In 2018, in Josh Allen’s rookie season, he started his 4th game as a pro at Lambeau Field. It was not pretty for Allen or Buffalo. Aaron Rodgers had an off night with an interception and a 76.9 rating, but it was much worse for Allen. Seven sacks, two interceptions, a 36.3 rating, a total of 151 yards on 33 attempts. The rookie looked lost. The 22-0 final score, humbling. Sunday’s game in Buffalo was redemption for Allen and this year’s AFC leading Bills. Buffalo took a huge lead into halftime and held on to win.
The Packer defense started the game on fire. Jaire Alexander made two great plays to force two incompletions by Josh Allen, both intended for Stephon Diggs. Alexander and Diggs would battle with their mouths and play all game. After the Bills punt, the Packer offense got the ball. A first down run gained a yard. The second run gained 7. Those two plays were followed by what last week would have been described as a tiny miracle; the Packers got a first down pass completion on third down.
Last game’s monkey was off their back. The Packers then did a quick swing pass to Aaron Jones for another first down. But the magic quickly faded when rookie Packer 4th round compensatory pick Zach Tom, starting at left guard for the first time, missed his assignment and allowed Tim Settle a free shot at Aaron Rodgers. Next, Christian Watson went down with a concussion. On fourth down, Tom again allowed pressure and Rodgers threw the ball… to no one.
The Bills then surgically sliced the Packer defense into shreds. The specifics do not need to be repeated. The score at half: 24-7. The Packers highlight of the first half was Romeo Doubs’ fantastic catch of a long corner end zone pass from Rodgers. Doubs announced he is back, shrugging off the bad game last week by making multiple splash catches. In all Doubs caught four balls for 62 yards. The offense seemed to score a touchdown coming out of the third quarter, but an offensive pass interference call wiped it off the board.
The Packers were able to add three points on a 38 yard Crosby field goal. The defense opened the third quarter without starting linebacker De’Vondre Campbell due to injury and Quay Walker, who was ejected after an idiotic push of a Bills’ player on the sideline. Even down two starters, the Packers held the Bills to a field goal on their first third quarter drive. Sadly, that felt like a great victory after the first half. Score: 27-10. But the defense came to play in the second half and battled through the third and fourth quarter. While the Bills piled up yardage, the defense forced two turnovers, both interceptions of Allen.
While Allen gave the Packers opportunities, the offense showed flashes but could not complete the comeback. The final back breaking sequence for the Packers, who were matching the aggression of Buffalo in the second half, was back-to-back interceptions. The first, a Packer defensive turnover by Raul Douglass. That was quickly followed by a tipped pass from Rodgers being intercepted by Buffalo. To the defense’s credit Jaire Alexander made a diving interception on the five yard line to ward off another Bills score.
Then it was the offense’s turn and they marched down the field, scoring a touchdown on a nice drive capped off by 7th round draft pick Samori Toure on a long catch of a nice deep pass from Rodgers. That made the score 27-17 but the offense did not get the ball back until there was 2:34 on the clock. While Rodgers got the offense moving with three straight completions, then a nice sideline deep shot to Amari Rodgers, the offense stalled and the Packers opted for a 54 yard field goal attempt by Mason Crosby that weakly wobbled left of the goal post. The optimist will be thankful the Packers found some fight in the second half and made Buffalo work for their victory. The offense consistently ran the ball against Buffalo.
The young pass catchers, Doubs and Toure showed some promise. Luckily, Green Bay seemed to escape a serious injury to A.J. Dillon after an awkward twisted fall when he was tackled by fellow B.C. alum Matt Milano. For those looking for company in their misery, the Raiders lost 24-0 to the Saints and Davante Adams had one catch for -1 yards. But the Packers are now 3-5, four games in the loss column behind Minnesota. Detroit is next up, and the season is in the balance.