The Packers’ season continues to trend downward with a fourth consecutive loss to the Super Bowl contender Buffalo Bills. Green Bay traveled to Buffalo on the day before Halloween and looked competitive, but it wasn’t enough as Josh Allen once again looked all but impervious. The game ended 27-17 in favor of the home team, leaving the Bills 6-1 and the Packers fans beginning to panic a bit.
The story of the game for Green Bay was simply missed opportunities. The ground game was working extremely well, with even Buffalo’s elite defense struggling to contain Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. The pair combined for nearly 200 yards on the ground, with Jones laying down 143 by himself — his third such game this season. But despite a series of big runs throughout the game, the Packers consistently failed to convert their red zone chances. The first drive of the game fell to them, but despite some promising early plays, it ended with no points on the board as Aaron Rodgers missed his target through the air. The Bills then went down the field to score on their first drive to compound the visitors’ woes, with Allen completing a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dawson Knox. Before they knew it, the score had doubled , as after another failed drive, the Bills marched down the field to make the score 14-0 with another touchdown pass from Allen, this time from 26 yards to Stefon Diggs.
The Packers wouldn’t go quietly, however, as with six minutes to play in the second quarter, after a very long drive, Rodgers found his favorite target of the day, Romeo Doubs, in the corner of the end zone from 19 yards out. Doubs made an incredible catch to haul the ball in behind the cornerback’s back, twisting over his own back shoulder in the process as well. But the Bills made sure to stamp their authority on the game before the half ended, marching down the field in a matter of four minutes before punching the ball into the end zone to restore their two- score lead, when Isaiah McKenzie sat a defender on his backside with a juke before strolling into the end zone for six points. An extra point made the score 21-7. It was then a 24-7 game shortly after, as a Green Bay three-and-out led to a punt and the Bills rushing down the field once more to kick a field goal from 42 yards. They led by 17 at the half.
To Green Bay’s credit, they clearly made some adjustments in the second half, while continuing to stick to their strengths on the ground. Their first drive of the second half relied heavily on the run, game with multiple runs from Jones and Dillon of over ten yards. Unfortunately, the theme of missed opportunities rang true once again, and the drive ended with a Mason Crosby field goal from 38 yards after the Packers failed to convert on third down deep into Bills Territory.
However, this was essentially made irrelevant within a few minutes as Allen and the Bills went back to work. The Packers did seem to make some adjustments defensively as I mentioned, and they were able to limit the Bills’ aerial game. The issue, however, lay in the fact that the Bills and Josh Allen specifically are so multifaceted that even in the face of improved passing defense, they were still able to find enough success to score. Allen did a lot of work on the ground himself in the third quarter, running to multiple first downs himself on the Bills’ first drive of the third quarter to get them into field goal range. Ironically enough, Buffalo would go on to kick a 38-yarder as well, restoring the lead to 17 points.
More heavy running got the Packers within the Bills’ 30 early in the fourth quarter, but they once again failed to take advantage of great field position. They attempted to convert on fourth and 1, but Jones came up well short as the Bills defense swarmed the backfield and stopped the Packers running back behind the line of scrimmage. Luck seemed to be back on their side a moment later though, when Allen uncharacteristically threw an interception over the middle, handing the visitors another chance to score. But on the very next play, Aaron Rodgers seemingly decided that was too easy and threw a pick himself, as a batted pass fell right into the hands of Linebacker Matt Milano. And then, to cap off a comedy of errors, the Bills drove to within 20 yards of the end zone only for Allen to throw a second interception to Rasul Douglas of the Packers, leaving the door open with almost nine minutes to play.
Rodgers, satisfied to let Allen be generous this time, then led the team down the field in what looked to be the beginning of an incredible comeback. Samori Toure caught his first pass of the night to score a 37-yard touchdown, before the Packers’ defense came up with a stop to leave them down by 10 with a little over two and a half minutes on the clock. And yet, despite getting to within 25 yards of the end zone, Green Bay came up empty- handed once again. A second defensive stop didn’t lead to anything more, as Rodgers and the Packers offense let their defense down, failing to score on any of their final four drives of the game. The game finished 27-17 to Buffalo, with the Packers’ fanbase now reeling.