The Green Bay Packers are coming off a downhill skid that saw them lose three straight games and are now faced with the toughest opponent they’ll face this year. On the road against the Buffalo Bills, the Packers and Aaron Rodgers will have to make-do with their limited weapons against the vaunted Bills’ defense. On the other side of the ball, the underperforming Packers defense will face an offense that is one of the best in the league and is loaded with talent. The Packers are going into this week without Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb this week, the top two targets Rodgers trusts the most. The Bills defense is 11th best in both passing (293.0) and rushing (135.5) yards per game given up on the season to this point, so regardless of how they go about moving the ball it is going to be a challenge. Look for the Packers to focus on the short pass and screen game or perhaps, for the first time this year, lean into the run game.
This game has a certain feel like that of Green Bay @ Arizona last year, the Packers without their top targets in an away matchup against the best team in the league in primetime with nobody giving them a chance to win. Can Rodgers and the Packers repeat history and pull off the upset? With the Packers being double digit point underdogs this week for the first time with Rodgers at the helm that seems unlikely, but the Packers need to be at the very least competitive for all four quarters if they want to have confidence they can turn the season around and make a playoff push.
Despite a strong start by forcing a quick three-and-out on defense, the inability to score on offense dug the Packers into a quick hole down 14-0 in the second quarter. However, for the first time in a while, the Packers battled back. Aaron Jones helped to lead the Packers down the field and set up a beautiful touchdown catch by Romeo Doubs to get the Packers on the board. The Bills would respond easily though, taking advantage of the Packers atrocious rush defense and respond with a touchdown of their own. A quick three-and-out on offense later would give the ball back to Josh Allen with under a minute to go in the half. The Bills would drive, but ultimately run out of time and settle for a field goal. The Packers went into the half down 24-7.
For the first time this season, the Packers would play a solid second half on both sides of the ball. The Packers defense would play a much improved game in the second half, Rasul Douglas and Jaire Alexander would each pick off Allen en route to allowing a mere three points in the entire half. The offense, while still not the Rodgers-lead offenses of old, would start to look like they were figuring things out. Aaron Jones would light up the stat sheet and help open up the passing game some, leading to Rodgers finding Samori Toure for a 37-yard score late in the fourth quarter. The Packers offense looked competent for most of the second half, but mistakes and injuries started to pile up, and the Packers offense would only muster 10 points in the second half, well short of completing the upset. The Packers suffer their fourth consecutive loss to the Buffalo Bills 27-17, and fall to 3-5 on the year.
Players of the Game
Aaron Jones: Who would’ve thought that feeding Aaron Jones would help get the offense in a groove? Well, most people probably. The Packers offense ran through Jones today, to the tune of 20 carries for 143 yards and four catches for 14 yards. With how efficient Jones was carrying the rock today, averaging over seven yards per carry, he without a doubt helped open up the passing game some and create opportunities for the rest of the offense, as the Bills defense would adjust to try and contain him. For the first time this year, Matt LaFleur gave Jones more than 20 touches and the results speak for themselves. Jones, right now, is the best player on the Packers roster.
Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure: Both of the Packers rookie wide receivers flashed great potential today. Scoring both of the Packers’ touchdowns today on excellent catches, Doubs and Toure are proving themselves to Rodgers and hopefully by now earning his trust. If Rodgers can find ways to get them the ball more, they could be something special in this offense, and with plenty more opportunities on the way thanks to injuries to key players, there will be no shortage of touches coming their way.
– Elgton Jenkins suffered an injury in warmups and was ruled out before the game.
– Christian Watson was evaluated early in the first quarter for a concussion and was ruled out the rest of the game.
– De’vondre Campbell left the game with a knee injury, his return was questionable, but he did not return to the game.
– AJ Dillion suffered a lower leg injury in the 3rd quarter, he missed some time but ultimately returned to the game.
For the first time this year after a Packers loss, I actually feel encouraged. Yes, the loss drops the Packers to 3-5 and puts them in a spot where they can’t afford to lose many more games; however with the way the Packers played today, especially in the second half, they actually battled adversity. The Packers were punched in the mouth early and suffered many key losses in Elgton Jenkins, Christain Watson, De’vondre Campbell, and Quay Walker, but they battled back, and players began to step up. The Packers offense finally found a groove that worked for them, and helped flash potential for the future games this year. They controlled the time of possession, giving the defense a chance to rest and helping improve their game. The offense limited the mistakes some today, but once they are completely disciplined and can limit the remaining mistakes, they could help to finally turn the corner.
The defense was lock-down the second half, but as always the rush defense is concerning. Facing a quarterback who is having the season that Josh Allen is having and limiting him to 218 yards passing and picking him off twice is promising for future games.
The Packers may have lost today, but they showed what they’re capable of when they can put all the pieces together. For the first time in a while they actually battled back when facing adversity. We can only hope that this isn’t just a one-off promising performance by them and they can actually turn the corner on the season.
With the trade deadline nearing, the Packers are running out of time to make a move on pieces they can bring in to give them the extra push to make a comeback. With more injuries to the receiving corps, the Packers NEED to go get someone, my hope is they get DJ Moore; however recent years tells me they won’t make a move at all.
One final thing to note is: the Packers were 10.5 point underdogs heading into this week and only lost by 10, which means that Aaron Rodgers is now 1-0 against the spread. Good teams win, GREAT teams cover.
The Packers head to Michigan next week to take on the Detroit Lions (1-6).