Who else thinks it’s kinda scary the Vegas oddsmakers made the Bills 10 ½ point favorites over the slumping Green Bay Packers, who’ve never been that big an underdog with Aaron Rodgers at QB, and the Bills win 27-17? So good for you Packers, you can fly back to Green Bay knowing you covered.
The way the Packers stuck with their running game almost made it seem like they were trying to avoid a blowout, knowing all too well what happened in Orchard Park earlier this season to Tennessee and Pittsburgh. Even when the Bills took a commanding 24-7 halftime lead, the Packers kept pounding. Then again, Aaron Jones was the hardest runner the Bills have faced all season, as he went through plenty of arm tackles on his way to 143 yards on 20 carries, which is 7.2 yards per carry. The ball possession did keep it away from Josh Allen and the Bills to some degree, but they were simply facing reality that with receiver injuries and other issues Rodgers was not going to compile some big passing numbers against the Bills top rated defense. This did keep the score respectable and the Packers actually outgained the Bills 398-369 in total yards, but the Bills were never really threatened after taking a 14-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter.
Although it could be the Bills were a bit rusty after their bye week, or they just got too comfortable with a 17 point halftime lead, their focus was simply off in the second half, and that’s especially true of Allen. We’ve become so used to watching him make big plays with his arm and legs, that an average game from him looks like a catastrophe. Despite a perfect weather night, Allen and Rodgers both barely went over 200 yards passing, and both threw for two touchdowns. While Rodgers had one interception, Allen had two in the 4th quarter along with a few surprisingly off target tosses both in the pocket or moving. Allen has gotten away with throwing late over the middle in the past, but not this time. Worse yet, Allen almost never gets picked in the red zone, but a poor throw inside the Packers 5 cost certain points when the Packers were still hanging around. Typical Allen though. He still made several key plays, including a 20 yard run on third and long to set up the game’s first touchdown in the first quarter. Allen couldn’t hide his displeasure despite the win, saying in a post game interview on the field he just had to be better, and he specifically mentioned next week’s game at the Jets.
This is a huge game for the Jets, who fell to 5-3 after a 22-17 home loss to the Patriots, while the Dolphins improved to 5-3 with a win at Detroit. Now 6-1, the Bills remain atop the AFC East and AFC overall, and they came out of the Packers game with one injury of concern. Safety Jordan Poyer suffered an elbow injury and will be x-rayed to see if anything is broken. Poyer did admit he heard a popping noise but said he’s trying to stay positive.
There were several positives to take from the Bills win. Defensively Greg Rousseau picked up his 5th sack and had another wiped out by a penalty. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds had 16 tackles, and second year safety Damar Hamlin had 10. Devin Singletary had 14 carries for 67 yards, a 4.8 yard average, and a catch for 16. Rookie James Cook was impressive, with 35 yards on 5 carries for 7 yards a carry, and he also turned a short pass into a 41 yard gain. Matt Milano had another interception and nearly had two.
This was a chippy game, and Bills coach Sean McDermott can’t be happy that wide receiver Gabe Davis was flagged for a late shove on a Packers defensive back, and the pf for 15 yards cost the Bills a scoring drive. Stefon Diggs jawed with some Packers players coming down the tunnel before the game, but Diggs backed it up with 6 catches for 108 yards and a TD on the field. Davis had 2 catches for 35 yards and tight end Dawson Knox 2 for 10 yards. Both should be busier next week.
In fact, I think it’s safe to predict you’ll see a much more focused Bills team next Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
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