Ultimate Packers Game Review

It's the (obvious) Play of the Game, Player of Game and 15 storytelling numbers that tell the tale of Sunday's 21-13 upset loss at Buffalo.

Packer Report reviews the Green Bay Packers’ 21-13 loss at Buffalo on Sunday.

Play of the Game

There were 131 snaps from scrimmage. That’s a fairly typical number. It’s not often one of those plays might have been the difference between winning and losing.

On the second-to-last play of the third quarter, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson were about to connect for one of their signature big plays.

On second-and-6 from their 6-yard line, Rodgers lined up in the shotgun. Running back Eddie Lacy was just to Rodgers’ right, with Nelson lined up wide to the right against veteran corner Corey Graham, Richard Rodgers as the tight end to the right, Randall Cobb in the left slot and Davante Adams lined up wide left.

Nelson used a double move to break 5 yards clear of Graham. Rodgers didn’t throw many perfect balls in this game but this was one of them. It hit Nelson right in stride at the 34-yard line. Safety Duke Williams was the only defender with a prayer of catching Nelson. Given how rarely Nelson gets caught from behind — he leads the NFL in touchdown receptions of 60-plus yards this season — there’s a good chance this would have been a 94-yard touchdown and a 17-16 lead. Instead, Nelson dropped it. Nine plays later, Rodgers threw his second interception of the game, which Buffalo turned into a field goal to extend their lead to 19-10.

Player of the Game

Bacarri Rambo might have had the interceptions but it was Stephon Gilmore who had one of the best games of his career.

The 6-foot Gilmore, the No. 10 pick of the 2012 draft, was superb on the outside and played a big role in the Bills limiting Nelson (five catches for 55 yards), Davante Adams (one catch, 6 yards) and Jarrett Boykin (no catches) to a combined six catches for 61 yards in 17 targeted passes. His only tackle on a passing play came on a 6-yard completion to Nelson. Not bad for a player who, according to ProFootballFocus.com, had allowed 70.7 percent completions and a 104.0 rating this season.

Gazing into the Crystal Ball

The Packers have gone from in contention for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs to possibly needing to win their final two games just to make the playoffs. After losing to Buffalo, Green Bay has fallen to the No. 6 seed in the NFC. The standings: No. 1 Arizona (11-3, first place, NFC West), No. 2 Detroit (10-4, first place, NFC North), No. 3 Dallas (10-4, first place, NFC East), No. 4 Carolina (5-8-1 but leading the NFC South), No. 5 Seattle (10-4) and No. 6 Green Bay (10-4 but lost to Seattle). Philadelphia (9-5) is in seventh place and in deep trouble being a game behind the Seahawks and Packers and having lost to both of them. If the Packers win at Tampa Bay and at home vs. Detroit, they’d wind up 12-4. They would get them to No. 2, because they’d have a better conference record than the Cowboys (and vault over Detroit). Obviously, the Packers would love to get ahead of the Seahawks to avoid a potential NFC title game at Seattle. That makes next week’s game between the Seahawks and Cardinals in Arizona a huge one for the Packers.

Numbers Worth Noting

-minus-1: Green Bay’s turnover ratio, with two giveaways and one takeaway. The Packers are 9-29 under coach Mike McCarthy when losing the turnover battle, including 0-2 this season.

0: Touchdown passes allowed by the Bills over the last four games (Michael Vick, Brian Hoyer, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers were the starters).

1: Jordy Nelson (1,320 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns) and Randall Cobb (1,076 yards, 10 touchdowns) became the first receiving duo in franchise history with at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.

1: Sack allowed by the Packers against the NFL’s best pass rush. They’ve yielded seven in the last six games. The timing of Sunday’s was horrible, of course, with Mario Williams’ game-clinching sack-strip-safety.

4.40: Yards per attempt by Rodgers. He entered the game with a league-high 8.78 average.

5: Wins, in seven starts, for Kyle Orton against the Packers. He threw for 158 yards on Sunday. He’s thrown for 158 or less in five of his seven starts, with a 4-1 record in those games.

6: Kicks blocked against the Packers this season (two extra points, two field goals, two punts). Neither the Packers nor Elias keep stats for total blocks but it’s the most against the Packers since at least 1989.

6: Drops, unofficially, by the Packers. They entered the week tied for the ninth-fewest drops with 17, according to STATS. Nelson, who had two on Sunday, entered the day with only three.

6: Three-and-out series forced by the Packers out of 12 possessions (not including the last, when the Bills took a knee to run out the clock).

6.5: Yards per carry by Eddie Lacy. He had four runs of at least 12 yards, leading to the obvious question of why the Packers didn't give it to Lacy more often.

7: Interceptions by the Bills against opposing quarterbacks over the last four games (Vick, one; Hoyer, two; Manning, two; Rodgers, two).

13: Drives by the Packers, which were turned into 13 points. That’s 1.0 point per drive. Rodgers had led the Packers to 399 points in 122 possessions, an average of 3.27.

13: Points by the Packers, produced on 68 plays. That’s 0.19 points per play. Green Bay entered the game averaging a league-high 0.53 points per play.

34.3: Rodgers’ passer rating, which was the lowest of his career.

253: Yards allowed by the Packers, easily their best figure of the season (299 vs. Minnesota in Week 5) and their best since allowing 243 vs. Minnesota in Week 9 of last season).

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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