I’d like to say we learned a lot about the Green Bay Packers after they defeated the Buffalo Bills 34-7 on Sunday, but I can’t.
The Packers let the Bills hang around in the first half, but ultimately did exactly what they were supposed to do — dominate one of the worst teams in the league.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was back on his game after playing poorly in week one, finishing 19-of-29 for 255 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Somehow, the Bills didn’t pay attention to the Eagles game plan for stopping tight end Jermichael Finley and Finley came through with four receptions for 103 yards.
Clay Matthews remained a terror on defense, tallying five tackles and three sacks. Matthews now has six sacks on the season and I wondered aloud during the game whether it’s too early to start talking about Matthews as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The answer is yes. It’s too early, but if Matthews keeps up this pace, he’ll probably be in the MVP conversation.
On the negative side, the Packers didn’t rush the ball well with Ryan Grant out of the lineup. Brandon Jackson received the bulk of the work, but gained only 29 yards on 11 carries. That’s a 2.6-yard average and that’s not going to get it done if the Packers want to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Fullback John Kuhn, who is now pretending to be a running back, did a little better. Kuhn gained 36 yards on nine carries, an average of four yards per carry. No one is going to confuse Kuhn with a No. 1 running back, but he seemed to run harder than Jackson. He also seemed to know what he was doing more so than Jackson — make one cut and run straight ahead.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Kuhn starts getting more carries than Jackson. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers made a trade for a running back.
Perhaps the most notable development of the game was rookie Bryan Bulaga replacing Chad Clifton at left tackle. I didn’t notice Bulaga was in the game until he jumped offsides in the second half, but that’s a good thing.
A week after getting pushed around by Philadelphia’s defensive line, the Packers offensive line held up well. They didn’t allow a sack against the Bills.
After the game, coach Mike McCarthy said Clifton was injured. He did miss some practice time this week, but what’s new? Clifton is old and injury-prone.
He also hasn’t played at a high level for two seasons.
It will be interesting to see if Bulaga gets more snaps or takes over full time for Clifton. Personally, I haven’t seen anything from Clifton that says he needs to remain the starter.
Finally, the Minnesota Vikings and the great Lord Brett Favre lost to the Miami Dolphins at home. The Vikings are now 0-2 and two games behind the Packers in the NFC North. There is still hope the Vikings will go 0-16 this year.