GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Dean Lowry estimates he could run a 40-yard run in 4.8 seconds.
Watching him crawl across the field with a 62-yard fumble for a touchdown might have felt like an eternity for fans at Lambeau Field.
Lowry's score highlighted a solid effort for the Packers' defense, and the Green Bay offense relied on the running game to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-20 in overtime on Sunday. The game ended in the initial possession of overtime with Aaron Jones' 20-yard TD in his only carry.
Lowry's touchdown was even more entertaining.
Lowry snatched the ball from the air after a sack of Jameis Winston by Kenny Clark. Seconds later, the 6-foot-6, 296-pound lineman was giving a Lambeau jump.
"It was good to show it a little," joked Lowry about his speed. "I definitely was breathless."
The Packers (6-6) received seven sacks along with a blocked kick by Kyler Fackrell and kept alive their hopes of making the playoffs. They remain behind Minnesota in the NFC North Division for four games, but there is renewed optimism with the possibility that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will return from a collarbone injury in a couple of weeks.
"When you can solve it in another way and your team is successful … we are a better team today, not only because we won the game but also because of how we won," said coach Mike McCarthy.
Green Bay ruined the return of quarterback Jameis Winston to the Buccaneers (4-8), whose playoff hopes are about to end.
Still, Winston refused to focus on anything, but to improve for next week's game against Detroit. The quarterback missed the previous three Tampa Bay games with a shoulder injury.
"I really can not tell you about the future at this time," Winston said. "Nobody in this room can predict the future at this time, so we have to keep building and improving every day."
Other notes and conclusions of the Green Bay victory:
The Packers only pbaded 84 yards but they defeated the Buccaneers on the ground. Rodgers replacement, Brett Hundley, had 18 and 7-yard runs in the game's overtime winning series. If Green Bay can keep running the ball effectively, it can stay in the playoff race until Rodgers returns to spice up the offense.
Hundley finished 13 of 22 for 84 yards, adding seven carries for 66 yards. Jamaal Williams ran for 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
WINSTON UNDER DURESS
Winston finished 21 of 32 for 270 yards and two touchdowns, including an 11-yard touchdown pbad for tight end Cameron Brate for a 20-17 lead with 6:02 left. But Winston had defenders on his face all day.
"It's probably our worst protection game we've had all year," coach Dirk Koetter said.
Winston refused to blame his offensive line, although there were a couple of communications problems with center Evan Smith. It was a last-minute replacement after starter Joe Hawley suffered a scratch due to illness. Two other incumbents on the line were placed on the injured reserve earlier in the week.
"So I do not think it's right to be able to say that they were not so good when they overcame so much on this day," Winston said.
The line helped Peyton Barber rush for 102 yards on 23 carries.
LOST LAST CHANCE
The Buccaneers had one last chance at regulation after Mason Crosby kicked a 22-yard field goal to tie the game at 20 with 2:01 left. But Winston's 20-yard pbad to Charles Sims was nullified by an illegal block penalty on Smith that pushed the offense back to first and 20 from his own 10-yard line. Tampa pitched three plays later and never regained the ball.
The Packers believe they need to win their last four games to get a chance in the postseason. They face the Cleveland Browns with no wins next week, and with a win, Rodgers could return to a 7-6 team the following week in Carolina. Rodgers returned to training on Saturday for the first time since he was injured on October 15 in Minnesota.
Packers linebacker Jake Ryan left in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. In addition, line judge Tom Stephan had to be helped in a car that took him off the field after he got hurt in a third-down play with 11:08 in the first quarter.
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