ReFo: Packers @ Bills, Week 15
The announcers mentioned several times during the broadcast how the Buffalo offense would need more than field goals to beat the Packers, but a solid coverage effort combined with numerous Green Bay miscues ensured that Dan Carpenter’s four field goals (along with a punt return score and a safety) would more than suffice. Buffalo guaranteed their first non-losing season in a decade, and with this win keep themselves right in the thick of things in the AFC wild card race.
The Packers’ offense saw its leader play what was easily his worst game of the year, as Aaron Rodgers set a season-low in terms of grading and a career-high in incompletions, though the latter was helped by six dropped passes. The defense did well to keep the Bills out of the end zone, but they also squandered opportunities just as the offense did, three times catching a running back deep in the backfield only to miss the tackle and give the offense a positive run in the process. This loss knocks Green Bay to a still respectable 10-4, but that record now sees them in a four-way tie for the second-best mark in the NFC.
In a game that saw 19 penalties, double digit dropped passes and over 20 missed tackles between the two clubs, let’s look at some standout players from Sunday’s game.
Green Bay Packers –Performances of Note
Jordy Nelson, WR: -1.8
Breakdown: A rare down day for Nelson whose dropped pass on what could have been a 94-yard touchdown will undoubtedly be replayed countless times over the coming week. He left more points on the board with a drop in the end zone on a free play late in the first quarter, though he did convert a few first downs to help mitigate the damage some.
Signature Stat: Nelson posted his first grade below-1.0 since Week 3 of 2012.
Eddie Lacy, HB: +1.9
Breakdown: With a floundering passing game, Lacy saw to it that Green Bay’s offense wouldn’t be left dead in the water with his fourth green grade in the last five weeks. Playing just 42 snaps as Mike McCarthy moved Randall Cobb into the backfield for stretches, Lacy still put up nearly 100 yards on the ground and earned a healthy 6.5 yards per carry.
Signature Play: At the 2:38 mark of the second quarter, Lacy snags a check down and makes two guys miss, only going down when three Bills gang-tackled him past the sticks.
Tramon Williams, CB: +2.6
Breakdown: A major contributor in the Bill’s lack of offensive success, Williams shone brightly in coverage, surrendering a single 10-yard catch while picking one off for the Packers’ only turnover. With several young corners and three viable safeties on the roster, it will be interesting to see what the Packers plan to do with the 31-year-old this offseason as he is scheduled to become a free agent in March.
Signature Stat: Playing 91.8% of Green Bay’s defensive snaps this year, Williams has allowed more than 80 yards in just two games.
Buffalo Bills – Performances of Note
Kyle Williams, DT: +4.4
Breakdown: Since most of the postgame discussion will focus on Rodgers’ poor performance, Williams should comfortably remain one of the league’s most underrated defensive tackles in spite of his dominant day. Earning pressure against both T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton alike, the long-time Bill made waves as a pass rusher and still did well enough in the running game too.
Signature Play: Not content to beat guards all day, Williams lined up outside and took left tackle David Bakhtiari for a hurry with 5:00 to go in the fourth quarter.
Mario Williams, DE: +1.2
Breakdown: It would be more than fair to say he lost his battle with Bryan Bulaga, doing very little as a pass rusher prior to Bulaga leaving the field with an injury. Beating the overmatched J.C. Tretter for a hurry and a sack in Bulaga’s absence, Williams contributed to the Bills’ strong special teams performance with a blocked field goal as well.
Signature Play: Williams nipped the Packers’ comeback hopes with a strip-sack-turned-safety on Green Bay’s only play of their final drive, beating Tretter around the edge to clip Rodgers’ arm during his throwing motion.
Sammy Watkins, WR: -2.9
Breakdown: We’ve all seen how Watkins is capable of superb games, but against Green Bay he showed his penchant for disappearing at times. His lone 28-yard reception was a fine exhibit in body control and adjusting to the ball, but the rookie came up empty on his other five targets, and two penalties didn’t do him any favors in our grading either.
Signature Stat: The Clemson product has four games over 100 yards this year, but also has nine games below 40 yards.
PFF Game Ball
Going against one of the league’s better offensive interiors, Kyle Williams (+4.4) made no excuses and simply beat the man in front of him.