Monday Bills Musings: Rodgers' Long Day

Aaron Rodgers is a legitimate MVP candidate, but the Buffalo Bills didn't make him look like one on Sunday.

Long Day for Aaron Rodgers

Leading up to the game, Aaron Rodgers was asked about Green Bay being 0-5 in Buffalo. His response?

“Not concerned about it. It’ll be great to be a part of first win in Buffalo, I guess.”

The Buffalo Bills probably didn’t use this quote as bulletin board material, but Rodgers may have overlooked the Bills defense. How bad was Rodgers on Sunday?

His completion rate of 40.5 percent was the lowest of his career. Rodgers’ passer rating of 34.3 was the lowest of his career. Oh, and his 4.4 yards per attempt? You guessed it, the worst of his career.

The game also lowered Rodgers’ passer rating on the season from a 119 to a 111.2.

Buffalo’s defense is having a season for the ages. Leading up to the game, Albert Breer shared this bit of information:  The Bills are the only team in the NFL to rank in the Top 10 in all 10 major defensive statistical categories. On Sunday, Buffalo proved their defense can hang with the best of the best. Rodgers surely won’t forget his performance anytime soon.

Special Teams Saves the Day

Leading up to the game, I said that the Bills couldn’t beat the Packers with 4-5 field goals. They’d need touchdowns. It turns out that five field goals would have actually been enough to win on Sunday and Dan Carpenter came very close to that amount. Carpenter went 4-for-4 on Sunday on kicks of 27, 51, 35, and 48 yards. He’s as close to automatic as you can get in the NFL. Carpenter wasn’t the only special teams standout on Sunday.

Marcus Thigpen was claimed by the Bills at the end of November to handle return duties. On Sunday, he gave the Bills a spark and their only touchdown of the game. Towards the end of the first quarter, the Packers punted to Thigpen. He responded by taking the kick 75 yards for the touchdown. Thigpen and Carpenter accounted for 19 of Buffalo’s 21 points on Sunday.

Buffalo’s special teams deserves plenty of credit for their victory over the Packers.

Random Musings

 -The Bills need an upgrade at quarterback. Kyle Orton’s play has fallen off and the team’s lack of confidence in E.J. Manuel is very telling. With a decent quarterback, the Bills are a playoff team. Buffalo’s front office needs to call around this off-season and see if any upgrades are available via trade. It’s a shame that this year’s team is unlikely to make the playoffs. The offense is holding the team back and on the field, that starts with the quarterback.

-Another offensive change the Bills need to make? Offensive coordinator. Nathaniel Hackett just isn’t doing enough with the weapons around him. Look no further than Sammy Watkins. The rookie receiver should have the ball in his hands early and often, but the Bills aren’t showing any creative ways of doing this. In college, Watkins made a living off of screen passes. Buffalo hasn’t tried to get him very involved in the screen game for the most part. Besides Watkins, Buffalo’s offense just seems to sputter out when they get near the end zone. Doug Marrone needs to realistically consider replacing Hackett.

-Buffalo has some free agents of their own to worry about, but if there’s one position they need to upgrade in free agency, it’s offensive guard. Kraig Urbik has been an upgrade, but he isn’t a long term solution. Erik Pears is another player the Bills need to replace. With money to spend, it’s important that the Bills bring in a big name guard.

-Buffalo’s cornerbacks have impressed the last two weeks. Stephon Gilmore has had the best season of his career and Corey Graham has been worth every penny they paid him. This is one spot where you always want to add talent and depth, but the Bills look like they’re in great shape.

-C.J. Spiller will be activated to the team’s 53-man roster in the near future. This is a two-game audition of sorts for Spiller. The back is likely heading to free agency, unless he picks up his player option for 2015. If Spiller performs well and helps the Bills win, he’ll also be helping himself going forward. 

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