Week 9: Bills Beat Packers 24-10
Bills force four turnovers to pull out the victory.
by Steve Saslow
Dick Jauron has said it time and time again, stats don't matter besides turnovers and the final score. Those were the only two stats in the Bills favor as they defeated Brett Favre and the Packers 24-10 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Packers dominated the stat sheet holding the ball for almost 10 minutes more than the Bills and out gaining the Bills a whopping 427 yards to 184 for Buffalo's anemic offense. The one place they didn't dominate was the turnover battle as the Bills did a good job of ball security and the veteran Favre did not. He threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles on bad snaps from the center and that was the difference in getting the Bills their first win in over a month.
Things started off very well for the Bills as Terrence McGee returned the opening kickoff 61 yards to setup a 28 yard field goal by Rian Lindell. Willis McGahee almost had a touchdown on the drive but was stopped on a shoestring tackle. Two plays later he would be stopped for a loss on third and one and injured his ribs in the process. He did not return.
This game was won by big plays at the right time, especially on defense. The Bills came out surprisingly in a 3-4 defense on some plays and seemed to catch the Packers off guard. It worked to their advantage when Favre forced a pass over the middle that was picked off by London Fletcher and returned 17 yards for a touchdown to give the Bills a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.
That score would hold up until halftime thanks to the two botches snaps. The first one was recovered by Larry Tripplett near midfield and the second one was recovered by Aaron Schobel. It ended a Green Bay scoring threat at the Bills five yard line just before halftime.
The Packers continued their dominance statistically in the second half but held on to the ball better and mounted a comeback. A 10 play, 65 yard drive ended in a one yard touchdown pass to Donald Drive to make the score 10-7. The Packers would tie the score at 10 early in the fourth quarter on a 49 yard field goal.
Green Bay had all the momentum and appeared like they would win the game that they dominated but the Bills offense finally made a big play. A Roscoe Parrish 17 yard punt return set the Bills up in Green Bay territory and J.P. Losman found a wide open Lee Evans for a 43 yard touchdown pass. He beat Al Harris cleanly and had to wait for the under thrown ball to come down but still had time to trot into the end zone. Evans and Harris battled it out one on one all day with Harris having the upper hand except for the touchdown and another play when Evans got open deep but a Losman under thrown ball was knocked away.
The Packers were undaunted by the play and Favre continued to move the football as the Packers started getting big chunks of yardage on the ground late in the game. They marched right down the field after the Bills took the lead and had a first and goal from the one when a Favre quick snap failed. He was using the quick snap successfully all game but this time his pass was deflected by Nate Clements and picked off by Ko Simpson who rumbled 76 yards to the Packers 27 yard line.
It was just the last of many big plays by the defense as it kept the Packers from tying the game and set the Bills up to put the game away. Anthony Thomas would carry it three straight plays including the final 14 for the clinching score. Watching his run it was interesting that he was able to break a tackle and get in the end zone but on a very similar play in the first quarter McGahee was stopped. If McGahee would have scored on the opening series he wouldn't have been injured two plays later.
For a change the Bills won a game that they were dominated statistically. It wasn't very pretty as the offense has more questions now then ever. The bottom line is they were able to finish a game that was tied and not going their way in the fourth quarter. Questions remain but for one day Bills fans can smile about a win. Savor it since the Colts are on the horizon.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Packers: