The Pack dominated the Bills starters from the first series, when Bills
quarterback Trent Edwards threw an errant second down interception that was
returned by Brady Poppinga to the Bills 27.
After Keith Ellison made crunched running back Ryan Grant on that series
4th-and-1, the Bills continued their turnover woes in their own end. One of
the major questions going into Saturdays matchup was how the Bills
recently implemented no-huddle attack would fare against the Packers new
3-4 defense in perhaps a foreshadowing of future division matchups for the Bills.
If Saturday was any indication, the Bills wont have much success turning
around their winless division record of 2008. Edwards took two ugly sacks in
the Bills second series, the first coming courtesy of Brad Butler and
Eric Wood crumbling under Green Bays miniscule pressure. The second was
all Edwards fault, as he scrambled out of the pocket and, as Bills fans
were having flashbacks of Rob Johnson, failed to make a decision on where to
throw. Edwards was then hit from behind and A.J. Hawk recovered the fumble on
the Bills five-yard-line.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers needed just one play to hit Greg Jennings
on a quick play-action slant, with Leodis McKelvin one costly step behind and
the pack up 14-0 before eight minutes had passed.
Edwards, who finished 7 for 11 for 45 yards and one interception, showed some
promise with a first down completion to tight end Derek Schouman until he threw
behind Josh Reed on what would have been a wide-open first down.
That set the stage for Aaron Rodgers to go to work. The fifth-year signal caller
hit Jermichael Finley on 18- and 21-yard completions to set up Ryan Grants
three-yard scamper on the famed Packer sweep.
The Bills can only hope Aaron Maybin brings more stability to the ends of the
Bills defense, because they were noticeably absent both on the sweep and
all night. While the Bills line was busy getting knocked over, Rodgers
enjoyed ample time to pick apart the Bills secondary for 98 yards and
two touchdowns on eight completions. The Bills managed just one sack on the
night, courtesy of Copeland Bryan.
If fans thought the Bills were falling into their old habits of 2008, their
fears were confirmed when the sure sign of a sloppy team emergedturnovers.
The Bills handed the Pack the ball to the Pack four times in the first half
and five times on the night, one each on Edwards and Fitzpatricks
INTs, Edwards fumble, a Fred Jackson tackled-from-behind botch.
By the time the first half ended with Green Bay up 24-0, the game had all but
been decided, but the Bills second and third platoons made a valiant effort,
with points by Jonathan Stupar, Xavier Omon, Bruce Hall and Rian Lindell.
While the 31-21 outcome was a disappointing one for the Bills, some positives
remained. Among them:
The Bills didnt abandon the no-huddle. Critics no doubt wondered how
long the Bills would stick with the new offense, especially when things turned
for the worse. Buffalo at times managed a quasi-huddle in the first half and
tended to pause for a few seconds before snapping the ball early on, something
that might have given the Green Bay defense a split second to set up. But as
the game wore on, and as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Gibran Hamdan (and the Packs
reserves) entered the game, the Bills offense managed just as many first
downs for the game (22) as the Packers. The Bills also outgained the cheeseheads
363-292 total net yards. All that without a single huddle.
Dom Terrific. Free agent Pickup Dominic Rhodes, who last week got in a scuffle
with defensive end Chris Kelsay, brought some of his scrappiness to the field
Saturday, leading all Bills running backs with 39 yards on six carries, including
a 19-yard scamper.
Its the preseason. You know things werent great when this fact
is used as a positive reminder. But its true. While the Bills starters
didnt look so hot in a quarter plus, NFL games arent played in 20
minutes. So it will be interesting to see this team take the field for its first
full regular season game Sept. 14. But until then, Buffalo better get rolling,
because getting down early to the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football