The expectation for the Buffalo Bills heading into Week 8 was to come off a big Week 6 win and bye week and dominate the struggling Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. This marked the first time in quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s career that he was a double-digit underdog. Rodgers had a 13-0 primetime win streak across his last 13 primetime appearances coming into the game, but his supporting cast and coaching situation simply wasn’t enough to overcome the Bills’ big first-half lead.
The injury report was about as clean as it was going to look, with just tackle Spencer Brown ruled out and wide receiver Jake Kumerow returning to the lineup after missing multiple weeks. Bills Mafia was hoping for a potential return for star cornerback Tre’Davious White this week, but the Bills took the cautious route and didn’t rush him back in quite yet. On the Packers side of things, they were without their top wide receiver, Allen Lazard, as well as injuries scattered throughout the defensive depth chart.
Buffalo scored 24 first-half points, but easily played its worst second half of the season, accumulating just one field goal from kicker Tyler Bass. Despite quarterback Josh Allen looking like his normal MVP self in the first half, he played terrible in the second half, throwing two interceptions on back-to-back drives. If Green Bay actually threw the ball, the final score could’ve looked a lot different.
Let’s take a look at Week 9’s snap counts!
Offense (59 snaps)
With Brown ruled out ahead of the game with an ankle injury, backup lineman David Quessenberry stepped up, logging 100% of snaps for the offense. Considering the Packers had edge rusher Rashan Gary lining up on either side, it’s impressive Allen didn’t seen more pressure than he did. The rest of the offensive line logged 100% except for left guard Rodger Saffold missing just one snap somewhere along the way (58).
Despite the Bills not scratching running back Zack Moss like they did against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, he didn't log a single snap. The biggest takeaway from the running backs this week is how much rookie James Cook flashed in just 15 snaps, catching a huge 41-yard catch and picking up 35 rushing yards on just five carries.
No surprise here but wide receiver Gabe Davis led all wide receivers all again, logging all but seven offensive snaps. Also, a notable development is the possibility that rookie wide receiver Khalil Shakir could’ve taken Kumerow’s offensive snaps moving forward. It’s possible Kumerow was simply on a limited snap count first game back from injury, but there’s no denying Shakir adds a little more juice to the passing game.
Defense (66 snaps)
The consistency of linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano (100%) continues to prove how important they are to this defensive scheme. Milano has been all over the field this year, making big tackles and plays when the defense needed it most, but Edmunds recorded 13 solo tackles and 16 total. Opposing offenses have had a hard time dealing with this duo.
Cornerback Taron Johnson is one of the most underrated players in the league at this point. He’s always available and making plays on the field, and without him during all these defensive injuries, the Bills defense wouldn’t have looked as good as it has been. Rookie cornerbacks Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford logged just 58% and 42% of snaps, respectively, with Dane Jackson leading the way as the CB1. Safeties Jordan Poyer (74%) and Damar Hamlin (100%) continue to impress with the absence of Micah Hyde, but Poyer missed most of the fourth quarter with an elbow injury. If the Bills roll with Hamlin and backup safety Jaquan Johnson as the starters, the secondary is in some serious trouble, even if White returns to the lineup. There is still no update on Poyer’s injury severity.
Edge rusher Von Miller (70%) continues to prove his ability to be leader of this defense, but the biggest takeaway is how well fellow pass rusher Greg Rousseau has been playing this season. It’s clear Miller’s mentorship has had a major effect on his mentality and confidence and this is just the beginning. The defensive tackle trio of Ed Oliver (45%), Jordan Phillips (55%) and Tim Settle (33%) all proved its worth to this defense, constantly flustering Rodgers and making big hits to get momentum going. Just take a look at the amount of defensive depth logging snaps now that it’s back to full health.
If Oliver, Miller, Phillips and Rousseau are the four rushing the quarterback, good luck.
Special Teams (22 snaps)
- 18 snaps, 82%: FB Reggie Gilliam
- 17 snaps, 77%: CB Siran Neal, LB Tyler Matakevich, LB Tyrel Dodson
- 15 snaps, 68%: S Jaquan Johnson
- 13 snaps, 59%: RB Taiwan Jones, LB Terrell Bernard, TE Quintin Morris, WR Jake Kumerow
- Others: K Tyler Bass (10 snaps, 45%), P Sam Martin (7 snaps, 32%)
There should be no surprises here, but fullback Reggie Gilliam led the way in special teams snaps (82%) yet again. It’s nice to see Kumerow back in the mix, because he is normally a coveted special teamer but was forced into the offensive role early in the season.
Kicker Tyler Bass stepped up when his name was called, per usual, nailing two field goals. Sorry, Bills Mafia, but punter Sam Martin punted twice this game, with one coming immediately after the opening-drive three-and-out. With the squad back to nearly 100% health, Buffalo’s special teams will likely improve even more with guys back in their normal go-to roles.