Packers defense shuts out Bills

Rodgers disappointed with play of offense
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By Morgan Rode sports@newmedia-wi.com


Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers linebacker Reggie Gilbert chases Bills quarterback Josh Allen during Sunday’s game.

Despite easing to a 22-0 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field, not all were thrilled within the Green Bay Packers’ locker room.

“No, I’m happy. I’m excited to go home and have a Scotch or two, but I’m also a realist,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “That’s just not acceptable offense for us. Four hundred and twenty-three yards looks pretty good in comparison to some of the games we’ve put forward the first three weeks, but it should have been about 45 points and about 600 yards.”

Green Bay scored two touchdowns in just over a quarter of play before settling for three Mason Crosby field goals, including two from 52 yards out.

The Packers improved on third down, converting 11 of 19 chances. The hosts also scored two touchdowns on their three possessions in which they reached the red zone, but Rodgers was still not pleased.

“We were championship defensive level and non-playoff team offensive level today,” he said. “That was not great by any stretch of the imagination.”

The championship defense Rodgers referenced turned in its best game of the young season, allowing just 145 yards of total offense while registering seven sacks. The Packers held rookie Bills quarterback Josh Allen to 151 passing yards and just 16 of 33 passing.

Rookie Jaire Alexander and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix each picked off a pass while six different players had a hand in a sack. Kyler Fackrell tallied three of the sacks while Blake Martinez, Reggie Gilbert and Jermaine Whitehead each had one. Nick Perry and Clay Matthews combined for the other sack.

“I think it just shows us what we’re capable of,” Martinez said of the shutout the defense posted. “I think we looked at the first three games and saw how good we were in the second half or for short periods of time… So it was one of those things where we just need to be consistent and just play our ball for the whole 60 minutes.”

“I think we are definitely building that confidence and getting more and more comfortable with the system and more and more comfortable with each other,” Fackrell said.

The defense forced Buffalo into three-and-outs on each of its first two possessions. Green Bay punted after reaching enemy territory on its first drive but capped the second drive off when Rodgers found Jimmy Graham for a 3-yard passing score.

The Bills moved the ball on their third drive, but the Packers defense stiffened as soon as the visitors crossed the 50. The Packers then put together a nine-play, 83-yard drive that culminated in an Aaron Jones 3-yard touchdown run and a 13-0 lead.

Green Bay forced three-and-outs on the next two possessions, but Rodgers was intercepted on a tipped pass on one drive before the next stalled near midfield.

Buffalo’s best shot at scoring came on its last possession of the half, but an ill-advised throw from Allen was picked off by Alexander. Green Bay took advantage, with Crosby drilling the first of his 52-yard field goals to end the half.

The Packers’ first drive of the second half resulted in a 36-yard Crosby field goal before Clinton-Dix picked off Allen after a scary collision with Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

Green Bay got the ball back two more times in the third quarter but could only muster one first down. The Packers turned the ball over on a Rodgers’ fumble, punted and kicked a field goal on its three fourth-quarter possessions.

Rodgers completed just 22 of 40 pass attempts for 298 yards. Devante Adams had eight receptions for 81 yards, while Geronimo Allison tallied six catches for 80 yards. Jones led the running game, which totaled 141 yards, with 65 rushing yards.

The Packers defense got its third turnover when Kenny Clark forced and recovered a fumble and recorded four of its sacks in the final quarter to seal the shutout win. Fackrell had all three of his sacks in the final 12 minutes of play.

Green Bay (2-1-1) will look to pick up its first road win of the year Sunday when taking on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Kickoff is at noon.