Bills put together uninspiring performance but still beat Packers 27-17 on Sunday Night Football

Dawson Knox is an wildcard weekend NFL best bet
Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox (88) celebrates with wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Orchard Park. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

It was quite possibly the least inspiring performance they’ve had all season but the Buffalo Bills seemed to sleepwalk their way through a 27-17 win over the Packers on Sunday night. 

The Bills came into the game as the top seed in the AFC with a record of 5-1. They were coming off of a bye week and playing at home on Sunday Night Football with fans in the stands for the first time since 2007. It felt like a gigantic game and opportunity for the team. 

However, it almost felt like the team was still on its bye week. 

Buffalo came out flat, going three-and-out on their first drive and then watching Green Bay march down to the Buffalo 38-yard-line to set up a 4th-and-3. Perhaps anticipating the number of points they would need to pull off a victory over this Bills’ offense, the Packers decided to go for it and, ultimately, failed to convert. 

That was the closest to an upset the Packers would come on the night. 

The Bills scored touchdowns on all three of their next possessions – one each for Dawson Knox, Stefon Diggs, and Isaiah McKenzie – and the Bills built a 21-7 lead without much effort. They would go into the half with a commanding 24-7 lead, but the play on the field likely gave head coach Sean McDermott a fair bit to criticize. 

By the end of the game, McDermott would have even more to wring his hands over. 

It started on the defensive end, where the Bills held the Packers to 17 points but mostly because the Packers never really challenged Buffalo through the air. Every time they did – mostly with Romeo Doubs – Green Bay seemed to succeed, including a busted coverage 37-yard touchdown to Samori Toure with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter. 

Green Bay also decimated the Buffalo defense on the ground, rushing for 208 yards on 31 carries, at 6.7 yards per carry. Aaron Jones led the way, ripping off huge chunks of yardage all night long, finishing with 143 yards on 20 carries. It was a shockingly poor performance for a Buffalo defense that came into the night as the number-one-ranked run defense in the league. 

The rushing success kept the Packers’ offense on the field and the Bills’ offense on the sideline. It was the perfect strategy except the Packers couldn’t capitalize when they needed to. The Buffalo defense got two crucial fourth-down stops and held the Packers to a field goal on another trip, which kept Green Bay from putting up the number of points that should have matched the fact that they outgained Buffalo on the night with 398 total yards (Buffalo finished with 369). 

The long drives also seemed to make the Bills’ offense antsy. 

Josh Allen had lots of success in the first half, going 8-for-11 for 129 yards and two touchdowns. However, in the second half, the Bills quarterback almost seemed flustered by how little he was on the field, trying to do way too much when he finally got a chance to pass. It was reminiscent of the early years of Josh Allen, where he would keep plays alive only to make ill-advised throws. 

He finished 13-for-25 for 218 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Both of his interceptions came in the second half on poor throws where Allen tried to force something outside of the pocket. 

Then, with the ability to put the game away with 2:42 seconds left, Allen just overthrew a wide-open Jake Kumerow and gave the ball back to the Packers, albeit too late for the result of the game to be threatened. 

In addition to Allen’s struggles, Buffalo also seemed to forget how to run the ball as the game went on.

Although Devin Singletary started the game by gaining 50 yards on his first 40 carries, he began Buffalo’s last offensive drive with just 54 yards on 11 carries. He would finish the game with 67 yards on 14 carries.

The Bills did also get 35 yards on five carries from rookie James Cook, but it was not an ideal performance against a defense that ranks 25th in rushing yards allowed per attempt and 27th in yards allowed per game. 

To add insult to injury, Buffalo lost Jordan Poyer to an elbow injury in the fourth quarter. He’s been battling a similar injury for much of the year, and it’s unclear whether he was held out because Buffalo was up 17 at the time or because he seriously re-aggravated his injury. With Tre’Davious White likely coming back next week, the Bills would love to finally have a healthy secondary, so Poyer’s return is crucial to that. 

At the end of the day, Buffalo will be happy for the win, but outside of the three-possession stretch where they were able to rattle off those touchdowns, it almost seemed like they were never truly checked into the game. Against a better opponent, that’s the type of effort that could easily lead to a loss or an early elimination from the playoffs. 

But tonight it was enough. Even though Josh Allen admitted that the win was “gross,” it was still a win, and it puts Buffalo at 6-1 and keeps them in first place in the AFC. They’ll go on the road next week against the 5-3 Jets and hopefully bring a little more energy and conviction to the field. 

Given Allen’s history of using poor performance as fuel for improvement, it would seem likely to bet on a different Bills team showing up next week.  

For more Bills coverage, visit amNY Sports

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Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs away from Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Orchard Park. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)