The state of Wisconsin is renowned for its historic cheddar cheese, but the Buffalo Bills offense resembled a stinky hunk of taleggio en route to a 22-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Josh Allen was inaccurate early, pressured often, and frequently out of sync against Mike Pettine’s defensive scheme, playing a game that would be hard to match among the worst performances in the league this season.
In the first half, the Green Bay Packers methodically moved the ball against Buffalo’s defense, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal to take a 16 point lead against the Bills. Aaron Rodgers and the committee of runners ran for 5.2 yards per carry, and an interception from a tipped pass was the only negative mark on their record. The Bills defense looked like it was sliding back to the weak results of the season’s start, but after a while, the anemic pass rush found open lanes and the secondary clamped down. The Bills landed five tackles for loss and two sacks, including a strip sack from rookie Taron Johnson that added a second turnover for the Bills.
Ultimately, any performance by the defense was wasted by a tremendously bad offense. The running game was ineffective early, and abandoned as a primary facet of the gameplan before long. LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory combined for only 11 carries and 39 yards. The real story of the game was Allen, who played a game reminiscent of his outmatched performances against teams like Nebraska in college. Allen threw two awful interceptions, lost a fumble, and took seven sacks, frequently for losses of ten or more yards. The closest Buffalo came to scoring was late in the first half, with the score 13-0, when Allen found Kelvin Benjamin in a coverage bust to advance the team to the red zone. Three plays later, Allen rolled out of the pocket, chased by defenders, and threw across his body into the end zone, directly into the arms of a Packers defender. Instead of 13-3, the halftime score would read 16-0.
Allen didn’t get any better in the second half, and only started completing passes late in the fourth quarter, when the Packers started playing soft zone defenses and allowing shorter passes. He finished 16-of-33 for 151 yards (4.6 yards per attempt), two interceptions, and the lost fumble.
Blame for the awful offense can be placed around the team - from Brian Daboll’s more restrained playcalls, to the receivers that can’t separate, to LeSean McCoy’s recovering from a rib injury, but the buck stops with Buffalo’s franchise quarterback. Allen was putrid on Sunday, and that killed his team’s chances to win the game.
- Micah Hyde left the game early in the first quarter with a groin injury, and didn’t return.
- Kelvin Benjamin took a possible concussion when Ha Ha Clinton-Dix slammed into him while reeling in an interception. Benjamin didn’t return to the game.
- Eddie Yarbrough limped off the field in the second half.
- LeSean McCoy had eight touches for 37 yards, and was clearly on a pitch count.
- Taron Johnson had a day, with five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
- The leading receiver was Charles Clay, with four receptions for 40 yards. Clay left the game briefly with a limp, but returned to action.
- Tre’Davious White, matched up against Davante Adams, won some and lost some. Adams would lead the Pack with 8 receptions for 81 yards, but White kept him out of the end zone, and also nearly intercepted a pass intended for Adams.
- The other starting corner, Ryan Lewis, was a target for Green Bay, especially when matched up against Jimmy Graham. He gave, but he got, leading the team with 8 tackles, and defending two passes (one was a dropped interception).
- This is the first shutout for the Bills since 12/28/2008 against the New England Patriots.