On this afternoon, against the Buffalo Bills, the Packers defense dominated for 60 minutes.
Seven sacks. Eleven quarterback hits. Three turnovers. Green Bay’s first shutout since October 2010.
It was a sterling effort for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s unit, which has been much maligned and struggled in the first 30 minutes of Green Bay’s previous three games.
The 22-0 victory improved the Packers record to 2-1-1, good for second place in the NFC North Division behind the surprising 3-1 Chicago Bears.
While the Packers defense reveled in the victory, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not pleased with his or that of the offensive unit’s.
Rodgers termed the overall performance Sunday as “championship defensive level and non-playoff team offensive level” and Rodgers, playing with a brace on his injured left knee, missed on several throws he typically makes and his receivers again dropped several catchable passes. He also alluded in his press conference to not being pleased with the game planning, specifically more play calls involving playmaker receivers Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham.
Rodgers completed 22 of 40 passes for 298 yards with one touchdown and one interception. By his high standards, an average performance.
As former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka said, “Aaron Rodgers on one leg is better than most NFL quarterbacks on two good ones.”
In a game that Rodgers and the offense struggled at times and failed to finish promising drives, Aaron Jones was a consistent and productive force in Mike McCarthy’s running back rotation with a 6.8-yard average every time he touched the ball.
Jones ran 11 times for 65 yards (5.9 average) and had one reception for 17 yards. But his importance to the Green Bay offense goes far beyond the 82 total yards with his speed and ability to break out against the defense on any touch.
The Packers rushed 32 times for 141 yards as a team with Rodgers gaining 31, Jamaal Williams 27, and Ty Montgomery 18. The offense never seemed to be in sync, but rolled up 423 net yards compared to Buffalo’s 145.
Kicker Mason Crosby salvaged field goals from several stalled Packers drives, including a key 52-yarder that gave Green Bay a commanding 16-0 cushion heading into intermission.
The veteran provided all the team’s scoring in the second half on three field goals, culminating with another 52-yarder to account for the 22-0 final score with 1:55 remaining. Crosby’s only blemish was a missed PAT after the Packers’ first touchdown in the opening quarter.
The Packers defense harassed and pressured rookie quarterback Josh Allen all afternoon. After leading the Bills to a shocking blow-out of the Vikings in Minnesota, 27-6, a week earlier, Allen finished 16 of 33 for 151 yards and two interceptions.
Linebacker Kyler Fackrell had a career day with three sacks and four total tackles in a game the defense held Allen and the Buffalo offense to just 11 first downs.
Fackrell played a solid overall game and recorded his three sacks for 24 yards in losses in the fourth quarter, including nailing Allen twice in the same series in the final two minutes.