Bills whip Packers, 27-7

Green Bay's special teams gives up big plays

Green Bay's special teams gave up a handful of big returns to the Bills, including two that led to first-half touchdowns, as Buffalo went on to a 27-7 exhibition victory over the Packers Saturday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo.

The Bills (2-0 in the preseason) scored on three of four offensive possessions in the first half to take a 17-7 lead over the Packers. Buffalo began two drives inside of Green Bay's 30-yard line. The Packers had a safety and a turnover off of a punt wiped out by penalties in the second quarter.

"I knew this team was a good special teams team," Packers coach Mike Sherman said about the Bills, "probably one of the best in the National Football League last year, but there's no excuse for what we did on special teams. We put our defense in a number of bad positions." Brett Favre led the Packers 74 yards on 15 plays on the opening drive of the game and gave the Packers a 7-0 lead on his 12-yard touchdown pass to Ahman Green. Favre completed 4-of-6 passes for 41 yards in the drive before avoiding linebacker Jeff Posey after a botched bootleg play, and finding Green in the left corner of the end zone.

Favre was replaced by Aaron Rodgers with 3:02 remaining in the 1st quarter. Rodgers struggled in five series between the second and third quarters.

Green Bay's special teams coverage gave up two big returns in the first half, including a 69-yard return by ReShard Lee that set up quarterback J.P. Losman's 1-yard touchdown run that tied the score at 7-7.

"It was terrible," Sherman said about Green Bay's special teams. "We put our defense in a very difficult situation. We gave them the ball in the red zone twice. We can't do that ever, ever again. ... Our special teams have killed us. If you don't play well on special teams, you don't win."

In the second half, Bills backup return specialist Jim Leonhard had punt returns of 17 and 31 yards.

Playing the entire first half, Losman finished 7-of-14 for 59 yards, energized by a sellout crowd in his first home preseason game. He added 36 yards rushing.

Later in the second quarter, the Packers appeared to recover a fumble on a punt return by Drew Haddad. But the down had to be replayed because of a penalty on Packers linebacker Roy Manning. Haddad took the next kick 37 yards to the Packers' 21. Willis McGahee also scored on a 6-yard run.

Rian Lindell, who booted a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter, connected on a 54-yarder in the third quarter to give the Bills a 20-7 lead. Rodgers, who finished 4 of 9 for 21, threw an interception in his only attempt of the second half at the Packers' 29.

"It's certainly disappointing for him," Sherman said. "He did not execute the offense the way it needs to be executed. There's a couple of plays he needs to make that he didn't make. We'll look at the tape and show him the mistakes he made and go from there."

The Packers (1-1 in the preseason) played with more cohesion than in their 10-7 win against San Diego on Aug. 11. But they had difficulty generating offense after Favre needed only one series to show he's ready for the regular season.

Without Favre, the Packers managed a mere 108 yards of offense the rest of the game. In two exhibition games, Favre is 13-of-16 for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

"It was better than last week, so it's good to show some improvement," Favre said. "But we still have a long way to go."

Rodgers was replaced by Craig Nall in the third quarter. Nall completed 5 of 13 passes for 39 yards and was sacked three times. He often was forced to throw the ball away under pressure by the blitzing Bills defense.

Rookie Lionel Gates padded the score with a 14-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it 27-7.

The Bills had possession of the ball for more than 36 minutes compared to about 24 minutes for the Packers. The Bills finished with 280 yards of offense to 183 yards for the Packers.


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