ORCHARD PARK, NY—The Bills rushed four and dropped seven. Sound familiar?
It's a defensive scheme that has caused the Packers some of their worst days on the offensive side of the ball. Don't rush, cover.
"The protection was great. There wasn't much rush. They were physical on the outside. Some bad throws, some missed opportunities," Aaron Rodgers said in assessing the Bills' defensive scheme and the Packers offense's response to it.
Attack defense apparently isn't the way you beat the Packers. You beat them by taking their receivers away, or at least that's what Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo did in beating the Packers this year.
"The Bills defense played their scheme. I thought the coverage … they were all over us. We just didn't make enough plays," Coach Mike McCarthy said.
Whatever it was, it forced Rodgers into one of the worst days of his career. The 13 points the Packers scored are the fewest since they managed only seven in a Week 3 loss in Detroit. In the three games against Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo, the Packers have scored a combined 36 points. By comparison, the Packers scored 42 points in the first half alone against the Vikings.
This is not something to be brushed aside. We're talking about the No. 1 scoring team in the league heading into Sunday's game against the Bills. The teams that can rush four, drop seven and play the Packers receivers tight would appear to be the Packers' Kryptonite.
"Rushing four and playing coverage with seven is better than rushing five and covering with six," McCarthy said.
The fix? Run the ball, which the Packers did effectively (Eddie Lacy rushed for 97 yards and the Packers for 158 total), and win the one-on-ones on the outside. The Packers didn't do the latter.
"It'll be interesting to see when we go back through," Rodgers said, hinting not so subtly that Bill Leavy's officiating crew allowed the Bills secondary to manhandle the Packers' receivers.
It's also important to note Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on the hands on a play that would've likely resulted in a 94-yard touchdown pass had Nelson not dropped the ball, and Rodgers failed to see a wide open Nelson later in the game.
"Jordy's wide open. They blew the coverage. I threw to the side. If I kick it out one more, Jordy's open for a touchdown," Rodgers said.
Here's the bottom line: What the Packers saw on Sunday, they're going to see again. They're going to see it in two weeks when they host the Lions in a game that'll likely decide the NFC North title, and the Packers will see it in the playoffs, should they have to play the Seahawks a second time this season.
"We set the standard pretty high. We threw some contested throws and didn't get any calls. It was a rough day for the offense," Rodgers said. COMPLETE GAME COVERAGE