RT Bryan Bulaga, who has been one of the Packers’ best pass blockers over the last couple of seasons, attributed his rough first half on Monday night in Seattle to a lapse in fundamentals that took him out of his game.
Bulaga surrendered two early sacks to Seahawks rookie rusher Bruce Irvin, a first-round draft pick, and allowed other pressures of QB Aaron Rodgers throughout the first half. Rodgers was sacked eight times in all and the Packers were shut out at intermission.
“I didn’t use any fundamentals for most of the first half,” said Bulaga, who was beaten both by Irvin’s power and speed initially. “I was just out there … I don’t know what I was out there doing. I just wasn’t playing my game, and that’s what happens, and I know that’s not going to happen again.”
Bulaga is listed on the injury report this week with a knee injury and has been a limited participant in practice, but he said that had no bearing on his performance. Mike McCarthy said he expects Bulaga to “play through” the injury this week.
Bulaga added that he didn’t get a fire-and-brimstone speech from position coach James Campen at halftime. The score was only 7-0, and a tirade probably would have caused everyone to lose focus on a winnable game. Plus, the performance was so out-of-character for Bulaga and his linemates that the problems were as much mental as anything.
“It was more settle down and play your game,” Bulaga said. “I think that was the message he was trying to get out there. That’s what I had going on in my mind, just chill out here and do what I do. There was no screaming or yelling. I don’t think anyone in college or high school or even this level had that kind of first half as a group. It was a matter of we had to settle down and get it together here.”
The Packers did that, putting together three straight scoring drives in the second half, helped by a commitment to running the ball, which they did successfully.
“The first half was certainly not the way we want to play,” LG T.J. Lang said. “We got beat up pretty good there in the first half, but watching film of the second half, it’s inspiring to watch the way we responded out of that. It could have been very easy to put our heads down and go in the tank a little bit. But we responded in a positive way and had a pretty solid second half.”
The quick rebound has the linemen eagerly awaiting a return to the field Sunday against the Saints, both to continue that recovery and further erase the abysmal first half.
“There’s no excuse for your quarterback getting hit that many times,” Lang said. “It’s obviously embarrassing as a group, when your quarterback is getting hit like that, sacked eight times in one half. It’s something we take a lot of pride in, and we certainly need to have a better game this week keeping Aaron upright.”
Added Bulaga: “Yeah, it will get a little bit of bad taste out of our mouths I think.”
Tags: bryan bulaga, offensive line, sacks
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