Bills shock Packers in giant victory

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Final Score: **Bills 21 – Packers 13

Location:  Orchard Park, NY – Ralph Wilson Stadium

W-L records: Buffalo (8-6); Green Bay (10-4)

In a Nutshell:

Facing the highest scoring team in the NFL, and a team with the best turnover margin in the league, Buffalo's defense held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 10 points through three and a half quarters. Special teams added a 75-yard punt return for a score and a quartet of field goals from Dan Carpenter to lift the Bills to a surprising 21-13 win over Green Bay. 

Though Buffalo's offense was unable to finish a drive with a touchdown on the day, their defense and special teams provided good field position for most of the day. Kyle Orton and company made just enough plays to move into field goal range on four of their first 11 possessions.

Carpenter hit two of his longest in the second half from 48 and 51 yards to break a 10-10 halftime tie and push the Bills lead to nine with nine minutes left in the game (19-10).

With Buffalo protecting a 19-13 lead with two minutes remaining they got a safety on a strip sack by Mario Williams. The ball was recovered by Eddie Lacy, but Nickell Robey and Nigel Bradham brought him down in the end zone for the two-point play for the final points of the game (21-13).

The win lifted the Bills record to 8-6 and kept them alive for another week in the jumbled AFC playoff race.

How it went down:
--The Packers got on the board first, but had to settle for a field goal after a key pass breakup by Stephon Gilmore on a pass intended for Jordy Nelson. Mason Crosby hit from 45 yards away with 4:27 left in the first quarter.

--Buffalo's special teams would put the first points on the board for the Bills, with Marcus Thigpen returning a punt 75 yards for a touchdown to put them ahead 7-3 just two minutes later.

--On the ensuing possession the Packers put together their first touchdown drive of the game. Green Bay's 80-yard drive came mostly on the back of Eddie Lacy, who had 58 of those yards on the ground including the one-yard run for the score early in the second quarter to re-take the lead for the Pack (10-7).

--The Bills answered with a field goal as Dan Carpenter hit from 27 yards out to tie the score midway through the second quarter to finish off a 10-play 71-yard drive.

--Buffalo then took their second lead of the game early in the second half when Dan Carpenter put a 51-yard field goal attempt between the uprights for a 13-10 lead with 9:21 left in the third.

--Dan Carpenter stepped forward again late in the third quarter after a Bryce Brown catch and run that covered 40 yards brought Buffalo into field goal range. The Bills kicker was true from 35 yards out to push Buffalo's lead to six (16-10) at the 4:18 mark of the third quarter.

--Following Baccari Rambo's second interception in as many Green Bay possessions the Bills tacked on another Carpenter field goal from 48 yards out to make it a two score game with nine minutes remaining (19-10).

--Green Bay cut the lead to six on a 34-yard field goal by Mason Crosby with just under five minutes remaining.

--Buffalo got their final two points when Eddie Lacy was tackled in the end zone by Nigel Bradham and Nickell Robey for a safety following a strip sack by Mario Williams on Aaron Rodgers with less than two minutes remaining.

Quotes from the locker room
"Obviously, they played at a very high level. We were able to go in and, early on, we took away some of the stop-nines they were trying to run and get them to the second read. I knew earlier in the week that we were going to play some coverage, two-man and things like that. They hurt us on some of the runs early on because we had to stop them with seven in the box. They did a good job of cutting us off, but overall guys stepped up."
--HC Doug Marrone on the defensive play

"I knew we needed a spark. Once he kicked the ball, it fell kind of short and I saw our guys have some great blocks, I saw a big hole on the left side of the field. I just took it and ran for it."
--PR Marcus Thigpen on his touchdown return

"This was a statement game for us. We can't lose, we've got to win out.  Every game we play from here on out has to be a statement game."
--WR Sammy Watkins 

Stat lines

--Kyle Orton was 14-27 passing for 158 yards and an interception.

--Dan Carpenter was 4-4 on field goal attempts including a 48 and 51 yarder.

--Sammy Watkins became the Bills' all-time rookie receiving leader eclipsing the previous yardage record held by Lee Evans (843 yards, 2004). Watkins broke the team record for rookie receptions in Denver the week prior.

--Fellow rookie Preston Brown recorded his 100th tackle of the season in the game, marking the first time in team history the Bills have had rookies post 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons (Kiko Alonso, 159 - 2013).

--Buffalo won the takeaway battle (2-1) against the team that had the best turnover margin in football in the Packers, who entered the game a plus-16. The Bills entered the game a plus-9.

Subplots:
--Mario Williams blocked a 53-yard field goal attempt by Green Bay with six minutes left in the second quarter. It was the first blocked field goal by the Bills since Alex Carrington on Dec. 30, 2012.

--Buffalo's defense held Aaron Rodgers to 8-24 passing in the first half for just 70 yards. His passer rating of 42.4 in the first half was the lowest this season. His passer rating for the game was 34.3.

--Duke Williams left the game in the third quarter with concussion-like symptoms and did not return.

--Baccari Rambo, Williams' replacement at safety made his first career interception late in the third quarter. It was also the first interception thrown by Aaron Rodgers in six games. Rambo then made a second interception off a tipped pass with 11 minutes left in the game.

--The Bills went a perfect 4-0 against the NFC North this season.

Inactives:
S Da'Norris Searcy, FB Frank Summers, LB Randell Johnson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, TE Chris Gragg, DE Jarius Wynn.

Up Next:
The Bills will begin a two-game road trip to end the regular season in Oakland against the Raiders for a 4:25 pm kickoff.

Photos of the Week 15 matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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