The Buffalo Bills defense is good enough to win a Super Bowl… Just ask Aaron Rodgers, who posted his worst passer rating of his career at 34.3 and often looked unable to R-E-L-A-X against the boys in blue. For the second-consecutive week, the Bills faced a future Hall of Fame quarterback and for the second-consecutive week, held him to under 200 passing yards, without a TD and picked him off twice. This week when the Bills sacked the Pack though, they only allowed one rushing TD and the offense did just enough to get the W, so as fans we weren’t left heartbroken at the opportunity wasted or thinking what could have been.
The defense comes first in my grading this week and as you might have already guessed, they get an A+. Rodgers and the Packers offense has been slowed down only once (a week 8 loss in the Super Dome) since the Green Bay QB made his now famous relax comment after a September loss to the Lions. During that span Rodgers threw multiple TD passes in every game besides the Saints loss. I’m bringing all this up just to remind readers how incredible this performance truly was. Because there weren’t a ton of box score stats that stand out aside from Bacarri Rambo’s two interception day (see the first and second here) and the forced fumble-safety Mario Williams caused to essentially end the game. Williams also blocked a FG attempt earlier in the game. Outside of those stats, The team didn’t have a ton of sacks, TFLs or QB hits, but they didn’t miss tackles, played tight coverage and just made everything a struggle for the high-powered Packers offense. That was the key to their success in this game as well as a bit of luck on a Jordy Nelson drop that likely would have been a 94-yard TD. The run defense also could have been better as Lacy got 97 yards and a TD on 15 carries, but I’ll take that since Rodgers was held in check.
As I said before the offense did just enough to win this game. They only had one turnover, ran the ball decently well, especially in the second half and won the time of possession battle, allowing the defense additional time to rest and prepare to further stymie the Packers offense. Kyle Orton returned to his average self after throwing for 300+ yards last week, he was back under 200 and without a TD. In fact nobody on the Bills offense got a touchdown. That is why I’m grading them at a D+.
Luckily though, Dan Carpenter is a beast and as he has consistently done all season, he finished drives with points when the offense stalled today, even from 50+ yards away. He personally accounted for 12 of the Bills 21 points. Another 7 came from an amazing 75-yard punt return TD by Marcus Thigpen in the first quarter. Even Colton Schmidt contributed in a big way, pinning the Packers inside their 20 on 3 of his 6 punts. All that is why I needed to include a grade of an A+ for the Special Teams this week instead of my typical offense/defense breakout.
Samuelson Slant Grade: A-
I weighted the grades differently in case you’re wondering why it didn’t come out to a B+. I had to give the team extra credit for the upset victory as the Bills sacked the Pack. As always though, let me know your thoughts though Bills Mafia!