than some other Packers quarterbacks — Favre (14.3), Don Majkowski (13.4) and Bart Starr (13.3).

Yes, Rodgers has had some close calls. Five of his picks were returned inside the Packers' 20-yard line. Two wound up inside the 10.

At least twice, he's aided his own cause. He pushed David out of bounds 3 yards short of the end zone in 2008, and he brought down Mack 8 yards short a year later.

Last week, the Bills served notice that Rodgers' streak could end quickly. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore jumped in front of a pass meant for receiver Jordy Nelson and, had he held on, likely would have scored.

Coming off a shaky performance in Buffalo, can Rodgers sidestep a pick-6 in Tampa? There are several motivations for him to do so.

Among them:

The Packers' record in games in which they surrendered a pick-6 is 27-78-3 (.264). On the road they are even worse at 10-47-2 (.186).

If Rodgers keeps his streak intact, he can continue his pursuit of Randall Cunningham. The former Eagles' quarterback threw 3,111 passes without a pick-6 from 1986 into 1994, a stunning display that may be the NFL record.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is sacked during the first quarter by Jimmy Wilkerson on Sept. 28, 2008 in Tampa, Fla.


Overall: Green Bay leads 30-21-1

At Raymond James Field: Tampa Bay leads 7-1

Starting quarterbacks

Packers: Aaron Rodgers (68-33 overall; 1-2 vs. Tampa Bay)

Buccaneers: Josh McCown (17-30; 1-2 vs. Green Bay)

Once a Buccaneer, now a Packer


Once a Packer, now a Buccaneer

Center Evan Dietrich-Smith (2009-13) and linebacker Danny Lansanah (2008) are former Packers.

—; author, historian and football consultant T.J. Troup contributed research to this report.

Nix on the pick-6

Most consecutive passes attempted without having one intercepted and returned for a touchdown in Packers history.

No. ... Passer ... Years

2,563 ... A. Rodgers ... 2009-14

1,974 ... B. Favre ... 1993-97

1,069 ... B. Favre ... 2001-03

1,059 ... B. Starr ... 1958-63

849 ... A. Rodgers ... 2005-09

641 ... L. Dickey ... 1981-83

574 ... A. Herber ... 1933-38

View Comments