3 Big Things from the Green Bay Packers 4th consecutive loss

Packers Aaron Rogers escapes pressure by Bills A.J. Epenesa.
Packers Aaron Rogers escapes pressure by Bills A.J. Epenesa. /

The Green Bay Packers have now lost four in a row and sit at 3-5 on the season following a 27 to 17 loss to Buffalo on Sunday Night. For the most part, this game played out as expected. The Packers struggled to move the ball and, when they did, often failed to turn it into points. The defense, meanwhile, was exposed by a top offense, and overall, there were too many mistakes to overcome.

Now having rewatched this matchup, if you’re up for it, I have my 3 Big Things from the Green Bay Packers’ performance.

The Packers find success on the ground but still need passing game to be truly effective

Finding the right balance has been an issue for the Packers for much of the season, with Green Bay oftentimes leaning too heavily on an ineffective passing game while going away from their playmakers on the ground.

For this offense to be at its best, the run game has to be more involved than in years past. So some good news was that we saw the Packers stick with the run game against Buffalo, despite trailing for the entire game and by multiple scores for most of it.

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 30 carries and totaled 197 yards. As a team, Green Bay averaged 6.7 yards per rush, with several going for 10 or more yards. Running the ball against this Bills defense that primarily rushes just four and plays with light boxes was always going to be Green Bay’s best chance at moving the ball–not to mention that it allowed them to control the time of possession. So it was encouraging to see the Packers stick with it when on many previous occasions, they would abandon it once trailing.

On the flip side, the Packers scored just 10 points for much of the game while leaning heavily on the run game. One of the major issues for this offense is that they don’t have that big play ability in the passing game and consistently putting together 13-plus play-scoring drives isn’t realistic–especailly behind a shaky offensive line that has experienced a lot of movement this season.

We saw a few of those big plays from the Packers’ rookie wide receivers, including a pair of touchdowns from Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure. There have been growing pains with the young pass catchers, and there will continue to be, but at some point, Green Bay needs them involved regularly if this offense is truly going to turn things around. All three rookies provide that missing big-play element to this team.

With opponent’s not concerned about the Green Bay passing game — or at least their ability to push the ball downfield — teams sit in a 2-high shell and condense the field, making things even more challenging for an offense that leans on quick passes, YAC, and the run game.

It’s a fine balancing act for the Packers because their margin for error is so small, but they have to strike a better run-pass mix—which is easier said than done. Jones and Dillon need their share of touches, but trying to win games in the same fashion that we saw against Buffalo isn’t sustainable either.

Knowing when and how to mix in those downfield opportunities is going to be a must—and if we are looking for a silver lining, it looked like the Packers began to find some resemblance of that balance towards the end of the game.

Blame Joe Barry, but blame the players too

It had felt like the Green Bay Packers defense has been making strides the last two weeks, both in coaching and with their play on the field. But when going up against one of the NFL’s best offenses, this group was exposed, allowing five straight scoring drives at one point.

Joe Barry again made the questionable decision of not having Jaire Alexander on the opponent’s top receiver. Instead, he primarily lined up against Gabe Davis, and didn’t allow a reception while also coming away with an interception. However, this often left Rasul Douglas to cover Stefon Diggs in the slot, and he gave the Packer cornerback fits, totaling six catches for 108 yards with a touchdown.

This is also a Bills team that hasn’t been great on the ground this season, but against a porous Packers run defense that was understandably concerned about the pass, Buffalo averaged 5.7 yards per rush, with Josh Allen extending several plays with his legs.

Understandably so, Barry is likely going to be heavily criticized for his unit’s performance, but once again, the players have to better as well. Missed tackles were again a major issue, with Darnell Savage once again being a repeat offender. Quay Walker was ejected after his emotions got the best of him, and Eric Stokes was also benched at one point as well.

When Green Bay was able to pressure Allen, there were too many running lanes for him to escape through, the linebacker and safety play this season has been subpar overall, while the interior defensive line — outside of Kenny Clark — continues to make little impact and struggle with run fits.

The Packers have a ton of both draft capital and cap space sunk into a defensive side of the ball that was supposed to help carry this team to victory this season by being one of the best units in football. Barry’s inability to adjust in-game has led to many issues, but the players aren’t carrying their end of the bargain either—and that, to a degree, falls on Brian Gutekunst.

Penalties becoming a major concern as undisciplined football continues

The little things have been giving the Packers fits all season long. This includes dropped passes, missed blocks, wrong routes, misalignments, inaccurate passes, and more. But recently, you can add penalties to that list as well.

Whether you agree with all of them or not, they happened, and in the end, that’s all that really matters. After being called for nine penalties a week ago in Washington, the Packers were again flagged eight times in Buffalo, totaling 58 yards.

Not that there is ever a good time for a penalty, but these flags also seem to come at very inopportune times, when Green Bay is either in between the 40-yard lines, the offense has a little momentum, or a third and manageable all of a sudden becomes a third and long. And it wasn’t just against Buffalo that this happened; after the game, Matt LaFleur mentioned that the timing of penalties have been costly all season long.

For starters, in previous seasons, we rarely didn’t see this many penalties in a game, but if we did, the Packers were good enough to overcome these errors. However, as I’ve already stated, they don’t have the ability to absorb those miscues in 2022. This offense needs things to be near perfect in order to be effective.

If this offense has any hopes of turning things around, it begins by being more disciplined and doing the little things correctly.