GREEN BAY, Wis. – This time, the Buffalo Bills didn’t send any shock waves through the NFL. They didn't even do enough to generate a tiny ripple.
The Bills pretty much played the underdog role to perfection Sunday, with a feeble-looking, 22-0 loss against the heavily favored Green Bay Packers.
Seven days after that stunning upset of the Minnesota Vikings, the Bills hit the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field with a resounding thud.
In suffering their first shutout loss since Dec. 28, 2008 – 13-0 against New England – they reverted to the ugly form that got their season off to the 0-2 start that made it feel as if Bills fans were in for a long, painful year of rebuilding.
When Josh Allen wasn’t misfiring or throwing interceptions, and when LeSean McCoy and the rest of the running game weren’t going anywhere, the Bills were squandering the few opportunities they had to make something good happen – beginning with a defense that remarkably held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ explosive offense to a pair of touchdowns and three field goals.
The defense was far from great, especially with the way it gave up big run plays in the first half and occasions when it allowed Rodgers to too often find wide-open receivers. But it did force a pair of turnovers, an interception and fumble by Rodgers.
Nevertheless, the performance did little to refute the notion that the upset of the Vikings was a fluke, that the Bills caught the unfocused Vikings looking past them and at last Thursday night’s opponent, the Los Angeles Rams.
The Packers entered the game with Rodgers barely having practiced thanks to a sprained knee that caused him to wear a large brace. Neither the lack of on-field preparation nor the injury stopped Rodgers from looking like one of the greatest ever to play the position. He completed 22 of 40 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown.
It was quite a contrast to Allen, who looked nothing like he did in leading the Bills to their 27-6 victory against the Vikings.
This time, there was no jaw-dropping hurdle over a linebacker on the way to a first down. There was no sprinting toward the end zone and extending the ball over the pylon for a touchdown. There was no rolling out and firing a 55-yard completion on a broken play.
Mostly, there was Allen looking like the rookie he is, making only his third NFL start. He was way off target on a bunch of throws. He made poor decision after poor decision, leading to a pair of interceptions on top of a fumble while being pressured.
And there was horrible pocket awareness that, in addition to awful pass protection, played a factor in his being sacked seven times. Allen finished 15-for-33 for 151 yards and a passer rating of 36.3.
Take away the garbage-time completions he made to Zay Jones, and Allen’s numbers wouldn’t have been even that respectable.
Perhaps this game was more reflective of what the “real” 2018 Bills are all about.