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Big second half gives Pack win over Bills

Posted Sep 19, 2010

The second half on Sunday got off to a bad start as a Bills turnover at the Buffalo 39 quickly turned a six-point halftime deficit into 13 and Buffalo never recovered en route to a 34-7 defeat to the Packers at Lambeau Field.

“We were in the ball game at halftime and couldn’t finish,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “We turned it over the very first drive of the second half and those kind of things kill you in a game like this, against a team like this.”

The Bills got the first possession of the second half, but on a 3rd-and-8 at their own 39, Trent Edwards was blitzed by a pair of unblocked Packers on his left. He threw a hot route pass to Steve Johnson over the middle underneath, but the pass went off Johnson’s hands and was intercepted by Brandon Chillar, who returned it to the line of scrimmage.

“Those are the plays that happen on Sunday,” said Steve Johnson. “Sometimes you connect and sometimes you don’t. Unfortunately we didn’t connect on that play and it ended up bad for us.”

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense quickly cashed in on the turnover. After Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for a 17-yard pickup and Jordy Nelson for 11 yards on consecutive plays, Green Bay was set up for first-and-goal at the Bills eight-yard line.

Three plays later, Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a seven-yard touchdown reception and a 20-7 lead.

After Buffalo’s offense went three-and-out for the third time in the game, Green Bay’s offense put together another efficient drive marching 64 yards on just seven plays. Rodgers went 4-4 passing on the drive for 52 yards and then capped the drive himself with a nine-yard scramble for a touchdown and a 27-7 Packers lead with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.

From there Green Bay piled it on. Buffalo was moving the football early in the fourth quarter, but on a 2nd-and-10 play from the Packers 41 a pass from Trent Edwards to Roscoe Parrish was wrestled away from Parrish by Morgan Burnett for an interception.

Green Bay’s offense again turned a takeaway into points. Rodgers and company quickly orchestrated a five-play 52-yard drive capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to James Jones to put the game away 34-7 with more than 12 minutes remaining. 

“Our job as a defense is to stop them from scoring,” said Keith Ellison. “We had many opportunities on third down. We had a couple of long third downs that they converted on. We had chances to get off the field.”

On offense it was another troubling day where success was limited. Buffalo converted just four of their 12 third down situations (33%) and produced just 186 total net yards. Only three of their 10 possessions in the game lasted more than five plays.

“It’s kind of similar to what we went through last week,” said Edwards. “We got in a situation where we weren’t running what we wanted to run. We weren’t getting in rhythm. We weren’t converting third downs. We weren’t getting first downs and we were putting our defense in some tough spots.”

Edwards was under duress the entire day as he was sacked four times and hurried on several other pass attempts. He finished the game 11-18 for 102 yards and the two aforementioned interceptions. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews had three sacks in the game.

“I saw him a lot and I know Kevin Kolb saw a lot of him last week,” said Edwards. “He’s a great football player. He’s a guy that gives 100 percent for 60 minutes and that’s a defensive player who’s really good. I saw a lot of him today unfortunately, but we’re going to face that again in the future. We’re going to find guys like that that are good pass rushers, good linebackers that are coming off the edge and we’ve got to be able to handle that.”

“We tried to keep somebody around him a lot of the day,” said Gailey of Matthews. “We couldn’t every snap. He came free too many times obviously. He’s a good player, but we tried to keep the extra guy over there as much as we could, but it didn’t work out. He’s a great player.”

Green Bay jumped out to an early 13-0 lead as they put up points on their first three possessions. Buffalo’s defense forced the Packers to settle for a pair of red zone field goals getting third down stops, but Green Bay finally punched one in late in the first quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by Brandon Jackson on a third-and-goal at the one.

It took Buffalo’s offense a quarter to get things in gear, but their run game did not let them down. Marshawn Lynch got the start in the Bills backfield and Buffalo made use of him heavily on their first scoring drive. Lynch ran five times for 36 yards on Buffalo’s eight-play 80-yard scoring drive, which was capped by Fred Jackson’s three-yard touchdown to cut a 13-point deficit in half (13-7) early in the second quarter.

“When we do run the ball like that, that’s what we want,” said Edwards. “We want to run the play action off that. You saw the Packers do that. They established the run and they were able to sit back and throw the ball wherever they want. Some of that we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get there. We’re trying to get C.J., Fred and Marshawn going and that’ll set up a lot of other things. When you can’t do that, it’s tough.”

Buffalo’s offense tried to move into Green Bay territory late in the first half, but the drive stalled near midfield with under a minute to go leaving the score 13-7 Green Bay at the half. And the second half went the wrong way quickly after the early turnover.

“There’s really not a whole lot to say,” said Lee Evans, who finished without a catch. “Offensively we did some good things at times. We were able to move the ball a little bit and got down in the red zone and put some points on the board. Inopportune turnovers killed us and that was the story of the game. We were playing from behind the whole game.”

Gailey promises to come up with solutions to the offensive problems, but admits it could take some time.

“I don’t know that I have the answers right now,” said Gailey. “It’s probably taking longer than I had hoped that it would, but we’re going to find the answers to whatever it is and make whatever adjustments need to be made. That’s my job. It’s to get it fixed.”

With the loss the Bills fell to 0-2 on the season. They travel to New England next week to face the Patriots in Foxborough for a 1 pm kickoff.

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