Packers vs. Bills final score: 3 things we learned from Buffalo’s upset win over Green Bay
The Bills gave one of the best combined defensive and special teams performances of the season to down the Packers, 21-13.
The Green Bay Packers went to Buffalo and were stuffed by the Bills, 21-13. The Bills dominated defense and special teams, holding Aaron Rodgers to one of his worst career games and scoring 19 points off field goals and a punt return for a touchdown. With the loss, Green Bay dropped to 0-6 all time in Buffalo.
It was no day for offense. Rodgers threw his first two interceptions since Oct. 26. Not to be outdone, Kyle Orton frequently missed receivers and threw an interception of his own. The Bills had no margin of error on defense, and the unit responded by holding the Packers to 333 total yards and 4-for-14 on third down conversions.
The Packers were not sharp. While Rodgers struggled, his passing targets also had five dropped passes on the day. Late in the game, the Packers defense, perhaps fatigued from so many changes in possession, couldn’t keep the Bills from grinding out a clock-eating drive down to within the two-minute warning.
Then the Bills sealed the game with, you guessed it, special teams and defense. A punt downed the Bills within the 10-yard line, then the Bills got a sack fumble in the end zone for a safety and a win.
With the win, Buffalo improves to 8-6 to keep slim playoff hopes alive. Games on the road to the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots won’t be easy, but this win should give the Bills a big confidence boost over the final two weeks of the season.
1) Aaron Rodgers is capable of being terrible
And not just “relatively” terrible, but outright terrible.
When the Rodgers is on top of his game, the Packers are near unbeatable, as they were against the New England Patriots in Week 13. When Rodgers is off, however, the Packers have little else to threaten opponents. And Rodgers was REALLY off.
Rodgers may never have a worse game. He finished just 17-for-42 passing for 185 yards and two interceptions. His first interception ended a streak of 203 passing attempts without a pick. On the pick, Rodgers failed to see a wide open Jordy Nelson running down the right side of the field.
Not that Nelson would have necessarily caught the ball. The Packers dropped five ball on the day, and Nelson perhaps made the worst of them, letting what would have been a big second down gain glance off his fingertips at the end of the third quarter.
The Packers did a good job limiting the Bills when they approached the end zone — the Bills went 0-for-2 inside the 20-yard line — but broke down in the second half, allowing Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown to bounce out of tackles. The two combined for 158 total yards on the day.
By the way, the Packers are now 0-6 in Buffalo. Maybe this was fate? Green Bay better hope so.
2) Imagine if the Bills had an offense
The way the Bills’ defense and special teams played, this game should not have been close. The Bills’ pass rush and secondary were in top form, and on special teams Dan Carpenter went 4-for-4 on field goals and Marcus Thigpen ran a punt back 81 yards for a touchdown.
And yet, this was a six-point game late in the fourth quarter, and the Packers had a chance to drive for the win. It’s hard to blame strong efforts by Jackson and Brown. We CAN blame Kyle Orton, however, who frequently misfired throughout the day. He finished 14-for-27 passing for 158 yards and an interception — numbers that would have made him a scapegoat if Rodgers’ weren’t inexplicably worse.
It’s too bad that Buffalo’s offense isn’t any better, because the Bills may be a championship caliber team everywhere else. The Bills have given up more than 20 points just once since October, and that was 24 points to the Denver Broncos and one of the best offenses in football.
3) Eddie Lacy is coming alive at exactly the right time
There was one rather important silver lining for the Packers. After a slow start to the season, Lacy has been excellent lately, rushing for at least 73 yards in his last four games. Over his last five games, he is averaging [365 69 carries], making him one of the most effective backs in the NFL. Even if nothing else is going well for the Packers, they can be happy that the running game is finding its gear just in time for the postseason.