The Green Bay Packers got beaten and humbled by the Buffalo Bills today. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have already opted not to read this piece. Others may be rolling their eyes. But hear me out. While I prefer to “keep it real” and don’t pull any punches when the Packers play badly, I’m aware of the reality of what lies ahead the next two weeks.
Here are some thoughts following today’s trouncing in Orchard Park. Comment away down below, as I know many need to vent and burn off some steam.
This game wasn’t lost on defense – This is just common sense if you watched the game, yet there is a contingent out there who still want Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers fired after today. Yes, the Packers fell apart a bit at the end and gave up chunks of yardage to allow Buffalo to waste clock. But they gave up 21 points. Even on the road, that should be enough for the Packers to get a win. Green Bay is averaging just shy of 22 points on the road, which is vastly different from the output we’re used to seeing this season at home, but 21 points surrendered is nothing to scoff at. The defense stepped up and improved after last week’s near total meltdown in the second half against Atlanta. Some positives on the defensive side of the ball today include Sam Barrington in the middle, despite some coverage mistakes. His motor and ability to clog the hole on run defense has been sorely missed on this team for the past few seasons. Tramon with another pick on a closely contested ball. This may be his last season in Green Bay and while it may be an appropriate time, he will be missed if that is, in fact, true. Clay Matthews got a good push up front. A.J. Hawk reappeared and caused a fumble at the end of the game. Not all is lost on D.
Special Teams continue to be anything but – I’m really curious to see what the dynamic is in the room with both Shawn Slocum and Ron Zook running this unit. Six blocked kicks this season, a punt return for a score today and even Tim Masthay isn’t a sure thing anymore. I watch teams with good special teams coverage units and it seems that a big ingredient of that success is desire. The Packers have turned to several of their starters on special teams so maybe it’s a matter of wanting to save some for the offensive or defensive snaps? Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks about ideal body types for special teams and harps on how young players have to contribute on special teams if they’re going to be on the roster. What’s up with this mantra this season? This is an area that is going to cost the Packers dearly against really good teams. Give any playoff team a short field and chances are they’re coming out of it with at least three points. Points are what matter most in the end. All of these little deficiencies add up. Green Bay lost by eight today. They gave up 10 points on special teams. On the touchdown return, they looked like a bunch of guys who were playing football for the first time and didn’t know that the return guy could actually advance the ball. I have said time and time again, past history tends to repeat. Will a special teams gaffe potentially undo this team in the postseason? Those are typically close games and a field goal is often times the difference.
Aaron Rodgers had a bad day – His worst, actually. He looked like a completely different guy out there. It wasn’t that surprising to me, as I knew Buffalo would be sneaky good on defense, but today’s quarterback play reminded me how life used to be in the mid-to-late 80’s. His first interception wasn’t a tipped ball. He’s human and he made a mistake. Still, he’s Aaron Rodgers and I wouldn’t count on him having another utterly disappointing showing two weeks in a row. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and he surely will hear the criticism this week. He’ll use it as motivation and be ready for Tampa. This is a bad time, unfortunately, for Rodgers to play this badly, as the Packers fell behind a bit with all other NFC foes in playoff contention were winners today.
The offense wasn’t much better – Eddie Lacy was the only targeted receiver who didn’t have a drop today. Jordy Nelson had the “drop heard ’round the world” and rookie Davante Adams wasn’t even in the same church as Rodgers, let alone the same pew. Despite only being sacked once, Rodgers was constantly hurrying his throws and many sailed high, but the receivers did little to help out the struggling quarterback. Sloppy football happens every now and then but we’re at the point in the season where they should be clicking on most cylinders. When they’re not, perhaps McCarthy can help out and stick with the run if it’s working. Unless I’m unaware of some clause in Rodgers’ contract that says he has to throw every so many snaps, it’s OK to run, run, run with Lacy. There’s no single player in the NFL more worthy of the ball in his hands at a critical point than Rodgers, but the way today was going, McCarthy (and Rodgers with his pre-snap checks) needed to concede that someone else was going to have to beat Buffalo.
The Packers did themselves no favors in trying to secure home-field advantage in the postseason – Arizona, Detroit and Seattle all were winners, meaning the Packers are a full game behind the Cardinals and have the same record as the Seahawks and Lions. Problem is, they lost to both of those teams so they hold no tiebreaker. I reiterate, today’s loss didn’t knock the Packers out of playoff contention and in fact, they’ll emerge from this weekend as one of the six NFC teams that would be in if the season ended today. But they have lost some control of their own destiny. The Packers have to beat the Lions in week 17 in order to secure the NFC North and they now need some help with Arizona and Seattle. Those two teams face each other next week. A Seahawks win puts Seattle firmly in the driver’s seat for home field if they simply win out. A Cardinals win would secure them a playoff spot and inch them closer to home field, all while keeping Seattle a game behind the Packers, assuming Green Bay can beat Tampa Bay. It’s all about matchups and the Packers don’t match up well with Seattle. To not only have to face them in the postseason, but travel to Seattle doesn’t bode well for the Packers at all. I used the hashtag #nohelp several times today, meaning the Packers shouldn’t expect any help from anyone else to further their cause of getting into the postseason and with a top seed. Green Bay just needs to win these next two games and hope some chips fall their way. The Lions have the Bears next week and it’s not likely they’re going to drop that one. Seattle faces the Cardinals next week and then finishes up at home against the Rams. The Rams did little at home against Arizona to give any confidence they can hang with the Seahawks on the road.
Good teams lose games – In fact, only one of the 32 teams in the league will advance to the playoffs and not lose. Every team has their playmakers and sometimes, those guys don’t get the job done. Today, most of the Packers’ steadies were nowhere to be found. While some losses can serve as a lesson to teams and catapult them to great things afterwards, this doesn’t have the feel of being one of those games. They were a hot mess all day long. It’s not like they ever really seemed to have a chance to take control against the Bills. It was one miscue and mishap after another. It’s how the Packers bounce back next week that will determine what this team is headed for. They don’t play well in Tampa. Rodgers is 0-2 there as a starter and the Packers lost to an 0-7 Bucs team in 2009. Bucs head coach Lovie Smith remembers and knows Rodgers. Former Lions head coach and Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz certainly did. Familiarity could neutralize this game more than one thinks. Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans will also have something to say about whether the Packers leave Tampa with a win. Tampa may only have two wins, but they’re at home and looking to build some momentum for next season. 60 minutes of important football await the Packers next week. They need to get back to good.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone:
42 thoughts on “Packers vs. Bills Knee-Jerk Reaction”
The defense didn’t lose the game but they didn’t go out and win the game either. They still tackle like they’re in 7th grade. Communication issues on coverage leaving receivers wide open. I’m sorry but when will we be able to count on the defense to win a game when the offense puts up a clunker. Buffalo’s offense isn’t good yet they moved the ball when needed to score and eat clock. Super Bowl winning caliber teams don’t lose these type of games. Hoping we didn’t seal our fate but more than likely a wonderful trip to Seattle is in the future.
I can’t possibly fathom anymore how this Shawn Slocum has managed to have a full time job with the Green Bay Packers all these years despite the consistent inconsistent poor play by his special teams units. I’ve been calling for his firing for years and he just keeps on keeping on effin up costing us games. I would like to know how long these players actually practice during the week. DuJuan Harris still looks uncomfortable returning, constant blocked field goals and punts, constant flags. This is embarrassing and his units cost us 10 points yesterday!! Whatever he has on McCarthy, TT or Murphy must be huge.
Totally agree about this special teams coaching. Must be MM’s buddy
Slocum caught MM kissing Santa…
DuJuan Harris, on paper looks like he should be an excellent return man….but for some reason with this team he isn’t…he can catch the ball at the five and get out to the fifteen and thats about it….strange…is it scheme or blocking or what but our special teams anything but….
Thanks Scott, Packers D need to dominate and they are incapable of doing that.
Really? The Packers defense holds the Bills to 4 FGs and 0 TDs, and you think they should have done more? If you would have told me the Bills offense would only score 12 points, I would have called this a shoe-in for the Packers.
This defense is not going to be elite, and you’d better get used to that fact real quick if you want to enjoy the next few years. In the age of the salary cap and free agency, teams cannot possible have both an elite defense and an elite offense. Pick one, and make the other as good as you can.
When two of your three units put in a miserable effort, then no team could possible expect the third to make up for all of the deficiencies.
Chad, we simply expect more out of the defense. Watch GBP defense and the open holes, and it just doesn’t pass the eye-test. It is porous. The pass rush? Despite 2 sacks, still really didn’t alter Orton’s performance. Just not good enough Chad. It wasn’t horrible, but no one on the couch or bleachers believes the defense can rise up and shut down a game when needed. After 4 years and all of the attention in the draft for defense…its not an issue of salary cap, it is coaching and drafting…and thus we have a very mediocre defense.
Not even trying to explain the Special Teams debacle; but that has to be bad scheming, inadequate coaching.
That really doesn’t address Chad’s point. 12 points given up is 12 points, regardless of what the eye test looks like. All the things you mention still led to only 12 points. Chad is right, you can’t have an elite offense and defense under this CBA, most teams have neither. The Packers offense is elite, fans should be happy about that.
Well said; ‘when can we count on the defense to go out at win the game…..
Spot on Jason… Poor Rodgers had the ole Brett Favre deer in the headlights look. Guaranteed loss when you see that look. It was a team effort.
Was I the only one that saw Peppers get blown up like a biatch by a wide receiver? Never seen anything like that before. 110 pound receiver pushed him back at least 7 yards, wtf…
No, the TV crew caught it, too, but most people missed it because the announcer called him “Julio Hooper”.
Where did they find those bozos’? Was that their first NFL game?
Yeah – Didn’t know the Packers had guys named “Miciah” Hyde and Brian “Baluga”!
It was John Travolta tuning up for the next Oscars.
Did Rodgers get in a argument with Olivia Munn prior to the game? Because something was on his mind that diverted him from thinking he had enough time in the pocket and throwing his normal share of good/great passes. At one point in the game, he looked like Jay Cutler on the sidelines, Just that blank lost , I’m not in touch with the game look. Now we will probably be playing in Seattle, against a better defense and a much louder stadium and much better QB, instead of at Home. That’s If we beat Detroit, of course. What a disaster yesterday was!
Yes the D had some bad moments, but they held the opponent to 12 points . That’s not bad on the road. The special teams down right sucked!
There’s no reason to worry about Seattle until Seattle is the next team on the schedule.
Yep. The Packers have to first win in Tampa. Then, they can think about Detroit. At that point, any more games are a plus for this year’s team.
By the way, what’s AR’s and MM’s record vs. Tampa Bay?
You’re right, I’m just venting.
WOW!!!….Reading some of the comments at multiple sites makes it appear as though the ‘ R.E.L.A.X.’ train has come to the …
it hasn’t..so stay on board and enjoy the ride to the next station. 🙂
Good, level perspective Jason. While I agree with many of your points, I can’t get over a fundamental belief that this is still a ‘finesse’ team that will not prevail against hard-nosed, defenses. You only need to look at our loses to see where this team falls short. No amount of rah, rah will get this team past the Seahawks. Who will tackle Marshawn Lynch or a scrambling Wilson and how will our fly-weight receivers out muscle that secondary. What I saw yesterday had four cylinders and no trailer hitch.
Not sure I completely agree, but really like the analogy.
Maybe at home the Packers could get it done against Seattle. In Seattle they do seem like paper tigers. This team may yet surprise us.
I don’t see New England or Seattle having a pathetic December performance heading towards the the playoffs. They are playing championship football right now. What I saw from the Packers D in the second half of the Atlanta game, and all day yesterday, was not championship football. This team has issues. The offense gets creamed by good defense on the road and our defense typically looks lost and soft against quality offenses and QBs. This is not a good formula for playoff football.
Shawn Slocumb MUST be fired at the end of the year. And someone needs to remind MM to RUN THE DAMN BALL! The article today by McGinn is gold. This loss is on AR and MM and WRs and STs.
Still can get the 2nd seed – but we are now ALL AZ fans next week. GB can beat AZ. They can’t beat Seattle in Seattle.
“Still can get the 2nd seed – but we are now ALL AZ fans next week. GB can beat AZ. They can’t beat Seattle in Seattle.”
Given that they couldn’t beat Buffalo in Buffalo this week, why would they be able to beat Arizona in Arizona?
Who really thinks GB can beat Lions at home? I don’t. But that is as far as we need to worry. If we can’t beat the lions at home, we may as well start our mock drafts for next year.
I think they CAN because the Lions are a much different team on the road from the one they are at home, and the Packers are a much different team at home from the one we saw at Buffalo on Sunday. Do I think they WILL? Yes, I think they will, but they’ll need to start fast (as always).
Because even with how stupid the game plan was and how poor AR and his WRs played, everything that could have gone wrong on Sunday did go wrong – in spades.
If GB and BUF play that game 10 times, GB wins 9. The only team that I think dominates GB on the road is Seattle. Not AZ.
There has to be some overide at coach and the field leader. Just as If your shooting 3s in basketball and they aren’t falling you go to something that does work. It’s called adjusting to the flow of the game. No shame even if it means you go away from your main strength for a while. RUN!!!! Perhaps the downside to having an ultra confident great QB is the determination to win it on his terms to a fault. Hard to argue since itwould have worked if Jordy makes the catch. As a fan when we do not adjust (ie run) to win a winnable game, when we are way off our game, it leaves you with this ugly feeling we have now and maybe later, What if. Better play a great and complete game next week.
“Hard to argue since itwould have worked if Jordy makes the catch. ”
I’d like to think so, but who knows how the game flow changes after that?
True but I would have slept better. Now that I think about it if it was a TD maybe they would have gone back to Lacy full time on next possession??
What to tell you Jasone. You were right and I was wrong. Well this turned out to be for different reasons than you claim, but you know football much, much better to me, so that is not surprise… Well predicted!
the defense gave up 12 points. special teams gave up 7 (punt return) and the offense gave up 2 (safety). the game is definitely not on the defense.
ST also guilty of a blocked FG. No telling if we would have made it, but the block gave a zero chance
Here we go with over reaction Monday in the NFL. You are never as bad as your worst loss and your never as good as your best win. That stands for all these teams. Seattle was in a dog fight with San Fran yesterday and got bailed out by a chincy personal foul. The Lions barely scraped by the Vikes at home. In this league if you don’t show up focused every single game you will lose plain and simple. Just because the team can’t have homefield in the playoffs doesn’t mean SH!T. Heck the Rams held the Denver Broncos to 7 points this season. I for one don’t mind the team lost and they will prove to all the naysayers out there this team is ready for a run like 2010.
And look at what happened to Denver last year in the Super Bowl.
Justin, you must be new to this site. Only gross over-reaction, epic prediction of failure and mass-firing is allowed here at AllGBP.com. With that said, I absolutely love your call for PERSPECTIVE…please post here more often.
Thanks, Captain Obvious
The defense gave up 4 FGs, 3 of which were after long drives, and 1 was when Buffalo got the ball on their 48, drove 22 yards to the GB 30 and made a longish FG. But the defense also produced a turnover. And twice Buffalo got great field position where it could have kicked a field goal right away, but the defense pushed Buffalo back 15 or 20 yards (i.e. net negative yards) to twice force punts. Buffalo’s offense is not great, but this was a very decent defensive effort by GB.
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