Packers make life difficult for rookie QB in blanking Bills 22-0

Green Bay’s defense posts first shutout in eight years

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GREEN BAY – Through three weeks, the Packers' new defense had shown flashes of what it could be.

It came together a little more on Sunday at Lambeau Field as Green Bay posted its first shutout in eight years.

Green Bay sacked Buffalo rookie quarterback Josh Allen seven times, turned him over three times, and blanked the Bills 22-0 to improve to 2-1-1 at the season's quarter pole.

The Packers' last defensive shutout came on Halloween of 2010 on the road against the Jets. Their last shutout at Lambeau was the year prior against Detroit.

"A shutout is huge. It's what you're looking for," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "A good blue-collar win for us. It's definitely what we needed bouncing back from Washington."

Last week in the nation's capital, Green Bay's defense struggled mightily in the first half but buckled down in the second half. The reverse had been true in Week 2 vs. Minnesota. On Sunday, the unit put together its first four-quarter performance of 2018, allowing the Bills to cross the Green Bay 30-yard line just twice in 12 possessions.

Both of those drives ended in turnovers – an interception by rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander (who later exited with a groin injury), and a strip of Allen by defensive lineman Kenny Clark.

Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had the defense's other pick as Buffalo managed just 145 total yards and was only 3-of-16 on third downs. Allen's passer rating was a paltry 36.3 (16-of-33, 151 yards).

Third-year outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell had three of the seven sacks in the best game of his young career, and Buffalo's 145 total yards were the fewest allowed by Green Bay since Week 16 of 2014 (109 at Tampa Bay).

"The continuous pressure, and the ability to lock them down on the back end too, is so important," McCarthy said. "From an offensive perspective, when you're playing long down-and-distances like that, you're swimming uphill. It was tremendous keeping that pressure on all four quarters."

On offense, the Packers were productive on the field but not as much on the scoreboard as quarterback Aaron Rodgers would have liked. Tight end Jimmy Graham's first Packers touchdown and running back Aaron Jones' 3-yard TD run came in the game's first 19 minutes, but the Packers couldn't find the end zone again despite piling up 423 total yards.

Jones (11 carries, 65 yards), Jamaal Williams (11-27) and Ty Montgomery (5-18) combined for 110 yards on the ground and added a collective 73 yards receiving, highlighted by Montgomery's 43-yard catch-and-run on third down to set up Graham's early TD.

"I like the way all three guys are playing," McCarthy said of his running backs when asked about the added workload for Jones this week, his second game of the season after serving a two-game suspension. "Aaron is dynamic when he gets the ball no question. It's a long year. There's a lot of football to be played."

The Packers improved to 2-1-1 on the season with a 22-0 win over the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field

Davante Adams (eight catches, 81 yards) and Geronimo Allison (6-80) led the receivers, but Rodgers was disappointed the Packers didn't get more points on the board.

"I think a lot of people played really good, but there was no flow to the game," Rodgers said. "There was a little bit in the first half, but after that …"

Still, the Packers will certainly take the win after all the frustrations in Washington a week ago. At 2-1-1, the Packers are just behind 3-1 Chicago in the NFC North, with defending division champ Minnesota in third at 1-2-1.

"We have a lot more work to do," McCarthy said. "Today's game was reflective of that. We've got some building blocks in place and we have to continue to stack success off of that.

"We improved, and our defense was definitely the bell cow today."