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Packers vs. Bills: Quick Takes from Green Bay’s 21-13 Loss

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Packers vs. Bills: Quick Takes from Green Bay’s 21-13 Loss

The Green Bay Packers (10-4) allowed just 12 points on defense but still managed to lose to the Buffalo Bills (8-6), thanks to a shockingly poor performance from the offense and special teams during a 21-13 loss at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Week 15. 


It was over when…

…Bills defensive end Mario Williams knocked the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ right hand as the Packers were attempting to drive the length of the field for the winning score. The fumble rolled into the end zone and was then touched by Eddie Lacy, resulting in a dead-ball safety. It was a fitting end to the proceedings.   


Game Balls

  • Eddie Lacy: One of the lone bright spots during a dark day for the Packers offense, Lacy rushed 15 times for 97 yards and caught two passes for 11. He produced three-straight runs over 15 yards to help set up his own 1-yard score in the first half, Green Bay’s only touchdown of the afternoon. How he received just 15 carries in a game like Sunday’s is still beyond belief. Lacy and James Starks were capable of grinding out a win. 
  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: Tramon Williams had an interception and Clay Matthews tallied two sacks, but we’ll give the rookie safety some love here. Clinton-Dix still misses too many tackles, but he’s almost always in the right position. Once his technique meets up with his instincts, he’ll be a game-changer. Still, the always active rookie was in on a team-high 13 tackles against the Bills. Buffalo converted just 4-of-16 third downs and finished with 253 yards. 
  • No special teams game ball will be awarded. 


Stat of the Game 

25: Rodgers’ number of incompletions, a career high. He was off from the get-go, and he received no help from a receiving corps that dropped a number of passes. Throw in a fast, physical secondary and Rodgers suffered through one of the worst games of his career. 


Other Notes

-- Don’t blame the offensive line for today’s meltdown. This disaster falls at the feet of the play-caller, the passer and pass-catchers. The offensive line passed its test against one of the best defensive lines in football. It took until after Bryan Bulaga’s injury for the Bills’ pass rush to finally make a sizable impact (Rodgers’ fumble). Buffalo had just one sack and three quarterback hits, and the Packers averaged almost six yards per carry on designed runs. The front five were very good. 

-- How in the world does a game like this include 22 called runs and 45 passes? The unacceptable lack of balance cost the Packers a win. The playcalling became ridiculously pass happy despite the score remaining close all game, Lacy ripping up big gains and the Bills continually playing two safeties deep. It just doesn’t add up. Just when you think the Packers start to figure some things out against a look they see almost every week, a game like this happens. It’s troubling, to say the least. 

-- As bad as the offense was, the special teams were worse. Tim Masthay couldn’t kick into the wind, the coverage on the punt return for a touchdown was atrocious and Mason Crosby had a field goal blocked. DuJuan Harris also had an 8-yard kick return and Randall Cobb and Micah Hyde did nothing returning punts. Oh, and there was one sequence Masthay had to punt three straight times because of penalties. Shawn Slocum is lucky he has the most secure job in American sports. 

-- You can’t go on the road, make as many mistakes as the Packers did and still expect to win a game against a quality (any?) opponent. If it’s Seattle or Detroit on the other sideline, we’re talking about a blowout. Maybe it says something that the Packers were still in the game late. But you can bet the Lions will be a confident bunch coming into Lambeau Field in Week 17. And the Seahawks would walk into Green Bay equally as confident in any postseason matchup. 

-- The 10-4 Packers will go on the road to Tampa Bay next Sunday. No team can be overlooked, but Green Bay better return home 11-4. Everything will likely be on the line in the season finale. 


Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. He is also the Lead Writer for the NFC North at Bleacher Report. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected]. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (31) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Norm's picture

"No Special Teams game ball will be awarded." How about a kick in the nuts to Slocum?

Nerd's picture

It seems like we always abandon the run in these ugly losses.

Tundraboy's picture

Why are we so blind to the obvious? Doesn't matter O or D. The time it was not staying with the run. A loss had to come and better now I guess, but losing this way really stings and is beyond frustrating.

badaxed's picture

"Shawn Slocum is lucky he has the most secure job in American sports. "

sad, sad, sad.
NO accountability for special teams.
Special teams on this team are "special needs"
Special teams provide points, field position, and momentum.
H are to win with poor special teams
It seems mc McCarthy does not care about special teams. If he did he would fire slouch.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I slept through this game. Glad I did. About Masthay, he's been pretty questionable all season but he hasn't had to punt much. Part of this goes on TT. Every time he doesn't give Masthay or Crosby competition, their play goes down. Every time he brings in competition, their play goes back up. So then what does he do? He doesn't bring in competition the next year and their play drops again. It's ridiculous.

sonomaca's picture

Please. There's nothing wrong with either of 'em. The KR for TD should have been kicked to a sideline. That was just a strategy error.

The problem today was simple: a ton of drops and some poor tackling of running backs. This was a short week after MNF, and it showed. Plus, the Pack got stiffed on some calls.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I wasn't saying there is something wrong with Crosby now, but there was before. And as soon as his contract got restructured and we brought in competition he stepped up his game. Masthay is having one of the worst years of his career. I really don't understand defending him right now.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, his form breaking down on tackles is inexcusable. He can't possibly see who he is trying to tackle.

RCPackerFan's picture

My only complaint about the play calling is that when they found something that was working, they didn't keep with it.

Lacy was running wild. But at the end of the day he ends up with 15 rushes, and 2 receptions?

Then the 1 drive they put Cobb into the backfield and Buffalo had no answers for it. After that, they didn't use it anymore...

I just would have liked to have seen them stick with what is working.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, and I understand that. They did the exact same thing the week before against Atlanta and it worked. Rodgers had his worst game of the year. Not going to win many games when he plays like that.

My thing about the play calling is more of the personnel then the actual play calling.
I just would have liked to have seen Lacy get more touches. When he is averaging like 6-7 yards per touch, He needs more touches.

DraftHobbyist's picture

Cobb will get hurt if he gets used too much in the backfield, and he's really not meant to take many carriers. He did get 3 carries, which is pretty high for a single game, especially when he caught 7 passes. WR's just can't take the hits RB's can.

RCPackerFan's picture

Just because Cobb is lined up in the backfield doesn't mean he has to carry the ball out of there... They have plays for him taking passes out of there. And he did have some receptions coming out of the backfield.

When he lined up in the backfield and was running routes the defense couldn't cover him.

He provided a mismatch that the Bills couldn't handle. I would have liked to have seen it more.

4thand1's picture

MM took the blame for the strip fumble at the end, said he should have gave Tretter help on the play. Hyde could have let the ball go too, but its hindsight, gotta try to make the big return. Harris is brutal on kickoffs. Fielded the ball on the 10 and got 7 yards? WTF! Made more mistakes today than a pre-season game.

tm_inter's picture

Seeing Harris' (lack of) performance each week makes me wonder why the Packers didn't try Janis who can't do any worse than Harris. Janis already showed in preseason that he could be an effective kickoff returner which Harris isn't. With his size and speed Janis can contribute to the Packers' special teams. Why nobody in the Packers' organization doesn't see this is beyond me.

murphy's picture

"Shawn Slocum is lucky he has the most secure job in American sports. "

Point taken, but as long as Jeff Triplette remains employed Slocum has at best the #2 most secure job in American sports.

MarkinMadison's picture

I nominate Jayrone Elliot for a special teams ball. Seeing a defensive lineman being the first to hit a punt returning put a smile on my face.

Idiot Fan's picture

All of the articles on the national media sites have titles like "Bills D Smothers Packers." Am I the only one who thinks that their D wasn't really the problem? Yes, there was some tight coverage, but part of that was Rodgers missing his spots. I feel like Rodgers' inaccuracy and the receivers drops (both possibly wind related), neither of which seemed to be caused by defensive pressure, were the issue.

4thand1's picture

This was a welcome back to earth game. They thought they could just show up and win. The Bills played their 1st meaningful game in Dec. in years. Just hope they don't look past Tampa next week. The lolions don't scare me.

Mojo's picture

Agree. I didn't think the Bills D was in the least bit dominating. The Packers ran on them all day and Rodgers was given plenty of time to operate. I guess the Bills secondary was decent, but that was partially because they were allowed to aggressively press and hold beyond 5 yards. QB1 & the receivers made them look much better than they played.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, I thought the same thing. The Packers beat themselves more then the Bills beat them.

Positives from the game. Bills have one of the best front 4's in the league and the Packers pretty much held them in check. They didn't make an impact in the game until Tretter had to come in for Bulaga.

Speaking of which, I am looking forward to seeing if 2 of the Bills players get fined this week for head shots. Both Bulaga and Mathews took shots to the head and weren't flagged. Looking at the replays, it honestly looked like those could have been considered targeting.

murphy's picture

"The Packers beat themselves more then the Bills beat them."

The Bills capitalized on a few of the opportunities that Rodgers gave them, but for the most part they were less impressive than I was expecting, especially the front four. I've never seen Rodgers be so inaccurate with so little pressure, and when he was accurate the receivers failed to make routine catches.

If Rodgers is playing at even 50% of normal throughout the game, if Jordy doesn't do his best James Jones impression, if Bulaga doesn't get dropped on what appeared to be a dirty hit, if McCarthy decides to let Lacy do his thing against 7-8 man boxes instead of letting Rodgers force the pass...If, if, if.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, that Bulaga hit looked really bad to me.

Basically what I take away from the game. The Packers beat themselves more then the Bills beat them.
Packers weren't dominated in anyway. Bill have a very strong defense but it didn't affect what the Packers did offensively. Packers just beat themselves.

Maybe this will be like the Detroit game earlier in the year. Make them wake up a bit and go on a run.

aj's picture

That headline is to draw page views. Would people prefer to read how the mighty packers offense was stopped by the upstart bills or "Rodgers plays bad game, packers lose"?

mrtundra's picture

I loved our O Line's handling of the Buffalo front four. Then Bulaga got hurt and Tretter was asked to block Mario Williams. Tretter did okay until the drive that resulted in the safety. Another thing I saw was there were many missed tackles by the Packers D that happened due to not wrapping up. Look at how the Bills RB escaped certain losses behind the LOS by bouncing off Packer defenders who would try to take him out by running into him instead of wrapping him up.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree about wrapping up, but I would add that our defense does not seem to consistently swarm to the ball. I recall two plays where one of our defensive players held up the running back in the backfield but no one swarmed in to finish off the ball carrier.

murphy's picture

"But you can bet the Lions will be a confident bunch coming into Lambeau Field in Week 17"

I'm not sure that barely sneaking past an eliminated Vikings team at home really did a lot to inspire confidence.

Imma Fubared's picture

The bills played the same game KC did last year to befuddle both Rogers and MM. Rush 4 and sandwich Cobb and Nelson and thats it. You win because MM is hell bent to run the same offense all day long.
What happened to our great rookies Rogers and Adams. They are non existant becuase the passing game doesn't include them when the going gets tough.

murphy's picture

I must have missed that KC game last year.

Imma Fubared's picture

We all agreed watching last nights game that either Philly or Dallas would hand the packers there hat, not to mention Seattle. So where is this team going? Detroit is coming to town to take the division title and the Pack, well they may be watching from the outside.

aj's picture

I know everyone wants to be full of doom and gloom, but we did play like this against the lions in Detroit earlier this season and the game still went down to the wire. It's alright guys, we'll be fine. It's better that we have this game before the postseason anyways. I didn't think we would win 11 in a row to win the big one (if we would have won out the regular season and the 3 playoff games that would have been 11 in a row). We'll be fine. How often will Rodgers have a game like the one he just played? That was his worst game in over 100 starts. I'll take my odds that Rodgers will be a stud 99 percent of the time. Let's R-E-L-A-X a little bit.

sheppercheeser's picture

My comment about the special teams effort(?) is this: when Mason almost had his 1st field goal blocked, Slocum should've huddled the troops and discussed it and a plan to avoid the inevitable block. Additionally, Crosby should've made whatever adjustment needed to avoid the inevitable block i.e. a little quicker to the ball or a little more height, etc.

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