The Green Bay Packers woes continued Sunday night at Buffalo, but by the time it ended, perhaps the game was a little closer than some NFL fans originally thought it would be.
Starting slow, the game looked like it could have been a blowout early, with Buffalo jumping out to a 24-7 halftime lead.
In the first half, Bills quarterback and first half MVP candidate Josh Allen was an efficient 8-11 for 129 yards and two touchdowns (151.1 RT).
Going into the game, Green Bay was down receivers Randall Cobb and Allan Lazard. But with Christian Watson cleared to play, the hope was he could have a big game. Instead, Watson suffered a concussion on the Packers eighth play of the game and was ruled out for the rest of the evening. He will now be entered into the NFL’s concussion protocol, putting his status in the air for next week’s game at Detroit.
The second half saw an opportunistic defense pick off Allen twice, with Rasul Douglas and Jaire Alexander registering interceptions. Before the game, Alexander and Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs exited the tunnel face to face, jawing at each other in scenes captured by reporters on social media.
Diggs did more of his damage in the first half, catching 4 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. But he was largely shut down after the intermission, catching just two more passes for 13 yards.
As for Allen, after a stellar first half, he went just 5-14 for 89 yards and two interceptions over the final 30 minutes.
As Buffalo struggled with their top playmakers in the second half, Green Bay may have found their footing with some of their youngest players.
Rookie draft picks Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure each had impressive touchdown receptions. Doubs four catches for 62 yards led all Green Bay receivers, who have drawn the ire of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who lamented continued mistakes and mental errors in the week leading up to Sunday night’s game, intimating without explicitly saying that his young receivers were at least a part of the problem.
Rodgers (19-30, 203 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT, 91.4 RT) spread the ball out to nine different Packers players, with six of them registering just one reception.
Another highlight was the hard running of six-year pro Aaron Jones. Jones gained 143 yards on 20 carries (7.2 avg.) including a 32-yard rush to begin the second half.
One low moment in the game came during the second quarter when Packers rookie linebacker Quay Walker shoved a member of the Bills coaching staff after pushing Buffalo’s James Cook out of bounds.
Flagged originally for a simple unsportsmanlike conduct, a further review of the play resulted in Walker being ejected from the game.
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur told reporters after the game. “I could not see it. But like I told him on the field, it’s always the second guy who gets caught.”
"Right away, as soon as I did that, I regretted that I did that,” Walker said briefly after the game before walking away. “But it's something I'm gonna have to live with and I'm gonna have to face. I'm willing to do so."
The Packers (3-5) travel to NFC North foe Detroit (1-6) this coming Sunday. The game will kick off at noon, with network coverage beginning at 10:00 AM on flagship station 97.3 The Game.