The Buffalo Bills are making a habit of shutting down some of the top passing attacks in the NFL. They held down Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos two weeks ago. Yesterday, the Bills held Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in check in a 21-13 victory. Buffalo improved to 6-0 all-time against Green Bay.
It was a day Aaron Rodgers would love to forget, posting a 34.3 quarterback rating, his lowest ever. Rodgers completed 17 of 42 for 185 yards with two interceptions and didn’t throw a touchdown pass. It’s just the 9th time in 101 starts that Rodgers went without a touchdown.
Rodgers first interception on Sunday came after 203 attempts without one.
Rodgers missed throws that he usually makes, but the poor outing wasn’t entirely his fault. Packer receivers dropped seven passes, the most by any NFL team in a single game since the 2008 season.
Jordy Nelson caught 5 passes for 55 yards, but he dropped what appeared to be a sure touchdown (94 yards) that would have been a momentum changer.
Buffalo’s Bacarri Rambo had both of the Bills interceptions. The second came in the fourth quarter when Jarrett Boykin let a pass over the middle bounce off his hands and into the waiting arms of Rambo.
Defensive pressure wasn’t the issue. The Bills entered the game as the NFL sack leaders with 48, but the only sack they recorded on Sunday came on the Packers last offensive play when Mario Williams got around JC Tretter and knocked the ball out of Aaron Rodgers hands. The ball fell into the endzone and was touched by Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy and ruled a safety.
With the game tied 10-10 at halftime, the Bills made an adjustment in the third quarter. They started the second half with the football and ran the ball 9-straight times. They ended up settling for a field goal, but the tone was set for the second half. It took the pressure off of Kyle Orton who finished the game with a quarterback rating of 54.2. Orton improved to 5-2 against the Packers and 5-0 as a home quarterback against the Packers.
Buffalo entered the game averaging just 96.3 rushing yards per game. The second half change-up allowed the Bills to finish with 113 yards on the ground.
The Packers defense struggled at times to tackle, but in the end, they didn’t allow Buffalo to score a touchdown. The Bills got four field goals from Dan Carpenter, a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown from Marcus Thigpen and the 2-point safety at the end.
The Packers had one final chance, but with Bryan Bulaga sidelined with a concussion. the Packers had to go to JC Tretter as his replacement at right tackle. Coach Mike McCarthy called a play that offered no help for Tretter. Mario Williams got around him to knock the ball out of Rodgers hands and the game was decided.
The Packers special teams units continued their downward spiral. Besides the punt return for touchdown by the Bills, Mason Crosby’s 53-yard field goal attempt was blocked. It’s the sixth blocked kick this season (2 xtra pts, 2 fgs & 2 punts). If that play continues going into the playoffs, the Packers will find it difficult to win games against good teams. Not to mention, Shawn Slocum could be looking for a different job.
With the loss, the Packers fell from the 2-seed in the NFC to the 6-seed with two games left to go in the regular season. The chance to gain home field advantage throughout the playoffs didn’t evaporate, but they took a big hit. The Packers still at this time have the NFC North Division title in front of them. If they win at Tampa Bay this Sunday, then knock off the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field in two weeks, the Packers would capture the title.