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Buffalo Bills 27, Green Bay Packers 17: Rapid recap and notes

Another foe vanquished with little difficulty

The Buffalo Bills easily handed a loss to the struggling Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, 27 to 17. Buffalo built up a 17-point lead by halftime that the Packers couldn’t overcome throughout the rest of the game. Quarterback Josh Allen did everything he needed to do, he saw plenty of support from his running backs, Devin Singletary and James Cook, and the Bills defense happily let the Packers grind away rushing yards while they maintained their big lead to the end.

The Packers simply couldn’t hold pace with a Bills offense that had everything going right in the first half. Buffalo ran 28 plays from scrimmage in the first half, and only faced three third downs (and one of those was a voluntary field goal attempt as the clock expired). They scored three touchdowns and a field goal, while holding the Packers to a single touchdown on their possessions. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was almost a nonfactor, aside from a touchdown pass caught by a leaping, twisting, arms-outstretched Romeo Doubs. Instead, Green Bay leaned on their running game, which showed some promise against the Bills’ front seven. As the dust settled, the Bills led 24-7.

To begin the second half, the Packers went back to the running game, and had to be pleased with the results. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon tallied up 68 yards on five carries—and even though they settled with a field goal, it seemed like there was a weakness to exploit in the way Buffalo was defending their outside gap runs. The Bills responded with a field goal drive of their own, re-establishing their 17-point lead.

The Packers thought they had an X-factor, and they ran their next seven plays on the ground, gaining 40 yards. It moved the chains again and again, but failed them when it mattered most, on a 4th & 1 play that was blown up by edge rusher Von Miller and nickel corner Taron Johnson. More curiously, the drive took nearly seven minutes off the clock before it ended without any points. The Bills were, assuredly, thrilled to let their opponent waste time with a three-score deficit.

From there, the game took a temporary detour into interception land. Allen would try to throw across his body on one of his patented “jog to the right” scrambles, but instead of finding his target, he found cornerback Rasul Douglas with the throw. On the next play from scrimmage, Aaron Rodgers had a pass tipped by defensive tackle Tim Settle, and linebacker Matt Milano came down with his own interception. The Bills advanced 41 yards from there—almost entirely on a gorgeous catch-and-run by rookie James Cook—but as they closed toward the end zone, Allen tried to feather another pass through a small window, and a diving Jaire Alexander scooped it up for the pick.

With ten minutes left in the game, the Packers took over possession, still trailing 27-10. To their credit, after Aaron Jones narrowly escaped a safety on the first play from scrimmage, they advanced a full 95 yards in only three and a half minutes. For a brief moment, Aaron Rodgers looked like his vintage self, buying time to throw a 37-yard rainbow to wide receiver Samori Toure in the red zone.

The Bills didn’t finish the game in a flawless fashion. They were able to take four minutes off the clock, but committed multiple penalties, and Allen missed a (seemingly) easy throw to wide receiver Jake Kumerow (even though it would’ve been negated by a penalty anyway). A touchdown would’ve been ideal, to re-establish the three-score lead, but they had to settle with a 27-17 lead going into the final two and a half minutes.

From there, Green Bay made its best attempt at advancing the ball into Buffalo territory, but when they attempted a 55-yard field goal, Mason Crosby’s kick drifted left of the uprights, and the Bills were safe to kneel out the remainder of the game with their 10-point lead.

Now 6-1, the Bills will remain atop the AFC standings for another week. Next up: a trip to New Jersey.

Injury report

  • Jordan Poyer left the game in the fourth quarter, with his elbow wrapped up in a brace. The Bills plugged Jaquan Johnson into his spot in the lineup.

Quick hits

  • Congrats to wide receiver Stefon Diggs for recording his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season. He’s managed to score a touchdown in each of those games, too.
  • Defensive end Greg Rousseau notched his fifth sack of the season, and he would’ve had a sixth, but his teammate was offsides on the play.
  • Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds was asked to do a whole lot, with the Packers being so run-heavy. He led the stat sheet with 16 tackles, 13 solo. Still, though, he had a couple runners grind through him tonight.
  • Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips might want to try out as a defenseman for the Sabres. He took down two players with shoulder checks in this game. Plus, the Sabres could use the extra help at the moment.
  • Matt Milano came achingly close to two interceptions tonight, and one could’ve been a pick-six. The third time was the charm, after Tim Settle tipped a pass into a layup for the linebacker.
  • Tim Settle really played well tonight, sacking Aaron Rodgers and tipping that pass toward an interception.
  • Let James Cook? The rookie running back touched the ball six times for 76 yards tonight. He looked as good as he ever has in his short pro career when they gave him the opportunity.
  • You saw way more rushing yards from both teams tonight than you’d typically see in a 2022 Bills game. They combined for 58 attempts and 361 yards, while there were 55 passing attempts and 406 passing yards. Both teams ran more than they passed in this game.
  • Speaking of that, there were 27 rushing attempts for the Bills, but zero by Zack Moss (active tonight). Even when the team entered their goalline or short-yardage situations, he didn’t receive a carry.
  • It was an up-and-down night for Josh Allen, who had some fantastic throws and runs, but also a couple bad decisions that led to two picks. The important part is that he saved the bad plays for the second half, after his team had a commanding lead.

Next week

A 1:00 PM Eastern divisional game against the New York Jets. The Jets fell 22-17 to the New England Patriots this week, as quarterback Zach Wilson threw three interceptions and cost his team the chance at a crucial victory. They’ve dropped to a 5-3 record.