Sunday, September 19, 2010

Buffalo Rolls

Sunday Special: Trent Edwards Buffalo Rolls

Mmmmm.... wings.  Or more like rolls -- as in rolling the Buffaloes.  The first half wasn't quite the beat down we all expected, but three touchdowns in the second half was exactly the smorgasbord the Lambeau home field crowd was craving, with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side.

There's one Buffalo Roll for each of Clay Matthews' sacks.  That guy is a certifiable beast.  The player my youngest son still refers to as "the Rookie Matthews" is on pace for a 48-sack season -- double the current single-season record of 22.5 logged by the Giants' Michael Strahan in a gimme sack allowed by our very own Brett Favre back in 2001.

Obviously Bills Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris didn't study enough game film in preparation for this week, because leaving Matthews un-blocked, as his unit did several times Sunday, is a recipe for getting your quarterback's head ripped off.  Given Trent Edwards' performance, it's possible the Buffalo coaches hoped Matthews would do what he did to Kevin Kolb last week.  You can bet your ass D'Alessandris knows who #52 is now -- as does every other offensive coach the Packers will face this season.  Buffalo team doctors reported after the game that D'Alessandris may require season-ending plastic surgery to remove this expression of shock and awe off his face after Matthews recorded his third sack today.  Facing unrelenting pressure, Edwards passed for only 102 yards, two interceptions, and a QB rating of 37.0.  Those are Jay Cutler-esque numbers.

No doubt much of the Packers' success on defense so far this season stems from Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers' creative schemes.  He has been able to move Matthews around, confusing quarterbacks with a variety of looks and blitzes.  My favorite is the "Psycho Package," which features only one defensive lineman, five linebackers and five defensive backs.  It's incredibly difficult for opposing offenses to handle because they aren't sure who is rushing and who is dropping back into coverage -- that, and it typically culminates in Clay Matthews bursting towards the quarterback with a hacking motion worthy of Norman Bates.  I love the Psycho Package.

On the offensive side of the ball, everyone was watching to see how Brandon Jackson would do in place of Ryan Grant.  The initial verdict is... "meh."  Jackson only rushed for 29 yards on 11 attempts, or 2.6 yards per carry, although he did have a touchdown.  But when your QB has almost as many rushing yards (20) as your starting RB, that's not a good sign.  More important than his stats, he doesn't look confident.  He frequently paused at the point of attack.  And his body language in the post-game interview looked dejected.  The Bills could do nothing to exploit it, but we will need more out of our running game.  Of note, Chad Clifton left the game with about six minutes left in the first half.  Not clear if it was due to injury (as asserted) or just mediocre play, but rookie Bryan Bulaga held his own as a replacement, except for one false start penalty.  The offensive line didn't give up a single sack on the day.

Other positives from the day:
  • No turn-overs, although Kuhn put it on the ground once.
  • Morgan Burnett got his first NFL INT with a big-time hit and pick-pocket on Roscoe Parrish.
  • Sam Shields continues to quietly hold his own and had a great stop on third down just before the half.
  • Special teams also played well in all aspects, with some nice returns by Jordy Nelson and no mistakes covering C.J. Spiller on kick/punt coverage.
  • Buffalo made the unusual decision to feature Marshawn Lynch, despite his official status as their #3 back -- giving him 17 carries for 64 yards.  Whether they were riding the hot hand or trying to bid up his trade value remains to be seen.

Really, the only blemish on the day was Aaron Rodgers' Lambeau Leap.  Of the half-hearted attempt, Rodgers commented, “The guys were giving me a hard time on the sidelines, but I told them, ‘Look, I saw this asshole holding a beer in the front row and knew I was going to get doused.'"  Rodgers has to recognize, that's part of playing in Lambeau.


  1. Love the blog, Mike.... it's a pleasure to read your analysis and goofy humor every week. By the way, you think Buffalo might have had Lynch in as a "showcase" of sorts due to the fact that there might be a Lynch - Hawk type trade? Just wondering.

  2. I definitely think that's why the Bills featured Lynch. This Buffalo News article speculates that as well